Data Science Bootcamp Review – Data Science Europe

Thank you  Niklas Berliner  for taking the time to do this review. He attended  Data Science Europe in late 2015.

Q : Can you tell us a bit about your background before the bootcamp?
A : I have a master in physics and was pursuing a PhD in Biophysics. My PhD included conducting experiments as well as analysing the results. After realising that the PhD was not for me I decided to quit, knowing that data analysis is something I really enjoy doing.

Q : How did you find out about the bootcamp?
A : Working with data was something I knew I wanted to be doing and I quickly found the bootcamps in the US. Since I am in Europe, I searched to see if something similar existed here, which is how I found out about Data Science Europe.

Q : What was the application process like?
A : The application process was straightforward. In a first step I had to fill a form on the website indicating why I was interested in Data Science etc. and upload a CV. After I passed the initial screening step, I had an interview in which I could briefly talk about the work I had been doing, about why I wanted to become a Data Scientist, and ask all questions I had.

Q : Was there any pre-course work you had to complete before the bootcamp?
A : Not in the traditional sense. The bootcamp was there to learn the hard-skills. I was asked to think about which companies I would like to work for and to think about my vision for the future.

Q : Why did you choose to attend a bootcamp ?
A : Attending the bootcamp was a perfect transition after quitting the PhD. I already knew which area interested me but I didn’t know much about it. I was hoping to gain a clear picture of what I could do and to be in a good position to apply for jobs afterwards.

Q : Did you get admitted into other bootcamps? (if applicable, elaborate)
A : No, I only applied at Data Science Europe.

Q : Why did you chose to attend this bootcamp (over others, if applicable) ?
A : Mainly because it was based in Europe and because it was offering a money-back-guarantee. I contacted some alumni before my applications and their positive feedback further encouraged me to apply.

Q : Did the whole setup feel organized ?
A : Overall yes. I was attending the second cohort of the bootcamp which meant that the program was still relatively new. I appreciated that this was openly communicated and that we were encouraged to ask for changes in the program if we needed them.

Q : In your opinion what were the most interesting part of the curriculum?
A : Looking back, I cannot single out one part. There surely were parts I enjoyed doing more than others but this is simply a matter of subjective taste. What I am mainly building on now, and what is thus the most present for me, are two aspects; first the actual hard-skills and second the understanding of what Data Science in industry implies.

Q : Do you feel you were able to learn things you couldn’t have learnt on your own ?
A : Absolutely. It was a tremendous help to have a guided start into the topic. It is such a big field and it is easy to get lost on one detail and miss relevant aspects. But it is not only the factual knowledge I accumulated during the course that was very valuable – my idea about the work I am interested in sharpened as well. I believe that this was as much of a help as the hard-skills gained.

Q : Are there any changes you’d like to see made to the curriculum?
A : I have no general recommendation but can only speak about my needs. I was very motivated to pursue my personal project during the course but lacked the vision of what it all entails. I think that more guidance could have helped me to better estimate the work involved and to have a better understanding of the necessary steps.

Q : Did the program have a capstone project ?
A : Yes. Although it was not so much of a capstone project since we worked on our projects early on during the course which was an excellent way of keeping the work interesting and us engaged.

Q : Are you currently employed as a Data Scientist ?
A : Yes.

Q : Did you find employment within three months of finishing the bootcamp program ?
A : Yes.

Q : Do you feel the bootcamp hiring day was helpful ?
A : We did not have a specific hiring day. It was more about finding companies we liked and then getting in touch with them. We had contact with people working as Data Scientist continuously during the course. These contacts were not specifically targeted to place us in the respective company and I think that it was thus easier to get some honest and open insight into what being a Data Scientist entails and into what might be important to ask.

Q : Did the bootcamp assist in setting up interviews or making introductions to companies after the program?
A : Yes. It is an important part of the course that it does not end after the on-site course. We were supported after the program ended.

Q : Did you feel the bootcamp helped you prepare for the interview process?
A : Yes. We practised interview situations which always helps.

Q : Does the bootcamp have an active alum network ? (please elaborate)
A : Not so much. It is considered an important aspect and is encouraged but it did not turn out to be the case with my cohort. The contact with the organiser however is still ongoing and very supportive.

Q : Do you feel alums are actively involved in the program through mentoring, giving presentations or in other capacities?
A : Yes, during the course several alumni were invited on-site.

Q : What do you think was unique about the program ?
A : This was my first bootcamp.

Q : What are the weakest aspects of the program ?
A : The organisation of non-course related aspects could be improved.

 

Q : Were you satisfied by the overall quality of the instructors ?
A : Yes.

Q : Any regrets ?
A : Not a regret but I would approach my personal project differently now.

Q : On a scale of 0 -10, would you recommend this bootcamp program ?
A : If you are in a similar situation I was in, then I can highly recommend the course!

Q : Why or Why not ?
A : I believe that the course was exactly the boost I needed. It increased my technical skills, it gave me insight into the job market and it put me in a good mindset for my applications.

If you have attended and graduated from a Data Science Bootcamp and you’d like to do a review of your experience, we’d love to hear from you. Please fill this form and we’ll reach out to you to conduct the interview.

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