Data Science Bootcamp Review – Galvanize Data Science

The individual who wrote this review choose to remain anonymous and they attended Galvanize Data Science (San Francisco) in 2015

Q : Can you tell us a bit about your background before the bootcamp?
A : I have Bachelors’ degrees in quantitative fields.  Data Science was a very natural choice for me to combine my quantitative background and business domain knowledge.  

Q : How did you find out about the bootcamp?
A : I was very interested in data science and was looking to get my foot in the door of this emerging field. I went to many tech meetups in SF and Galvanize hosted many such events. That’s how I first heard about the bootcamp. I also got connected with a couple of alumni and learned more about the program from them.

Q : What was the application process like?
A : Their application process is fairly standard. They have a general online application, one take home and two rounds of technical phone interviews. The first one focuses on coding in python and the second one is about statistics.

Q : Was there any pre-course work you had to complete before the bootcamp?
A : There is some pre-course work, but they are not mandatory. In order to get most out of the program, a solid foundation in coding and math/statistics are necessary though. The pre-course materials they provided were quite helpful.

Q : Why did you choose to attend a bootcamp?
A : I wanted to make a career transition into data science. A bootcamp is more industry focused, and the skills they teach is more updated and relevant than traditional graduate school education. Also, it’s shorter and the application process is faster.

Q : Did you get admitted into other bootcamps? (if applicable, elaborate)
A : No, I didn’t apply for any other bootcamp.

Q : Why did you cho0se to attend this bootcamp (over others, if applicable) ?
A : It had a prestigious reputation and provides career assistance. I checked their alumni profiles and looked like many of them got placed into high profile companies such as airbnb, google etc.

Q : Did the whole setup feel organized ?
A : Yes, it’s pretty quick and flexible. The staff was responsive.

Q : In your opinion what were the most interesting part of the curriculum?
A : We have daily practices to work on real world data sets – usually an individual sprint in the morning and a paired one in the afternoon. Those sprints are like short projects that we get to directly apply what we learned in the morning lecture. We also got to collaborate with fellow students to learn from each other.

Q : Do you feel you were able to learn things you couldn’t have learnt on your own?
A : Definitely. There’s no way I can learn such a broad spectrum of skills just on my own. The program is really hands-on and I got to learn from doing, unlike some courses that the instructors mainly read slides.

Q : Are there any changes you’d like to see made to the curriculum?
A : The content is solid and it’s amazing to see how they fit so much information into 2 months. All the curriculum are stored in github. My main concern is more on the management of course material. It can be more organized and updated.

Q : Did the program have a capstone project ?
A : Yes. There are two weeks towards the end of the program dedicated for a capstone project and we present it at the hiring day. It’s a great way to apply and showcase skills and also work on something we are passionate about.  

Q : Are you currently employed as a Data Scientist or have you been employed as a Data Scientist since the bootcamp?
A : After the bootcamp, I got hired by a tech company through a Galvanize connection. It’s a more like an analytics role and very business oriented. But I get to apply what I learned from Galvanize. Sometimes I still go over the github repo to get some inspiration.

Q : Did you find employment within three months of finishing the bootcamp program ?
A : Yes, I first got hired as a data scientist in residence for their masters in data science program. After finishing the program, I got an offer less than a month after the program.

Q : Do you feel the bootcamp hiring day was helpful ?
A : Yes, I know quite a few people got hired from hiring day companies. Also, it’s a good way to get started for the job searching process.  

Q : Did you get placed with a company you met during hiring day (if applicable)?
A : No, I didn’t. But several students from the cohort I went to hiring days with got offers from some of those companies.

Q : Did the bootcamp assist in setting up interviews or making introductions to companies after the program?
A : They do assist in terms of resumes and preparing technical interviews. It’s good to have a group of people to talk with during the stressful job searching process.

Q : Did you feel the bootcamp helped you prepare for the interview process?
A : Yes, but only to some extent. Like most port of the job search or study, it really depends on you. They will provide guidance and students usually form their own study group to help each other.

Q : Does the bootcamp offer post bootcamp career transition / change services or help with introductions post bootcamp
A : I think so. They have a weekly career search meetup and every student or alumni is welcome to attend.

Q : Does the bootcamp have an active alumni network ? (please elaborate)
A : My cohort became really good friends during the program and most of us still stay in touch and hang out together now and them. From my experience, most of the alumni are very approachable.

Q : Do you feel alums are actively involved in the program through mentoring, giving presentations or in other capacities?
A : They host an alumni events once in a while. I do think the program can do a much better job on it. There was a mentoring program before I joined but got cancelled for some reason.

Q : What do you think was unique about the program ?
A : The facility also provides office spaces to startups and host relevant tech events. It’s more like a tech hub and you have a more direct access to industry.

Q : What are the weakest aspects of the program ?
A : They expanded the program really fast and the bar for admission has actually became lower, which diminishes its brand name. Also, its job search support is not sufficient for the size of the program.

Q : Were you satisfied with the overall quality of the instructors ?
A : They are all really nice and approachable. But most of them don’t have much data science industry experience, which is kind of expected due to the recent emerging of data science.

Q : Any regrets ?
A : I wish I came in with stronger coding skill. The program is very intensive and has a lot to absorb on a daily basis. In order to get the most out of it, the more you know the better.

Q : On a scale of 0 -10, would you recommend this bootcamp program ?
A : 8. I would definitely recommend it. But the program is constantly changing and I heard it’s quite different from back then.  

Q : Why or Why not ?
A : The only thing I didn’t like is that the program was expanded too fast and just quickly churns out junior data scientists. The data science job market is hyped and there are still students who can’t find a position after a year of their graduation from the program.

Q : Anything we missed / Other comments?
A : Overall, joining this program was a great decision for me. I learned a lot from it and made good friends and connections there. Also, it opened my eyes to certain fields that I didn’t have exposure on.

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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