It was near the end of her undergraduate studies that Victoria Guzik learned she had a problem.
“My undergraduate education is actually in neuroscience,” she says, “but I realized that they don't really let you do neuroscience with an undergraduate degree. That's the sort of thing that requires going up into the PhD level.”
Did she really want to spend the next five years chasing a dissertation? She wasn’t sure. But as she reflected on her studies, she realized there was something she was sure about. “One of the things that I really loved about my undergraduate education was the grounding in statistical methods and the use of data analysis,” she says.
She decided to pursue that further. “I took the first couple of jobs that I could,” she says. “I worked as a research assistant in a lab. I did some clerical work for a nonprofit for a couple of years.” But she realized she needed to upgrade her data skills. That’s how she found Dataquest.
“There was that whole movement, back around when Nate Silver had his 15 minutes of fame, where suddenly we weren't statisticians anymore, we were all data scientists,” she says. “So I did some research into this fancy new term for what I was already doing, and Dataquest came out as the recommendation for where to go to get that much needed grounding in Python and R, and the more in-depth programming knowledge that you may not get in an undergraduate curriculum.”
“That is the power of a Dataquest education. This job found me.”
So Victoria started working through Dataquest’s data science courses. “I really loved your platform,” she says. “I had looked into a couple of the others and I found that they were much too handhold-y and fill in the blank relative to Dataquest's method.”
How to Double Your Salary Overnight
Dataquest first heard from Victoria because she wanted to cancel her subscription. The reason? She’d gotten a job as a data analyst. In fact, she’d gotten a job as a data analyst without ever even applying for one!
“I worked through the projects on Dataquest, I worked through the lesson paths, and I kept up with the new content as you updated the platform over the year or so that I was a subscriber,” she says. “Eventually I put that I was open to recruiters on LinkedIn.”
That’s all it took.
“That is the power of a data science education and that is the power of a Dataquest education,” she says. “This job found me.”
A recruiter messaged her, she followed up. She was quickly scheduled for a Skype interview, and then an in-person interview. “They ran me through some programming questions, which I was able to answer to their satisfaction. And then they asked for some examples of my prior programming work and I gave them my GitHub. I pointed out a couple of projects that were specifically focused on what they seem to prioritize in a data analyst,” she says.
She says they particularly liked a Dataquest guided project that she had completed breaking down a potential target market for an e-service product. “They were very enthusiastic about that,” she says. “I could absolutely highlight that project as being particularly applicable to real world applications of data analytics and data science out in the wild.”
In fact, the company was so enthusiastic about Victoria that less than a week after they first contacted her about the position, they made her an offer. And it was a good one.
“I doubled my income overnight,” she says. “That job offer doubled my income overnight.”
Needless to say, she accepted. She’s now a data analyst at Callisto Media.
“I code every day at work,” she says. “I am actively involved in both our research and actively developing on our products.” On a typical day, she says, she’s writing Python code to do things like analyze markets for the company’s products.
“I could not be happier with where I am, and the skills that Dataquest allowed me to develop," she says.
Practical Advice for Your Data Science Studies
“Data science is a fantastic field, and above and beyond any sort of programming discipline,” Victoria says. “I find that it is one of the best opportunities out there to not only do engaging technical work, but also do work that has positive impact in the world.”
If you want to follow in Victoria’s footsteps, she has three pieces of advice.
First: “Absolutely look to Dataquest first before [you] look to any other source,” she says. “I think it's the best value for your time and your money in terms of the skills that you develop and the timeline you develop them on.”
“I doubled my income overnight.”
Second: “Always make sure to not just do the projects just to do them, but to make sure to really understand them and incorporate them back into a business context,” she says. “Go back and explain your code in your notebooks. Don't just treat [the guided projects] as homework. You want to put as much care and as much effort into those projects as you would into a project that you'd be presenting for work. Companies really respond to that.”
Third: “As important as it is to have those technical skills,” she says, “you really need that deep understanding of how to take data and analysis and turn them into actionable insights for a business.”
That’s a big part of why she recommends Dataquest, she says. “I really think that Dataquest and their project model not only provides those hard programming skills, but also teaches you how to apply them in meaningful ways.”
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