Javier: Learning Programming Online at Dataquest Was Better Than University

Javier Fernández Suárez had the same problem lots of graduates have when he reached the end of his time at university: he didn’t really know what he wanted to do.

As a student, Javier had fallen in love with physics, and that’s what he’d pursued in school. Along the way, he’d learned some programming in Matlab, C++, and then sought out courses in Python because he was enjoying the coding work.

“I was really keen on this part of the degree,” he said. “But then after the degree, to be honest, I was not clear about what to do.”

Javier knew data science was an option, but it wasn’t something he’d looked into carefully until a friend who was studying it visited him in London and showed him how he was learning programming online with Dataquest. “I saw that it was exactly what I was looking for,” said Javier.

“The chance of mixing mathematics, programming, statistics and at the same time, like a logic or a little bit of business and to being able to give insights — that really appealed to me,” he said.

Javier ultimately enrolled at Belgrave Valley, a London-based bootcamp that pairs Dataquest’s online programming and statistics courses with career support and mentorship. And as he dug into Dataquest, he quickly found it was different from the programming training he’d gotten in school.

Learning Programming Online vs. In School

“I have to say that my teacher at the University was incredible,” Javier said, “but even thinking in terms of this, I believe that Dataquest is a much better way of learning programming.”

Even a great teacher, after all, has to contend with large university class sizes — Javier said his class was 50-80 people. And it’s difficult to teach hands-on programming in a lecture hall, whereas at Dataquest Javier could learn about a new concept and then practice applying it instantly, from right in the same browser window.

learn-programming-online-dataquest

He also found that Dataquest was teaching important professional skills that hadn’t been covered in his university programming courses. His university Python training, for example, hadn’t included any pandas, although that package is crucial for day-to-day data science work in Python. And he’d had no exposure to SQL, another critical language for data scientists.

Dataquest offers full training in both of these skills, and plenty more.

All of this came as a bit of a surprise to Javier. “In my country of Spain, we have a really bad idea about the reputation of the online courses. We tend to think they are not really good. But for me, Dataquest was a much better way of learning than school.”

Learning and Landing a Job

Working on Dataquest nearly full-time at Belgrave, Javier was able to acquire all the skills he needed for employment in just two months. “I was with Dataquest from 9 to 5, with one hour for lunch,” he said. And a few months after that — his job search did get somewhat delayed by the winter holiday season — he found himself in the enviable position of having two competing job offers to choose from.

“I chose a website called SportPursuit that is headquartered in the United Kingdom and sells sports equipment,” he said. In his role as a Junior Data Insight Analyst, he’s charged with analyzing customer and sales data to help the company more effectively target customers. He also helps provide other teams at the company with the data they need.

“My role now is perfect,” he said. “I am learning programming and statistics and business at the same time.”

If you hope to find yourself in Javier’s shoes one day, he did have some advice to impart, at least for those students who've decided to learn programming online with Dataquest as he did. First, he suggests dedicating as much time as you can to Dataquest. “If you have the chance to just focus on doing Dataquest, I recommend it,” he said. “Maybe take a break for one month and just do Dataquest every day.”

He also suggested that Dataquest students try to avoid looking at the answers, even when it’s painful. “You may spend four hours looking for a stupid mistake which maybe was just deleting a comma,” he said, “but you will never commit the same mistake again.” 

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