Learner Spotlight: David Rushton
Meet David Rushton, a former Physical Education teacher who transitioned his career into data. After doing some research he found coding and decided to learn his new skills with Dataquest.
Here’s his story…
Q: First, what are your preferred pronouns?
Q: All right, David! What’s your current job title? At which company?
A: I am a Solutions Engineer at a startup.
Q: Can you tell us a little about the work you do at your current job?
A: I complete technical demos of our capabilities to prospective clients, develop Python scripts for internal and client use, and help with the integration of our product for OEMs and enterprise clients.
Q: Now can you tell us a little about your background?
A: I grew up in North Wales, UK. I completed a bachelor’s degree in Sports Development, then I studied as a PE Teacher. I lived and taught in five countries over five years. I had been in leadership in education, but I felt that I wanted a new challenge. This is where I decided to learn to code!
Q: What made you get into the data industry?
A: Research! I looked at all the options from front-end, back-end, UX — you name it. I found that data skills were showing demand, and I completed Performance Analysis courses at College. This made me feel comfortable with picking Data. I just felt that data was used in everything.
Q: How did Dataquest’s teaching methodology (no-video, in-browser coding) work for you?
A: The methodology worked well. However, it is more suited to my lifestyle. I get distracted easily and will start another task, mid-task. So, when I tried videos, I found myself not listening and having to re-watch the video, whereas reading and coding worked because I had to concentrate.
Q: Which paths did you do at Dataquest and why?
A: This is a hard one! I started with the Data Analyst path, with the intent of then doing the Data Science path. However, I decided to switch to Data Engineering, and I liked it! Now working with Python code professionally, I optimize my code better thanks to this course.
Q: What’s your favorite thing about Dataquest and why?
A: I like the summary PDFs you provide at the end — they have been so helpful when I try to do a task. Instead of going through Stack Overflow, I just look at them, as they normally answer my question.
Q: How did you go about the job search process?
A: I did research first into what jobs existed and what I would qualify for. I looked at multiple Reddit forums offering advice, etc. I noted the trending advice and followed that. I basically applied for jobs I wanted, even if I was slightly under-qualified. Ask for feedback!
Q: What are some of the skills you learned at Dataquest that help you at your job?
A: Python scripting, Git, GitHub, Pandas, APIs, data types, optimizing data pipelines, NumPy (kind of), machine learning courses, Postgres (use MongoDB), Jupyter notebook!!! (big one), visualization, cleaning (kind of), command-Line.
Q: What advice would you give to Dataquest learners who are just starting out?
A: Have patience — also, you do not need to know it all. I have a friend who is an engineer, and he doesn’t know any of the skills I learned at Dataquest, but I know nothing of what he does. Do not overburden yourself at the start by trying to learn everything
Q: Finally, where can people find you on the Internet?
David also posted a little more about his transition from PE teacher to sales engineer at a startup in the Dataquest community.
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