Learner Spotlight – Otavio Silveira
Meet Otavio Silveira, an economics graduate who discovered Python and data science when trying to learn Python and SQL on YouTube to improve his chances of landing his first job in data.
He joined Dataquest and later won a scholarship which he used to complete his learning path. Here’s his story…
1. First, what are your preferred pronouns?
2. Alright Otavio! What’s your current job title? At which company?
Jr. Data Science Analyst – Hortifruti Natural da Terra (Brazil)
3. Can you also tell us a little about the work you do at your current job?
Currently, I use python and SQL: Automate tasks and processes, perform exploratory data analysis, web crawling, and create algorithms for clusterization, regression, and classification.
4. Now can you tell us a little about your background?
I went to college to study economics, but when I finally got my degree, in 2018, I had a hard time finding a job and wasn’t sure about applying for a master’s degree. I did not feel like I had enough tools to find a good job even though I had gone to a good university.
Luckily, I was able to get a temporary exchange job in the US to work as a soccer coach. This 4-month period was important to add international experience to my resume. Also, it was during this period that my interest in data and programming started. I was already studying to apply for a job in the stock market (even though I was not sure that’s what I really wanted) when I started reading the book Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game by Michael Lewis. It’s a real-life story of an economist from Yale that helped change the world of baseball with data science (it didn’t have this name when it all happened).
5. What made you get into the data industry?
I did lots of research that helped me understand how this is a growing and promising field with still a lot of space for me to develop myself and build a career.
6. How did Dataquest’s teaching methodology (no-video, in-browser coding) work for you?
It worked great. I never had a problem studying with videos, so I won’t say I prefer the text lessons, but it worked just fine for me as well. The in-browser coding, however, is a game-changer. Being able to write code right after reading the text without having to set up anything is very helpful. It makes you focus only on the code.
Also, Dataquest makes you write the entire code and not only fill blanks. This can make it seem a little hard at some moments, but these are the moments where you actually develop yourself, I believe.
7. Which path(/s) did you do at Dataquest and why?
The data science with Python path. It was just the field of study and language that I was interested in learning.
8. What were your favorite Guided Projects and how did they help you in your job search?
I’m really not sure I have a favorite guided project, but I think they are a great part of Dataquest. It’s where you do more real-life work. You don’t only write code snippets, but you have to code everything from the start. That’s very helpful to give the student a full idea of what a data science project really is.
I’d also like to talk about unguided projects. Being interested in developing my own stuff was very important for my learning. Although I like the Dataquest methodology and it helped a lot, when you’re doing something for yourself, when you’re working with a subject that you believe and you’re passionate about, the motivation to go after answers and learn new things is much bigger. I do believe that’s something to be more stimulated in students.
9. Now can you tell us the story of how you went about the job search process?
I’m an economist, I love sports and I realized that I had studied a bit of data science in college, only that they called it econometrics. I’m not sure being in a different country had any impact on this or if it’d be the same if I had never traveled, but when I got back to Brazil I decided to give up the stock market and dedicated myself to learn programming and data science. Python, SQL, and data science were the most important tools that I added to my resume and that made me confident that I was more prepared to find a job than I was when I graduated from the university.
After I got the job, I was pretty sure that’s not exactly what I was looking for but it was not an opportunity to miss. I had to move to a big city and was not completely happy about it, but knew it had to be done. Although I was not a data scientist, the job did give me some real-world experience working with Python and SQL and put me in touch with a much bigger job market in a metropolis.
After about 6 months there, I finally got the data science job I was looking for. I now work for the biggest retail company specialized in fresh products like fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, etc in Brazil. We’re a fast-growing chain of almost 100 stores in the southeast region of the country and the best part is I work from home in a small city in my home state close to my family and friends with no need to be far from home in a big city.
10. What are some of the skills you learnt at Dataquest that help you at your job?
Python, SQL, statistics, and machine learning concepts from the path. Writing and communication skills from the community.
11. What’s your favourite thing about Dataquest and why?
The learning paths. Because they give you a direction to go during the entire learning process and you don’t have to be always looking around to find what you’ll learn next.
12. What advice would you give to Dataquest learners who are just starting out?
Follow the paths correctly. Type every single line of code, never copy and paste. Put some time and effort into guided and unguided projects. Join and be active in the community. Be patient and persevere. It’s not usually easy and you’re not learning something simple. It takes time. Make sure to be doing it the right way and keep doing it.
13. Finally, where can people find you on the Internet?
Read about Otavio’s journey from start to finish here.