To highlight how Dataquest has changed people's lives, we've started a new blog series called User Stories where we interview our users to learn more about their personal journey and how we've helped them get where they needed to.
In this post, we interview Rob Hipps, Data Analyst at 3M. Rob went through a Master's program in Data Science, and has an interesting take on how in-person and online learning intersect. He later went through a data science internship at Verisk before landing his first fulltime data science role at 3M.
You got your bachelors degree in Business Administration, and worked in business strategy. Why did you want to get into data science?
It happened almost organically. I would see a data set and provide answers to the questions that were being posed. I found myself wanting to dive a bit deeper into the data, and I wanted to learn skills that would allow me to do that.
What made you decide to start using Dataquest?
In my efforts to gain more knowledge about data science, I found that there were some clear holes in what I was learning. I looked for resources to help me. and I found Dataquest. For me, I need to be able to be interact with the data in a hands-on way, and Dataquest offers this style of learning. After about an hour or two I signed up for a premium membership.
How has Dataquest helped with your learning process?
Dataquest has helped me become a more complete data analyst and helped me with understanding how to take a project from start to finish. The way the missions are set up makes it easy to see how real data problems should be solved. Further, if I run into problems with a project, I can almost always find a quick module that helps tackle the issue.
How did you land your first data science internship at Verisk Analytics?
I applied to the internship and was invited to an on-site interview. We discussed a number of analytical areas and how I would fit with their team.
Congratulations on the full-time data science role at 3M Health Information Systems! What skills were most important for the interview?
Thanks! It was a pretty long interview process that covered a number of skills. Most important to them was SQL and an ability to work with data analysis tools such as R and Python. They have some interesting ideas about how to leverage these skills, and I am excited to bring what I have learned to the team.
Did doing an internship help you land a full-time job?
The internship was paramount in landing the job. What I will be doing for 3M draws many parallels to my role at Verisk as an intern.
You're working on your masters in Data Science alongside online learning. How would you contrast the two experiences?
I found that both experiences complimented each other, and I relied on both to gain the skills I was looking for to further my understanding of data science. For example, in my Master's program R is being taught more heavily than Python. I wanted to become more balanced, so I sought out a way to strengthen my skills with Python. Dataquest helped me learn Python and even strengthened my skills with R. What makes Dataquest unique is the ability to choose what you want to learn and when, opposed to having hard deadlines on material that is catered to a larger audience.
What are the biggest misconceptions that you see out there about learning data science and getting a job?
I think people make the assumption that programming is too difficult for them to learn. Programming is like anything else, if you put in the time you will see results. I would challenge anyone who thinks programming is beyond them to try Dataquest.
What are you most excited about learning in 2016?
I am most excited for the new content you guys are continuing to roll out!