How the Importance of Data in Volunteering Brought This Zoologist to Dataquest
Rahila Hashim, Data Scientist
While working as a volunteer, zoologist Rahila Hashim saw the importance of using data to make strategic decisions, so she immediately started learning important skills like Excel, SQL, and Python.
When she started her data science learning journey, Hashim had zero experience programming. She had seen the value of data skills before, but the importance hadn’t been acute until November 2020, when she started her journey to transition into tech by learning Excel, SQL, and Python.
After Hashim applied for and won a Dataquest scholarship, she enrolled in Dataquest’s SQL path and began her journey to employment as a technical data scientist.
Learning with Dataquest
Prior to applying for a scholarship, Hashim did her research to learn the best ways to sharpen her tech skills and knowledge — for her the answer was Dataquest. The in-browser coding experience offering a learning approach she hadn’t seen before. She’d explored many platforms and tried a few free coding exercises, but nothing was as easy to understand as Dataquest.
After she won a scholarship with Dataquest, she enrolled in the SQL path to finish something she had already started, “I enrolled for the SQL path because I had only concluded my SQL learning with a different organization, which used video-based lessons, but I needed a more practical approach to sharpen my skills.”
To finish her SQL education, Hashim felt she needed practical applications of what she’d learned, not more videos. She appreciated that, at Dataquest, “You are not just given answers immediately when you’re working on the code — instead, you’re cracking the brain to understand the code. The reading notes and in-browser coding made it super practical and easy to understand.”
Starting a New Career
Hashim made the transition into data science by following up on a job ad for an entry-level data scientist with little to no experience — instead, this organization was looking for someone with a passion for lifelong learning. They wanted someone who could learn on the job and mold to their values, and there was an emphasis on the importance of soft skills.
Hashim credits her time at Dataquest with helping her land the job: “Learning SQL at Dataquest helped a lot. At my current job, we use SAS, but SAS has SQL language embedded in it as well, and this made it easier to understand and work with.”
Advice for Data Science Learners
Asked what advice she might share with other learner, Hashim had this to share:
My advice is that taking a few minutes to an hour out of the day makes it easier to learn — and not overwhelming. Sometimes when I get hooked on a code then take a rest and get back, I find the errors easier and get on with the work.