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From Project Manager to Data Analyst (and Teacher at Le Wagon!)

Phillip was working as a Project Manager for a wind energy company, feeling stuck and unmotivated. Find out how the bootcamp helped him kickstart his journey into Data Science and gave him a new opportunity in the Le Wagon community.

Hello Phillip! Can you introduce yourself?

Sure. I'm Phillip, 33 years old and I come from Germany. In the past I have lived in Valencia, Aarhus, but mostly in Berlin. Last year I decided to join Le Wagon's Data Science bootcamp in batch #469.

What did you do before joining Le Wagon in Lisbon?

Before Le Wagon, I studied Mechanical Engineering at Berlin Technical University with a focus on Entrepreneurship and Climate Change. Afterwards, I worked as Project Manager/Structural Engineer for four years at WINDnovation, a wind energy company.

During this time, I became more and more unhappy with my scope of work and felt a bit stuck. My work got rather repetitive and if it wasn't for my great colleagues, I would have probably left earlier.

How did you come up with the idea of a Data Science bootcamp?

I often had the idea of getting into coding, but it always felt like a big obstacle. Anyway, I talked to some friends who had a major career change after attending a bootcamp and then did some research myself.

I found out that there are three major paths: Web Dev, Data Science and Data Analytics. Web Development seemed a little too far away from my engineering background, and when I heard that Data Science still covers Analytics to some extent, my decision was made. Back then I did not really know what to expect from Data Science, but I was willing to find out!

First, I was looking for a bootcamp that could fit my schedule, then I read several online reviews and decided to go for Le Wagon in Lisbon. Not the most romantic story of how I got here, but I am absolutely happy with the choice I made!

Cool! And how was your bootcamp experience?

Intense but so rewarding. I liked the combination of fast-paced learning and community feeling. People have been supportive throughout the bootcamp and this keeps you motivated, even through more complicated lectures!

Also, I enjoyed having a fresh topic every day, I liked that you always had something new to work on.

What did you learn from your experience at Le Wagon?

The first of two most important things I learnt is to understand how to fix/debug/solve issues along the route. It is incredibly important to be able to get yourself out of a hole and I believe this was taught us really well. The second thing is… Pandas. It is an amazing library and completely changed my opinion on Excel!

And what was your biggest challenge during the bootcamp?

Definitely the Data Engineering part. Coding is one thing, but these infrastructure topics are an entirely new field where you really have to work yourself into. Honestly, this is where I struggled the most and it took me a while to understand.

Your best moment at Le Wagon?

Definitely Demo Day. Everything you have done, and especially the two project weeks, build up to this moment where you finally present your own first working code product! It's so great to see the final result of your efforts.
Phillip presenting 'Fed up!', his team's final project

As you said, Le Wagon is all about community. How do you relate to this network?

I try to help people as much as I can. I participated in alumni panels to share my experience with new potential students and I am always happy to help. I also try to stay in touch with my fellow bootcampers!

Great. And now you found a job as a Data Analyst and became TA at Le Wagon, congratulations! Can you tell us more about it?

Yeah, that's true. I am now working at Smart Pricer as Data Analyst/IT Project Manager. Many things I learnt during the bootcamp actually helped me get this job and gave me the ability to start performing early on. In particular, knowing how to clean, manipulate, complete and ultimately visualize and interpret big data sets gave me a real advantage. On top of that, I am slowly getting into the Data Science topics at work, where my brief xgboost and fbprophet will likely come in hand. I am still in the onboarding phase but I love that there is so much more to learn!

Apart from that, I am very happy to get the chance to come back to Le Wagon, now as a Teaching Assistant. I am really excited to strengthen my competences in the field and learn how to best explain concepts. I'd say it is a real win-win situation where I get to help enthusiastic students while improving new skills!

Thank you for sharing your story, Phillip! Any tips for those thinking about a Data Science bootcamp?

A bootcamp at Le Wagon is definitely worth it. It is 9 weeks of hard work and dedication and you will see what incredible things can be accomplished in such a short amount of time! Coding seemed complicated to me and I was always hesitant to get into it, but it's not! Just go for it.

One more important thing: do not give up in the process. There will definitely be situations where you think you will not get there...Stick with it and trust the moment. If the motivation is there, you will get through it!

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