Pursuing Data Science Part III: My Galvanize Experience & Life After School

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If you’re torn between different program options and looking for some insight on my experience at Galvanize or simply curious how I faired post-bootcamp, you’re in the right place! In the post, I’ll share what an average day at school looks like, the projects we worked on, and resources we had access to! I also let you know about my job hunt after and share some helpful tools that might help keep you organized, too!

My Experience at Galvanize

Between in-person classes and online option I knew in-person was going to be right for me. It also helped that the campus was less than 5 miles from my house. A normal day would looking something like:

  • 9am – 11a
  • 11a – 1p
  • 1p – 3p
  • 3p – 6p

Morning lecture
Solo assignment on what you just learned (and lunch)
Afternoon lecture
Pair programming on what you just learned.

We had two really great instructors plus a “Resident Data Scientist” who supported the two lead instructors either through doing lectures, being available for questions when we were working on the assignments, or day-to-day housekeeping items like grading. This person is usually picked from the previous cohort which is nice because they have a fresh sense of what you’re going through.

I appreciated how the course was structured and outlined. When you start, you can see what you’re going to be working on each week, as well as, a daily outline.

There are recommended daily readings which I ALSO recommend that you do. They say to save 2 hrs for these and it’s pretty accurate. The readings are super helpful with providing a basic understanding for the next day’s lecture. 

There are 3 capstone projects. These are where you put what you just learned to practice. The first is cleaning up the data, doing your exploratory data analysis, and feature engineering. The second builds on the first but adds in supervised and/or unsupervised learning models. The third and final builds upon the second plus producing a live web app where your model can be tested. This final capstone is what you end up presenting at the final showcase. Alumni, businesses, family and friends, and people with varying degrees of data science knowledge will be in attendance and it’s a great way to celebrate everything you and your classmates have accomplished!

You also get a career services lead. Ours was a god send. Her passion for guiding us through our resumes, cover letters, LinkedIn profiles, elevator pitch, mock interviews, you name it was unlike anything I’ve ever seen. She had an outline of projected due dates for the items I just mentioned. It helped break down the job hunting process and made it seem a little less daunting. We were able to get career support from her up to 6 month after graduation. Sure, I had some friends who could proofread my resume and cover letters, but it was so valuable having someone who is so dialed into the industry and really knows what to look out for.

School/life balance didn’t really exist for me. There were definitely late nights – especially during Capstone weeks. I often experienced those moments where you step away from whatever you’ve been working on for hours, go to bed, lay your head down for two seconds, and then – BOOM – a different way to solve the problem would immediately come to mind. When it came to being social, I was honestly too drained from processing that week’s work to be around anyone who wasn’t my husband or the dogs. Any down time I had was mostly spent solo. There was also the occasional happy hours with everyone from our cohort – one of the perks of having Denver Beer Company right across the street from campus!

Life After DSI

This looks different for everyone. Remember when I reached out to people on LinkedIn? A few that had graduated around the same November-time frame told me how hiring seemed a little slower around the holidays. I’d gotten married two months prior to starting Galvanize so we decided to plan our honeymoon through the holiday with this in mind!

I gave myself a week or so to get adjusted post-honeymoon and before hitting the job hunt. Using a job application tracker tool called huntr really helped keep me organized on where I applied, where I heard back from, and companies I interviewed with. Something I wish I did better at during my job hunt was finding people who work there on LinkedIn, both in HR or on the data team, and making an introduction as soon as I applied for the position.

If you’re looking at job descriptions feeling like you’re not 100% qualified — embrace your inner Kanye and apply anyway! I realized job descriptions are a company’s wish list. While some skill sets might be more important to have than others, most business don’t expect to hire someone who fits the job description perfectly. If you make it to the initial interview, focus more on the elements where you shine, but be honest about where you can improve on too. If you’re really excited about the opportunity and dedicated to learning the skills they need that you may not have – let them know!

Ultimately, I found my job through the Galvanize Alumni network. The job description was shared with our career services contact by a Galvanize Alumni. Looking back, all my jobs have been through my personal network and while I didn’t have a strong network in the field, getting to lean on the Galvanize name definitely carried me through the interviews I had been on.

Aside from the job hunt, I’d practice Python on codewars and took a Udemy course to get a better handle on relational database system, SQL. You touch upon it during the DSI, but as someone who hadn’t used it prior — I’m glad I got more practice with it.

Once you complete that, there’s a site called SQL Zoo, that is a great place to practice your new querying skills.

Best of luck!

I hope these posts have been helpful in deciding if data science bootcamps are for you and how to proceed if they are! If you’ve got questions that I didn’t cover, leave me a note and I’ll get back to you!

If you missed the other posts, you can find them at:

  1. Part I: How to Pick a Bootcamp
  2. Part II: Helpful Articles & Online Prep Courses

meet sarah

Welcome! I’m Sarah. I started this blog to be a resource for others around a few of my favorite things: living in Colombia, DIY projects, places traveled, and day-to-day life. My hope is that it can a place of inspiration and encouragement to help you plan the next project or adventure of your own!

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