The NYC Data Science Academy (NYC Data Science Academy) was one of the most intense, career-boosting – and yet enjoyable – educational experiences in my life. This coding bootcamp was a crucial factor in landing me a data scientist role at one of the largest and most respected companies in the U.S.
First, I would like to highlight its usage of real-world data to train students on key steps in the data science lifecycle: defining the problem at hand to be solved, gathering, cleaning, visualizing the data, feature-engineering, training and deploying a variety of machine learning models, and quantifying the business impact. The coursework is taught in Python and R, the two most widely-used languages in the industry, and we worked through many examples (homework + projects) of how to use the famous libraries: pandas, sklearn, seaborn, matplotlib, dplyr, ggplot2, and shiny. By the end, students have a complete portfolio of 4 projects to showcase to employers, complete with github code, business summaries (blog posts), and a Linkedin profile tailored towards the job search.
Additionally, on top of the immersive technical skills preparation, there is also an emphasis on how to launch a successful job search. We benefited from networking events with alumni who are currently employed at prestigious data science companies, and an abundance of interview questions to practice with, ranging from data structure / algorithm questions to how to answer those tricky behavioral questions with no right answer, i.e. – “What is your biggest weakness?”
Finally, everyone is hard-working and smart, but also very nice people as well. The instructors have Ph.D.s and/or industry experience in data science, but they are also down-to-earth, fun, and great to chat with outside of coding advice. All of my classmates were very friendly as well, and the alumni network is strong, i.e. – many graduates from the program are happy to tell you about their experience over the phone and provide advice. As a result, I would like to contribute and give back to the community as well, so I am happy to answer questions from prospective and current students.
Final note: NYC Data Science Academy is well worth the time and money, but you have to work hard for it. You get what you put into it. So, my recommendation is: don’t skip the pre-work, try to do all of the homework assignments, understand the concepts, work hard on the projects, get to know your classmates, do the interview prep exercises (especially SQL), and treat applying for jobs itself as a job.