Meet Meerim 👋 . She was working in Project Management in the European Union before the pandemic hit and she took the opportunity to build up her tech skills with Data Science in Hamburg. We talked to Meerim about her experience with Spiced, and how hopeful she is to land a job with with her newfound skills.
Hey Meerim! Could you tell us a little bit about you, your educational background and your professional life?
Sure, I did my Doctoral degree at Lund University, Sweden in Biochemistry. I worked with viruses, which is very interesting nowadays! As a part of my Doctoral project, I spent time at Carnegie Mellon University in the United States. Later I worked mainly in Project Management in the European Union, working on projects in Denmark, Spain, Romania, Germany etc.
You took the course in Hamburg. What have you found job opportunities to be like there? Especially for Data Scientists?
Demand for specialists with tech skills is high right now. Not only in Hamburg but everywhere else. The pandemic accelerated the existing trends of remote working and opened up new opportunities worldwide. Remote working became a new reality. I found that there are a lot of opportunities for Data Scientists in general.
Absolutely – it’s a great time to be working in tech! When did you decide you wanted to take the leap into Data Science?
I was planning to take a bootcamp before the pandemic, but there were always different reasons not to – family commitments or not finding enough time etc. You always think “oh, is it for me? How can I start?” and for a person without a tech background it’s challenging to find the right information, I got too overwhelmed.
I think learning programming is similar to learning a foreign language – if you have that skill, it’s always an advantage. Data skills are relevant to any field, no matter what industry you’re in. Since I used to generate a lot of data in my previous work (for example, when I ran analysis in the laboratory, I collected data), I realized I need to have data “juggling” skills to interpret and draw meaningful conclusions. In fact, during my doctoral degree, I learned that Data Science offers very important skills if you want to stay competitive in the job market. During the pandemic, I finally made a decision to start a bootcamp and did it while homeschooling my children.
So now you’re graduated – congratulations! What are you planning to do with your new skills?
I have a strong background in Life Science and wanted to have an additional skill as a Data Scientist. I believe this combination makes my profile very strong and attractive to the Pharma and Biotech industries, where I want to use my Data Science skills in the future
Do you know what kind of area you’d like to head into?
As my background is in Life Sciences, I would like to focus on pharma and biotech, as I mentioned earlier. My background gives me the understanding of this industry, and data skills will allow me to indulge in it more.
And why did you choose Spiced?
To be honest, I was talking to different schools – not just Spiced. I liked the individual and flexible approach at Spiced which made it stand out from other bootcamps. I felt that Spiced took care of each student and gave us all tools from start to the end (teaching, HR consultations, networking etc).
In addition, as I mentioned earlier, I had no coding skills and from talking to other schools I had a feeling that it was not possible for me to finish the program. However, Spiced encouraged me and gave me confidence that I can do it without coding skills. Spiced took extra steps and directed me to different online courses where I can prepare myself for the bootcamp.
The team was very friendly and caring – that’s what’s really special about Spiced. An individual approach to each student.
That’s really nice feedback – glad you experienced that! What did you find the most challenging aspect of the course?
Short deadlines to finish the projects. We were doing different projects every week, and we had to produce and present results in a really short time, so that was challenging but also motivating.
And what was your favourite aspect of the course?
The first thing is the opportunity to build your own portfolio from the very beginning of the course. Being involved in various projects really prepares you to work on real assignments in the future. I liked that we can choose the final project we wanted to work on.
In 12 weeks you learn many aspects of data science – for example, machine learning, building pipelines, data engineering etc. Data Science is a huge field, and Spiced helps you to understand which aspects of it speak to you and what you have to know to go further in the area.
I also found the opportunity to network very interesting. You meet people from all over the world with different backgrounds, share ideas, and get inspired. Career sessions are really useful to build your network. Moreover, I met amazing people from my cohort, and I hope to stay in touch with them.
It’s also great that Spiced is so multicultural! I used to have this atmosphere in previous roles. It’s not just students, but the staff is also international and everybody is unique and brought their best to the program. I think that’s why it is so successful!
What about your instructors, how were they?
We had two main instructors: Ugur and Carmine. We were also taught by Paula, Sam, Marija and others. They were all very encouraging and supportive. They created not only a harmonic and friendly atmosphere in the group, but also managed to teach a very diverse group of people with different backgrounds and skill levels. Those who had experience were pushed to do more, and those who were just starting out were helped along and supported.
Ugur managed to explain very complex things in an incredibly simple way so that everybody could understand it. And Carmine, just with a couple of changes in code, could help you grasp each concept!
I was very happy with Spiced’s teachers.
What advice do you have to someone thinking about studying Data Science?
Nowadays, everything is changing so quickly. Change is the only constant. I think in 10 years, coding will be one of the most important skills. It doesn’t matter if you’re in tech or not – it’s like knowing a foreign language.
So, it doesn’t matter how young or old you are, or what field you are in – don’t be afraid of this challenge! It might look difficult but could be easily done with proper direction and teaching.
If you think it’s for you, just do it.
Good advice! Last question: describe Spiced in 3 words?
Spicy, exciting, life-changing!