Meet Sam 👋. He studied Mechanical Engineering and is working as an R&D engineer in the field of radar sensor development. He considered himself an advanced Python user before studying at Spiced – but wanted to bring his programming skills to the next level. Like 900+ Spicedlings, he took the leap and joined our Data Science Bootcamp in Cologne.

We spoke to Sam about his decision to study Data Science, and his experience on the course.


Hi Sam! Thanks for talking to us 🙂 Tell us a little about your educational and professional background?

I have a Master’s degree in mechanical engineering with a specialization in virtual product development and numerical optimization. After graduating, I started as a research associate at the Cologne University of Applied Sciences. I am currently working in Duisburg as a R&D engineer in the field of radar sensor development. My main tasks at work are the development and automation of test rigs, evaluation of new sensor applications, qualification and testing of new sensors, data acquisition and signal processing.


You took the course in Cologne. Tell us a little about the city, and how exciting it is for professionals?

I actually lived in Cologne for many years, so the course was a great opportunity for me to spend some time in my former hometown again.

And even though I have been living in Düsseldorf for about 3 years now, Cologne will always hold a special place in my heart. Cologne is a fantastic city to work and live in. You will find a wide range of cultural activities, great people, many events, a fantastic nightlife and countless options to spend your free time.


Take us back to that day you decided you wanted to study Data Science – what was driving you?

The possibilities of processing large, complex datasets to obtain desired information have fascinated me for a very long time. In my current field work, the development of sensor systems, I am regularly confronted with very large and complicated data sets from different sources that have to be processed, analyzed and interpreted. Especially when designing larger, interconnected sensor systems, I see the great potential for machine learning methods.

Nowadays, almost everything is data-driven and digitalization can be found in just about every industry. Data has become an incredible valuable resource with an ever-increasing importance. The ability to process and interpret data and to extract knowledge about complex correlations is becoming an essential part of every skillset.


Why did you choose to study at Spiced? What made the course stand out?

Since data processing is an important part of my job, I had acquired some basic knowledge through self-study and online courses over the past years and considered myself an advanced Python user with intermediate programming experience before studying at Spiced. But to me it always felt like I was lacking proper programming training, so I was looking for a way to improve my programming skills in a professional environment.

Spiced appealed to me especially because of the curriculum, as the offered Tech Stack and project-based approach exactly matched my expectations. Another important factor was the 12-week full-time on-site course, which I could arrange well with my responsibilities at work and felt like the perfect timeframe to dive deep into Data Science.


What was the most challenging aspect of the course?

I consider Data Science as an incredibly powerful toolkit that can be applied on existing domain knowledge and business use cases.

As Data Science is an interdisciplinary field of various disciplines such as mathematics, statistics, signal processing, machine learning, pattern recognition, computer sciences and even philosophy, it is easy to get overwhelmed by the enormous variety of different technologies and techniques.


What was your favourite aspect of the course?

I really appreciated the structure of the course and the way of teaching.

Instead of just working with pre-prepared, high-level solutions right away, almost every machine learning method was first broken down to the basic mathematics behind them and then programmed from scratch. By first getting behind the core mechanics of the many different tools, provided the perfect basis to later work with the high-level solutions. And the weekly project offered a great way to apply the new tools on real-world problems.


How were your instructors?

Malte and my name brother Samuel were incredible teachers. Two very different personalities with both having their very own unique way of teaching Data Science. Both did a fantastic job and were always ready to help.


Your cohort was affected by coronavius restrictions – tell us about that, how did you manage?

The first half of the course was on-site with the usual Covid precautions such as face masks, sanitizing hands and spacing between seats.

Unfortunately, due to the lockdown, the course had to be switched to online courses afterwards. Which was quite sad, because the interactions with the other students and the teachers were significantly reduced.


Do you have any tips for people who will have to do the bootcamp from home?

Make sure to invest in some decent equipment like a good microphone, headphones, webcam and two monitors. And turn on your camera during the lessons, as it really helps with the interactions during the online sessions.
Also meet up with your fellow students in private zoom sessions during breaks or when working on your project. Interactions with each other are a very important part of the course.


How are you using the skills you learnt at Spiced Academy?

I am currently working with our development department on some new sensor concepts with increased use of machine learning methods. These include a self-learning sensor unit and a radar-camera fusion for advanced classification applications.

In addition, I have taken on the development of AI methods for a driver assistance system for electric scooters, in one of our research projects, in which road users will be classified based on radar data.


Do you have any words of advice for our upcoming graduates about the Data Science course or the Bootcamp experience more generally?

Look for like minded students, form teams and help each other. Think of the course as a team effort. This is the best and most fun way to learn.


How was Spiced, what would you recommend about it?

The course exceeded my expectations and offered exactly what I was looking for. It was an amazing and valuable experience to work with so many people from completely different backgrounds.


Thanks again for your time! Any last comments?

Many thanks to Malte and Samuel for all your support, inspiration, good advice and lots of help. You made the course an incredible experience!