William Fallon, who goes by Bill or Billy, had established a career in finance. When he decided that he wanted to take it to the next level, he reviewed his options and arrived at the conclusion that coding and data science skills could be the perfect boost for his career. Bill enrolled in the NYC Data Science Academy bootcamp where he not only acquired the skills he sought, but he developed a valuable, lifelong network of fellow students. In his current job at quantitative trading and technology firm Old Mission Capital LLC, Bill He finds himself building on what he’s learned on a daily basis, and he regularly relies on the skills taught at NYCDSA.
We sat down with Bill to learn more about why he chose NYCDSA, the benefits of an in-person program, and his favorite project at bootcamp.
1. Could you fill us in on your educational and career background before you decided to pursue data science?
I studied math and economics in college and worked in quantitative finance for about five years. Then I decided I wanted to add coding and data science skills to my repertoire in order to enhance my career options.
2. Why did you decide to enroll in a data science bootcamp?
I was looking for a program that would teach me the fundamentals of coding and how to analyze data in a way that would be helpful for my future career. While online programs had some of the same content, I wanted the supportive environment that offered instructors and interaction with other students.
3. Why did you select NYC Data Science Academy bootcamp?
I looked at a number of bootcamps and general coding programs before selecting NYC Data Science Academy. I selected this program because it offered me a fully immersive program with a staff that have an impressive array of expertise. I found that most bootcamps featured a single instructor who basically taught the whole program. Here, there were five or six instructors teaching different areas. I was blown away by their knowledge and their effectiveness as teachers. Also, the number of teaching assistants here is much greater than what one finds in other programs. I wanted to have experienced mentors available to me to help me learn.
4. How did you find your experience overall?
The learning environment is great. I found the curriculum as comprehensive as I had wanted it to be. I quickly got up to speed on coding, and learned the data science skills that I draw on every day in my job. The instructors are very helpful. It’s clear that they are really invested in ensuring that the students learn the material as best they can. The instructors were always available to answer our questions.
5. How did you find the other students?
I found my classmates extremely impressive. They came from a wide variety of backgrounds. Some — like me — had several years’ professional experience prior to starting NYCDSA. Others came in straight from university, some with undergraduate degrees and some with graduate degrees. The students in my cohort also had a range of skills. Some people came to NYCDSA with more technical experience, and some had more quantitative backgrounds. What was great about that was that we were able to learn from each other. For example, I was able to learn from those with more coding experience and was able to help out those with less of a math background. I found everyone extremely nice – cooperative rather than competitive with each other. There was a sense that we were all in this together.
6. Which was your favorite project at the bootcamp?
The most exciting project for me was the capstone one, which involved a team from bootcamp tackling a real life data science problem for a nonprofit organization in New York. Working with them for just a few weeks, I was able to see that we had the opportunity to make a really big difference. It felt great to participate in a project that had a very concrete impact, and helped me develop my data science skills at the same time.
7. What did you like best about the bootcamp experience?
They do a really good job at making sure you are as prepared as possible before you even begin, and ensuring that you then have the tools you need to succeed in the program. So many people in the bootcamp are committed to seeing that the students learn as much as possible while they are here.
8. What advice would you have for students considering enrolling in the data science program?
Do as much of the pre-work as possible. It's part of the resources the program makes available to you to help you learn everything you need to succeed. You should take advantage of all the tools and people around you to get the most out of the bootcamp experience.
9. Can you talk a bit about how you found your job and how it draws on what you learned at the bootcamp?
My experience was atypical in that I got an offer while I was still in the middle of the bootcamp. This past April, I started working as a trader for Old Mission Capital LLC, a quantitative trading and technology firm. I find the skills that I learned in the bootcamp are incredibly helpful in my job. I draw on the coding and data analysis skills that I learned there every day at work.