By Lindsey Naylor, a Data Science student
This is an extremely broad topic, nearly as expansive as the known universe or even the data science industry itself. Okay, maybe a little less, but it’s close. However, that may leave you with a long list of assumptions and further questions, such as:
- What kind of work are we balancing with our studies?
- How intensive is “intensive”?
- Will your strategies work for me?
… the list goes on!
My writing is a reflection of my own personal experience. To gain the most from it, consider your own circumstances, how they resemble my own or differ from them, what your strengths and weaknesses are, and begin to develop a strategy tailored to your personal situation.
So let’s get started!
YES! It is absolutely possible to balance work or university studies and intensive study with Practicum Bootcamp. How about all three? Hmm, overachiever much?
When I embarked on my journey with Practicum, like a cat to a cardboard box, I was instantly drawn to the Data Analyst course. I was in my last stint of completing my B.S. in Business Data Analytics and several of the advertised lessons seemed to align quite wonderfully with concepts covered on my course. I enthusiastically completed the Introductory course and then eagerly awaited for the full course to begin. In the midst of my waiting, my university course work dropped from a nine-credit hour load down to a three. My eyes started drifting over to the Data Scientist course with its “oohs” and “aahs” like machine learning and computer vision. Suddenly, Robert Frost’s words echoed in my mind:
“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both”
- Robert Frost
Just as he, “I took the one less traveled by,” and started down the path. My journey to becoming a Data Scientist had begun!
And here I was, balancing my last few classes before I was officially a university graduate, working a full-time job, and furthering my skills as a Data Scientist. Eventually, it dawned upon me, I had taken on so much and I was unsure how I would manage:
I noticed my analyses lacking, I was reverting to surface-level interpretations and lackluster visualizations. The scales had shifted so heavily towards the school side of my work/life balance that every pursuit was achieving less than optimal results. At that point, I decided to communicate my concerns directly with my Practicum community manager. We negotiated a period of academic leave, which was a huge relief, and I was added to a later cohort that was set to launch after my degree conferral date. This was the break I needed to succeed with my university studies — and to graduate with honors as Summa Cum Laude to boot!
During my learning journey with Practicum, I gained many new insights. Here, I’d like to share the most important ones with those of you looking to break into tech.
1. Don’t stretch yourself too thin.
Throughout life, I’ve been told to give ‘x-y-z’ 110%, but have you ever tried filling a glass of wine 110%? It ends up spilling all over the table and in my case, stains your favorite t-shirt red (too bad, I loved that t-shirt). If you begin to feel overwhelmed or like you may be stretching yourself too thin, speak to your community manager. They are there for you, honestly and truly, and they want to see you succeed.
2. Make a schedule and stick to it.
Let’s face it, is there any point in making a schedule if you’re not going to stick to it? A schedule will not only help you to stay on track but will also allow you to prioritize various aspects of life and reduce the chances of letting down the ones you love. Plus, it feels pretty darn good to check things off as you go along. Looking back you’ll say — “Yeah, I did that!”