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Xccelerate Stories: Andy Wang Becomes a Data Scientist

Resham Hemlani
July 31, 2018
Last updated on
March 13, 2024

This alum interview offers insight into what it is really like to participate in an intensive full time bootcamp. This week, we sat down with Xccelerate Full-Time Data Science & Machine Learning grad Andy Wang who went from hedge fund manager to programming at Graphen. After multiple job offers and one final decision Andy has never been better.

Thanks for coming, Andy! Can you tell us a little about what you were doing before attending Xccelerate?

Before Xccelerate I was the founder of a startup. I was doing a lot of machine learning and data science related freelance. Even before I was doing that I was working at a hedge fund in London. I came to Xccelerate because I had experience in the field but wanted to refine my knowledge.

What made you take the leap from hedge fund to programming?

Programming had always been an interest of mine, even a little bit. I remember when I first called you guys up it was actually [CEO] Lavine who I talked to. I told him how I was taking a lot of online courses that just weren't doing much. So, at that point, I decided to look for a bootcamp and he sold me on Xccelerate.

What made you decide that a bootcamp was the best way for you to get that education?

I realized I needed to be somewhere in person and learning first hand. Also the intensity and the people here, some better than you, that you can bounce ideas back and forth with. That was the main thing for me because most people I knew didn’t have any knowledge of machine learning so I didn’t have anyone to collaborate with until I came to Xccelerate. Immediately I met Dom and Brian who were amazing teachers and very good at what they do.

So what drew you to Xccelerate specifically?

I really was looking for something that wasn’t online and had a level of intensity that I needed to motivate myself. You guys had a good image and I was able to trust the instructors on where they were going with the course. Overall, I learned what I needed to learn and I achieved my goal by attending Xccelerate.

It sounds like your programming skills are good to go, what about your career skills?

I think it's all about being proactive. I know there are more helpful services now for helping land a career but I really didn’t have any issues. Within the time of 2-3 weeks I went to more than 10 interviews. I had like four offers I had to decide between. My decision came down to the team that I thought I could work the best with.

What's one piece of advice you’d give anyone considering bootcamp?

I think you really have to be open minded and ready to learn. Patience is also really important, you have to be ready to get your hands dirty. You don't want to sit on the sideline, you have to be able to do the dirty work.

Make sure that if you do as much as you can on your own time, than that is how you are going to get the most out of the experience. If you are expecting to just go to the class and be amazing.. Then it’s not going to work. You’ve got to put in the effort on your end. There were times when I did a lot of extra readings and watching videos on my own to make myself better.

What you learn in this process is how to self-learn. The bootcamp I did was 3 months and gave me a great start but at the end of the day it teaches you the ability to learn on your own and motivate yourself. For example, before coming to a bootcamp I found reading the documentations on machine learning or data science were really hard to understand. But, now after graduating boot camp I can read through any document and figure my way through it. That is probably one of the most important things out of the whole experience.

What would you say to someone whos stuck in finance and wants to break into programming?

Start programming. Python is a great start. You’ve got to know what you want and if programming could be that, than you need to pursue it.

_Your story can be as enchanting as Andy's. Check out our Full-Time Immersive Data Science & Machine Learning Bootcamp Hong Kong _

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