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Xccelerate Stories: From Retail Banking to a Data Scientist

Xccelerate HK
December 15, 2021
Last updated on
June 3, 2024

"I realized that data science has a growing trend in not only banking, but also any other industries." - Queenie Cheung, Data Science & Machine Learning Graduate (Cohort 12)

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Can you tell us a little bit about your background?

Hi, I am Queenie, a recent graduate from Data Science & Machine Learning Bootcamp at Xccelerate. I graduated from International Business three years ago, and then I followed the path which Hong Kong parents always encourage their kids to follow, which is to join the banking industry. So I started working as a frontline banking officer right after my graduation. Although it was a very stable job with an appealing salary, I found that I actually did not like working as a salesperson, despite enjoying being around different people.

I am also a person who likes learning new things, for example learning foreign languages like Spanish, music instruments like piano, and also technical skills like data science! That’s why I searched for something to learn and to upscale myself when I figured out I won’t last long working as a frontline banking officer. I did try learning stuff like compliance, but eventually, I discovered Xccelerate and thought that it was the best place for me to learn and polish my technical skills.

Why did you decide to switch your career into tech and why Data Science specifically?

During the pandemic last year, I started to get worried about my career, as I could not see a future in retail banking. With the growth of digitization, I believe the number of branches will gradually decrease in the coming 10-20 years. Therefore, I started to think of switching careers.

I had researched different kinds of career paths - compliance, e-commerce, business analysis and project management before applying for Xccelerate’s Women in Tech scholarship program.
One of my friends is actually the second cohort winner of the women in tech scholarship at Xccelerate, and graduated from the Full-Stack Web Development Immersive Bootcamp. Therefore, I immediately asked for her advice as soon as I came across Xccelerate. As we have very different backgrounds, she couldn’t give me further advice on choosing either data science or web development.

Hence, I went on searching for more details regarding both courses, then I realized that data science has a growing trend in not only banking, but also any other industries. Working as a banking officer, I encountered different kinds of data everyday, especially customers' backgrounds. I could simply know the salary level of the customers by the autopay records and the purchasing patterns by their credit card statements. So I wondered if I could learn more in data science, and maybe I could develop something to provide better banking solutions to the customers in the future. That’s why I chose to join Xccerlate’s Data Science & Machine Learning Bootcamp.

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How has your journey been at Xccelerate’s bootcamp?

It has been an enjoyable journey for me during this 4-month bootcamp. My friend told me about the learning environment and atmosphere before I joined the bootcamp. She said that even though the course is very intensive, the instructors and students are willing to help and support throughout. So the overall experience was very positive.

For every project I did with my groupmates, I developed more in-depth knowledge regarding that topic. Especially on the machine learning project - we had to play along with the data, come up with the most suitable machine learning model for the dataset and also find out the best hyperparameter for training the model. Therefore, I really liked the idea of having projects after each important topic,  since it gave me a chance to practice and apply the concepts I learned from class.

My favorite topic of the bootcamp was definitely the ‘business intelligence’ part, which taught us how to use Tableau and Power BI. I understand most of the companies out there require data analysts to be very familiar with one of these two softwares, therefore I am glad that I could practice these two with some real-life examples. I can understand more about how to create graphs for data analysis and also gain insights from those analyses.

What is something you would like to solve through Data Science & Machine Learning

As a former banking officer, I encountered different kinds of data during work everyday. I had access to various data for even just one customer. So I sometimes wondered whether there will be any methods for me to understand my clients better and gain insights about customers’ behaviour and priorities, rather than scrolling their data one by one.

In addition, fraud detection is a very crucial matter in the banking industry. One of the biggest concerns of the banking sector is to ensure the security of the customers and employees. Therefore, I think most of the banks are searching for ways that can detect fraud as early as possible for minimizing the losses. That’s why I chose to do a credit card fraud detection system in my capstone project in order to be more familiar with the current issues and challenges banks are facing. I hope to build a suitable model for solving this problem.

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What advice would you give to a woman considering a career in the tech industry? What do you wish you had known?

The advice I would give to a woman considering a career in the tech industry is to focus on what you are passionate about. For instance, in data science, some people would be more into data cleaning, some would be more into machine and deep learning and some would like to develop in business intelligence. Find your deeply interested topic and focus to achieve your best results. For me, I wish I started learning coding back in high school as I now understand how important technology has been changing the world in past years. But I think it’s never too late to learn coding, that’s why I joined the BootCamp!

Do you have any women role models in tech or otherwise that you look up to?

My female role model would probably be Ada Lovelace, who is often regarded as the first computer programmer. She was the first to recognise that the machine had applications beyond pure calculation, and to have published the first algorithm intended to be carried out by such a machine. Being born in that period of severe gender inequality, she did not hesitate to devote herself entirely to her interest in mathematics and logic. I really appreciate her braveness for being an outstanding woman during that time period and I will always bear in mind that I should appreciate the resources I now have when compared with those women living hundreds of years ago.

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What do you think is the best part of being a woman in the tech industry?

I believe the best part of being a woman in the tech industry is making a positive impact in the industry. The industry has been dominated by men for over a century, so it can definitely bring another point of view for women entering the industry. Also, we can encourage other women if there are more and more women role models in the tech industry. I believe there are already more women in tech today than five or ten years ago. So we are definitely changing the tech industry dynamics nowadays.


Bootcamps are one of the best ways to increase your skillset in a shorter span of time. The IT industry is growing exponentially across the globe. Check out the current Hong Kong market of Web Development, Data Science and UI/UX Design to be well-informed.

If you’re keen on changing your career to the tech industry - Xccelerate offers the courses for you! Check out our full-time tech bootcamps. Learn more about our Data Science & Machine Learning instructor who have over 10 years of experience in the design field and loves to teach! Xccelerate has received 'Best Web Development Bootcamp 2021' and 'Best Data Science Bootcamp 2021' on SwitchUp.

Xccelerate's Women in Tech Scholarship is an initiation to encourage women to build a career in tech. The scholarship is applicable for full-time web development BootCamp(FTSE) and data science & machine learning BootCamp (FTDS).

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