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Taking your career to the next level requires more than theory; application and practical experience are no less important. Just ask Practicum grad Sindhu Sirigireddy. A former web developer turned stay-at-home mom, Sindhu knew she wanted to incorporate her impressive math and stats background into her next role. But, for her, web development just wasn’t the field to achieve this. Enter Practicum’s Data Scientist Bootcamp, which gave Sindhu the skills and training she needed to land her dream role. Here’s how she did it.

Breaking the cocoon

Sindhu wasn’t a complete newbie to the tech scene. Having studied math and statistics in college, she had been working as a web developer. After having her first child, though, she decided to take a career break to look after her family. Soon, they moved from India to the U.S.

Once in the States, Sindhu decided she wanted to get back into the workforce. But returning to web development didn’t just feel right. She knew she wanted to apply her math and statistics background in her daily work, and web development just wouldn’t allow that. She needed a career upgrade in order to truly realize her full potential. This is where her tech background came in handy. Since Sindhu had good knowledge of the IT domain, she knew there was a profession that checked all of these boxes: data science.

“I thought data science looked very promising, and it was in demand… I wanted to do more programming, and use math and statistics as well. Data science is where we use all these subjects together, and I wanted to use my background.”

However, having a theoretical knowledge of math and stats wasn’t the same as applying it in real business cases. Sindhu realized she needed a skill upgrade. Juggling both motherhood and a part-time quality analyst job, she knew spending days in a classroom wouldn’t cut it. At the same time, she felt that month-long crash courses were too short to prepare her for a new profession. She needed both hard skill training and live contact with people who were already in the industry and could provide her some guidance. 

She tried other bootcamps first, but it was hard to establish a connection with tutors and discuss her issues. Then, Sindhu spotted an ad for the Practicum Data Scientist Bootcamp, where cohorts were limited to just 25 students and tutors were always available. She felt it was just what she needed. 

Challenging herself

At Practicum, all bootcamps consist of a number of two- to three-week-long sprints that include theory, coding practice, and project assignments. Sindhu could read and practice at her own pace, but assignments had to be submitted by deadlines to unlock the following sprints. She studied 15 to 20 hours a week with a majority of it spread throughout weekends, and dedicated one hour to studying on each weekday. Still, with as many commitments as Sindhu had, she needed a lot of self-discipline, which was exceptionally hard, even though her math and stats background was a tremendous help.

“I had a part-time job, I had a baby and was carrying a second baby when I was going through the bootcamp, so I had to learn a lot of time management,” she recalls. “At one point, I felt like giving up the course because I couldn’t complete it on time. But then, I spoke to Practicum’s staff and I was [given a break and] moved to the next cohort. That was a very good option for me, so I thought ‘I won’t give up, I will get to complete the course.’”

Aside from the bootcamp’s flexibility, Sindhu also enjoyed the abundance of interactions with both tutors and her peers. She could post a question about her code or projects in her cohort’s Slack channel and get an answer very quickly. “[Peers and tutors] used to help me with each and every question if I got stuck,” she says. And every weekend, Sindhu could engage in live coding sessions where she could talk to professionals and see how her peers were progressing.

“It was much easier and more helpful for me and I got way more from the course,” she says. “I would say my problem was a lack of time, but when I moved to the next cohort, I took it as a challenge to complete the course.”

On the right path

After realizing that time management was her weak spot, Sindhu knew it was time to do something about it. She felt that she would benefit from being in an environment where she would have to be organized, so she chose to get some experience as a scrum master. She applied for an open position at a U.S. university and landed the role!

Now, she works for a state university, overseeing a team of developers. “My role is to help a team to leverage agile principles and methodology to maintain an effective agile way of working environment,” Sindhu explains, “to split the project into sprints, track the progress of each one, and plan for the next sprint. And that’s a big skill that I learned from Practicum.  It taught me how to work in sprints to complete projects on time.” Being responsible for organizing a team forces her to become more organized herself. 

Once Sindhu masters the skill and her children get a bit older, she will dive into data science full force. “I’ll take some time [for caretaking] and keep learning and reading about data science… I’m interested in the healthcare domain, so I’ll try to get into it once I’m looking for full-time roles,” she says. With her determination, self-awareness, and meticulous approach to upgrading her skills, Sindhu will take the data science world by storm.

Interested in beginning your data science journey? Check out our top-rated bootcamp today.

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