Looking to merge the worlds of finance and tech, Gareth did the Data Science bootcamp. Only a few weeks after graduating, he landed a role as a Senior Strategy Associate in Fintech at Booking.com! Discover his story.
"Having had this tech facing experience from Le Wagon definitely made me stand out of the crowd."
Hi Gareth, can you please introduce yourself?
Hi, I’m Gareth! I’m from South Africa and I did Le Wagon’s Data Science bootcamp in Amsterdam batch #825.
What were you doing before joining Le Wagon?
I was actually doing finance for a family office looking at new ventures. In short, I was solely working around finance and accounts that did not have anything to do with tech.
What made you take our Data Science course?
I think that I’ve always been really interested in tech in general, but especially in data and how you can leverage it to get better results. I think the whole world is moving this way anyways, so it’s also a great opportunity to stay on top of things.
I knew that I wanted to get out of traditional finance and move into something more tech facing, but without losing all of the knowledge that I had previously acquired.
Why learn to code in Amsterdam?
Amsterdam is a really cool city, there is so much to do and see. In the more practical sense, the job market here is absolutely on fire here. If you have the opportunity to get into this market, which I can’t recommend enough, then you can definitely find something that’s interesting. Employers are fighting to find talent, which is quite different from many other markets. This makes the whole experience of finding a job really amazing.
Can you tell us about your experience at the bootcamp?
It was really cool! We covered such a huge amount of content, of course, but the community was the highlight for me. You create this sort of home and meet loads of people with similar mindsets, which is really nice.
I was also so impressed by everyone else doing the bootcamp. I wasn't really sure what to expect going in, but I got this sense that everyone was really there for the right reasons and that they were truly trying to improve themselves. Everyone was there to bring this knew knowledge into their career and make more of themselves which was really cool to see.
What was your favourite aspect of the bootcamp?
I really liked the vibe. You learn so much, but it was also really fun. You work the same hours as a full-time job, but it doesn’t necessarily feel like a job, in the best sense.
Le Wagon was sort of a “workcation.” You were really furthering yourself and your knowledge, but in this social and fun environment. It felt like a holiday which was a big plus.
How does the bootcamp format compare to your previous experiences?
I think that this learning experience was easier in a sense, as if you’re doing a bootcamp, it’s usually because you’re very motivated. If you take the plunge, you truly want to.
It was a cool learning experience, because everyone really wanted to be there. This made it easier to give more of myself to the course every day.
Can you tell us more about your experience finding a job after the bootcamp?
It was pretty easy, but I was also quite lucky. I got put in touch with something that I really wanted to do which was great. I got to merge finance and technology, which was my goal when joining the bootcamp. I knew that I didn’t want to become a Data Scientist, but really focus on this data meets tech type of tole.
I’m now working at Booking.com as a Senior Strategy Associate in Fintech. As booking is a technology company, I believe that my experience at Le Wagon really helped me land this job as I’d been tech focused. In this new role, I deal with a lot of colleagues who work in tech, so the Data Science bootcamp really helps in that sense.
Can you tell us more about your new role?
Booking.com is a really big company here in the Netherlands, it’s actually one of the biggest tech companies in Europe. The culture is quite cool as well. In my role, I develop new financial products that will integrate into your journey. To give you a better sense of this, you can think of buy now, pay later solutions or ways to insure your trip. In short, I’m working on creating financial products which would then be embedded into existing tech products.
Do you believe that what you learned in the bootcamp directly applies in your new role?
Yes, even though I’m not coding anymore, it definitely helped them make the decision to chose me for the position. Having had this tech facing experience definitely made me stand out of the crowd. Most companies are looking for someone who’s really strong in tech or finance with a little bit of knowledge on the other side. Le Wagon gave me that boost on the tech side, having had a background in finance to begin with.
What advice would you give to someone that’s thinking of doing the Data Science bootcamp?
I definitely recommend doing the bootcamp, but my greatest piece of advice is to go in having somewhat of an idea of what you’d like to do with it afterwards.