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Learning to code: the perfect gap year experience.

During her gap year, Lisa decided to step outside of her comfort zone and jump into the world of tech. She joined our full-time data science bootcamp in order to test out the field in a city that she loves: Amsterdam. Learn more about her experience!
Summary
"This course allowed me to upskill and try something new, while living in a city that I love for a few months."

Hi Lisa, can you please introduce yourself?

Hi I’m Lisa, I’m 20 years old and I’m originally from Germany. I did the full-time data science bootcamp this past summer in Amsterdam, which took place from April to June. The next step for me is actually beginning my bachelor’s in October. I’m so happy that I got the opportunity to upskill before my studies and I really hope that I’ll get the chance to use my newly acquired coding skills at university.

What were you doing before joining Le Wagon?

Before the bootcamp I was actually on my gap year, which is a year break that many people take between graduating from high school and beginning their university studies. During this time, I really reflected on what I wanted my next steps to be and stepped outside of my comfort zone. During the beginning of the year, I was in Spain and Sweden for an internship and a language course, followed by some travelling with friends. The bootcamp was then the next step for me on this journey, where I really pushed myself outside of my comfort zone and jumped into something completely new. I wanted to try out this technical side of things for myself and see how it would go. Overall, the bootcamp was the perfect opportunity for me to test the world of code and decide whether or not it was something I’d later pursue in my studies. 

What made you decide to do the bootcamp directly after high school?

Honestly, I didn’t quite know what to do after high school. There are so many choices when it comes to university programs and courses, so this bootcamp helped me decide on a path. I was all about challenges during my gap year, so I though why not? After all, there was no better time to experiment and learn new things as I didn’t know when I would get another chance, so I just went for it. I’m also a big fan of travelling and having the opportunity to choose from the wide range of cities that Le Wagon is present in was great. This course allowed me to upskill and try something new, while living in a city that I love for a few months. 

How do you plan on applying this new knowledge in the future?

There are many different ways to apply the data science bootcamp in the future. It gives you great foundations to build off of and it really helped me look at my technical side. I’ve now been looking into merging psychology and artificial intelligence, which is something that I never would have thought of before doing the bootcamp. After having spoken to various alumni, I’ve learned that there are so many ways in which you can connect data science to various fields. This was really inspiring to me and an eye opener. 

Especially right now, there are so many opportunities to use your tech skills and having this bootcamp background I’m sure will be very beneficial in the future when I begin looking for work. 

What made you decide to do the bootcamp in Amsterdam?

The city itself is just such a great place to live. Amsterdam was perfect because the people are so open and welcoming. It’s also a very international city which I really enjoyed. This was reflected in our batch having students from Germany, the UK, South Korea, Mexico and the Netherlands which was really cool.  I also had a friend living in Amsterdam, and it’s always nice to know a familiar face when moving to a new city!

What made you decide to do the data science bootcamp? What were your expected outcomes?

Data science is such a relevant topic in today’s day and age. I thought that this would be a very useful topic to explore. I also thought that this would be a very professional and intense first insight for me in the world of coding, giving me a good basis that I could build upon later. 

I didn’t really know what to expect other than the fact that it would be challenging.  Having said that, I’m really happy with the outcomes and that I was able to push and challenge myself in new ways while remaining in a comforting and supportive environment.  

Can you tell us about your experience at the bootcamp?

The bootcamp was definitely very intense, but overall it was an amazing experience. You learnt so much in a short time period, and although it was very intensive, you still had opportunities to enjoy the city and socialize with your fellow classmates, such as going on a boat tour or enjoying Friday drinks with everyone. 

There’s so much to do and see in the city itself, so I’m very happy that I was able to take the time to explore. It was also really great getting to know everyone in the bootcamp. We all had such diverse backgrounds so it was very interesting to see what everyone was doing or looking to pursue after the bootcamp.
Lisa and her final project teammates: Seung Ah and Mohammad
I also really enjoyed the supportive community, whether it be the teaching staff or the students themselves. Everyone was very social and looking to help one another throughout their journeys. You really build this tight-knit community while at the bootcamp. 

Finally, I enjoyed the emphasis of taking breaks and taking care of yourself while going through the process. Once again, it’s a very intense 9 weeks, so having the opportunity to have social events, play ping pong and have yoga made all of the difference. We also got to bike to campus as we were in Amsterdam, which was really nice as no matter what, you would get a bit of exercise and fresh air every day. 

What was your favourite aspect of the bootcamp?

My favourite aspect of the bootcamp, other than the ping pong, was the structure of the course. I really liked the practical, hands-on approach. This way of learning is very different than my previous experiences, but I can honestly say that I grasped the concepts much better with this method. 

What are you plans post-bootcamp?

I’ve actually decided to study psychology in Germany and I’m thinking of doing a semester abroad in the Netherlands because I think that there’s just some much innovation there. The universities in the Netherlands are combining psychology and technology, which I would love to dive into. The Netherlands is also just a huge tech hub and would be a great place to learn and potentially launch a career. 

I’m also looking into doing an internship where I would explore the overlap between psychology and data science. I think that this will be a great opportunity to revise the knowledge that I gained in the bootcamp. 

What advice would you give to someone thinking of doing the data science bootcamp?

I would advise to start practicing and do the prep-work before the bootcamp. The whole experience is so much more enjoyable if you’re well prepared. I would also advise that you ask your classmates and the community in general for help. Oftentimes people are more than happy to share their knowledge. Lastly, don’t give up and try to push through because it will be worth it, I promise. 

Thank you, Lisa!

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