Headhunter’s call

After finishing my master’s study in Italy I came to a new country, got married soon, and gave birth to my son in 2014. Two years later in 2016, my daughter came into the world. I enjoyed those unforgettable moments with my babies. But I was not satisfied with myself. I didn’t want to stay at home forever. I was very young then. During this period I learned German, did some internships, and also tried some import/export business. It was Okay. But soon the tasks were too routine for me. I was lost. Six years of hard study and the automotive engineering degree in hand, couldn’t help me find a job in the automotive branch in Berlin. What bothered me most was that I didn’t know what I want.

I remembered very well, on a beautiful and sunny morning in May 2018, I received a call from a foreign number starting with +44. On the phone spoke a woman with a British accent. To be honest, I hardly understood her well. She was looking for a candidate with a mechanical engineering background for a robotic startup. She mentioned machine learning, for the first time I heard of this term. I googled the mentioned startup and machine learning. Wow, it seemed that I missed a lot during the parent leave years.

Back to campus

The idea of back to campus came to my mind. I was not aware of any online courses at that time. So I’ve chosen the classical way, pursuing a second master’s degree, hoping that the german master’s degree could help me find a satisfying job later. It did help later and opened a fantastic door for me. Fortunately, I was soon enrolled in the master’s program of Project Management And Data Science at HTW Berlin at the age of 29. Back to campus was great. With 20 fellows coming from 12+ countries and different backgrounds I felt empowered and young 😀. We had world coffee in the project management course. We ran charity projects. We learned to program.

First time to code

In the first semester, we learned R. It was my first programming language. But soon I switched to python to do advanced data analytics and machine learning. I remembered well the first time to install Anaconda and asked for help again and again. I couldn’t read and understand the error messages. I was wondering why people set the dark theme when programming. It was overwhelming for me. The good thing about the campus is, that you can ask for help all the time. I was thankful for some patient friends who helped and inspired me at the beginning time.

Continuous learning

Data Science and machine learning fascinated me so much that I was not satisfied with the contents the master’s program provided. Every night from 9 pm to midnight I sat in front of my computer to learn machine learning and deep learning courses on Coursera. I am self-taught in SQL, NLP, web development, etc. It was overwhelming for me. Not having a computer science background, you have to learn a lot yourself. You can find a list of useful courses I’ve taken hier. Coursera and Udemy are my favorite online platforms.

Next week I will take the free data engineering zoomcamp provided by DataTalksClub and Alexey Grigorev. I recommend you check it if you consider transitioning into a data engineering role.

Corona in last semester

Back at the beginning of the outbreak of coronavirus, I just got an internship for my last semester. My flight to China was canceled. It was one of the toughest moments in my life. Two kindergarten children at home (the kindergarten was closed due to corona), a full-time internship, and my master’s thesis. Good thing was that I could work from home so that I could do the job and take care of the kids during the day. Every night and every weekend I had to work on my master’s thesis. I am not a night person. I could stay up latest until midnight. Otherwise, I couldn’t sleep and had a headache then. It sounds crazy, I know. I didn’t burn out luckily. I graduated with a very good score. Proud of myself to organise all the things to make it work. Of course, without the support of my husband, I couldn’t go so far. Therefore, I have to shout here, to be a mother should not be a disadvantage in our career but a great bonus. Moms are resilient and most of the time good managers.

Career growth

I got my first job directly after my graduation. It was difficult to get my first job after Uni. I got 69 rejections and received one offer. But this one offer was exactly a match for me. The institute is around the corner from where I live. The project I would work on was about NLP while I wrote my master’s thesis about NLP too. So sometimes rejections are not always bad but help you land the right job. After my project was over, I would stay in the institute but I wanted to move to the industry. This time I got 34 rejections before I received one offer. Not bad compared to the first job application. 😀 In this small and warm hearts company, I learned a lot from my colleagues and the chef. It was a hard decision to leave them because of the best people there. But I wanted to pursue an engineering role and I know much better myself. For my third job, I got only 18 rejections but 2 offers. Now I am a consultant in AI and Data Analytics team at Deloitte. You see, hard work paid off.

Mentor advice

A lot of professionals have unique career paths. Yours will never be the same as the others. You are you. Maybe you are considering making a transition to the tech or data science field. Maybe you were confused and lost like me several years ago and didn’t know what to do and where to start. I wished to have a mentor at that time when I was helpless. Now I could help you. You can contact me if you look for a mentor to talk to. It’s free.

But bear in mind, no matter what you will do, and if you want to make yourself better than yesterday or last year, you need to be prepared to learn continuously, work hard and persevere to reach your goal.

Begin today in the new year 2023! Cheers! 🥂

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