Learning More By Doing More: How Hands-On Boot Camp Experience Helped Yamin Alam Become a Data Analyst
Yamin Alam received an undergraduate degree in mathematics from the University of Richmond in 2018. He landed a production analyst position shortly afterward, but it wasn’t a perfect fit. Looking back on his college education, he realized that he hadn’t taken enough courses to fully prepare himself for a business or data analyst role — and wanted to change that.
Yamin came across an Instagram ad for boot camps powered by Trilogy, a 2U Inc. brand, and discovered that his alma mater offered one. Eager to explore new concepts, he enrolled in University of Richmond Data Analytics Boot Camp.
“The program at UR looked really appealing, and I was happy I found it,” he said. “I thought I just met the minimum requirements to enroll, but it turns out I actually had more experience than I realized, and plenty of background preparation for the class.”
A fresh way of learning
Yamin was used to attending lecture-based classes, where he would sit through a lesson given by an instructor and get most of his learning done outside of class by reviewing notes. In the boot camp, Yamin was surprised that lectures lasted just 10 or 20 minutes, after which students were given time to practice new skills in class.
“Overall, it was a really great program,” he said. “I learned a lot from just listening in class, and the hands-on aspect was really helpful.”
Thanks to the boot camp’s comprehensive curriculum, Yamin was finally able to learn concepts that had always piqued his interest. During his undergraduate experience at the University of Richmond, he didn’t have the chance to dive as deeply into coding as he would’ve liked to, but the boot camp posed the perfect learning opportunity — allowing him to explore in-demand technologies like Python, SQL, HTML/CSS, and Tableau.
Yamin was working full-time while attending the boot camp. Though he was initially worried about finding a good work-life balance, it turned out to be manageable.
“I had the aptitude, the course was right in my wheelhouse, and I got exactly what I wanted out of the boot camp,” he said.
Working through obstacles
Looking back, Yamin is especially grateful for the boot camp’s group projects. As the program came to an end, Demo Day provided students with the opportunity to showcase projects to peers, instructors, and potential employers. For Yamin, this experience was a resounding success.
“The people from my boot camp definitely got the most out of Demo Day,” he said. “I’m happy with what I got out of it. The employers who were interested in me let me know.”
The project Yamin and his group worked on involved identifying whether a picture was taken indoors or outdoors in an effort to help with geography, geolocating, and robotics. They built a Python script and deep learning algorithm to conduct a web scrape, then pull and classify images.
“It’s not like I had a PhD or anything, but people wanted to see what we’d done. They were curious about the topic and impressed by our explanations,” he said. “It was enough to get employers interested.”
Because of Demo Day, Yamin was able to skip the tedious job application process after completing the boot camp. Shortly after that day, an interested employer invited him for an interview for a junior analyst position at RetailData, a pricing intelligence firm.
“The boot camp ended in the beginning of February 2020, I had an interview two weeks after Demo Day, and a job offer two weeks later,” Yamin said.
Yamin started working on March 15, 2020 — and one day later, RetailData shut down onsite work because of COVID-19. He started working from home, but was soon informed that the company would be temporarily laying off new employees.
Despite losing his job, Yamin took advantage of Trilogy’s career services team and lessons learned from his past experience applying for jobs. He discovered he had more skills to put forth than ever before.
“I was suddenly prepared for technical interviews and I was starting to apply to jobs again,” he said. “But it was still a hectic time.” Luckily, Yamin’s manager from his junior analyst job called in June 2020 asking if he’d like to come back to work, and he’s been there ever since.
“It’s been really great,” said Yamin. “If it weren’t for the boot camp, the group project, and Demo Day, I wouldn’t have left such a good impression on my current manager.”
Beyond teaching new technologies, the boot camp helped Yamin sharpen his portfolio, website, and resume — while diving headfirst into networking. It wasn’t easy, but it was worth it.
“You’re really setting yourself up for success, mastering all of the nuances and upping your technical skills,” he said. “As long as you’re putting in the work.”
Looking to change courses? Explore University of Richmond Boot Camps in coding, data analytics, and cybersecurity.