No matter what career you pursue in the field of data, you will need to present tangible proof of your skills and experience to potential employers. A well-developed portfolio helps you do all that in one breath and takes you one step closer to your dream job.
So, what makes a great portfolio?
A professional portfolio should contain your personal information, resume, a list of your skills, and samples of your work or completed projects. This gives prospective employers a peek into your thought process, problem-solving skills, interests, and experience in building solutions from scratch. Because of this, there’s no doubt that a professional portfolio carries a large weight in your chances of getting hired for a data job.
Despite this, building a professional portfolio is not as easy as it seems. This is especially true for career starters or career switchers who are just stepping into a new field. If you’re one of them, WeCloudData offers you the chance to gain real project experience and build your professional portfolio through its portfolio courses.
WeCloudData’s real industry portfolio projects help you close the experience gap and become competitive in interviews and salary negotiations.Build your data portfolio at WeCloudData.
Why Do You Need a Professional Data Portfolio?
If you’re applying for data jobs, a professional portfolio is important for the following reasons:
Put your skills to the test.
No matter how much you’ve learned from an online course, data bootcamp, or degree program, you’ll never fully master a skill without practical application. Completing actual client projects to add to your portfolio is a great way to further sharpen your skills and boost your confidence.
Gain firsthand insight into the lives of data professionals.
Exposing yourself to the projects that data professionals work with gives you an idea of the challenges of working in the data industry. At the same time, it also helps you develop the skin and the skills to overcome them.
Boost your chances of getting hired.
In the world of data science and analytics, experience matters more than credentials. And what better way to prove your expertise than with a strong professional data portfolio?
In the words of Ernesto Ramos, a project manager at Beam Data, “Having a portfolio helps solve the age-old problem of information asymmetry between the hiring companies and the prospective employees. It gives hiring companies insights into the types of problems that are interesting to you and validates the extent of the tools and techniques you’ve mastered to address a business problem.”
The bottom line: Having a project portfolio is essential for landing your dream data job. And with WeCloudData’s portfolio courses, you’ll have access to quality projects to build an attractive portfolio.
A Review of WeCloudData’s Portfolio Courses
WeCloudData offers three portfolio courses in data science, data analytics, and data engineering. Each course takes around 12 months to complete and costs CAD 10,000 (approximately USD 8,000).
The first six months are all about project-building, while the remaining six months focus on career mentorship by industry experts. By the end of the program, you’ll have more confidence in your resume and data skills, as well as a real chance of getting hired for your dream tech job.
Let’s break that down.
“[The portfolio course] will start with an introductory meeting with the client, where they will outline the pain points of their business and what they would like us to focus on,” says Ernesto, who also works as the project manager for WeCloudData’s Data Science Portfolio Course. “After that, a project scope is drafted to address these needs and is presented to the client for their feedback and final approval.”
Students form small teams to take on the project. Every week, the industry-based project manager assigns tasks to each team member. Each task forms an individual unit of the entire project, with the deliverables regularly presented to the client.
The students independently work on their tasks but have access to in-house data science experts ready to assist them at every turn of the project. They also get extra technical assistance from the project manager in charge of the client. This vast support helps keep students on track with the project schedule and deadlines.
One of many things that makes the portfolio projects unique is their practicality. Because they mimic real-industry scenarios or are actual client projects in many cases, they demand creativity and skill be completed within a deadline.
Ernesto shares, “Given that students are working in teams of two to four for their client projects, it is very rare an important deadline is not met on time. Moreover, some buffer time is considered within the project timeline. And due to weekly check-ins with the PM as well as the client, students who fall behind at any point in the project are supported by the tech leads and the peers to meet the deliverable as soon as possible.”
Aside from the benefit of learning first-hand how to tackle real-world problems, the project portfolio course also helps students develop communication, teamwork, leadership, and time management skills. Finally, it significantly improves the students’ employability and salary negotiation power.
Ernesto describes one such scenario. “We had one student who took on the role of Team Lead in a project involving time-series forecasting models for a supply chain company. The experience from the project provided ample opportunity to research and validate cutting-edge techniques, which allowed the student to become well-versed in the time-series forecasting field.”
“As a result, the student was pursued and was offered a data scientist role for similar work at a larger organization.”
WeCloudData’s Data Science Client Project
The Data Science Client Project helps students segue into a data science career. It helps students master project management skills and tools like Agile, Jira, and Confluence.
Typical projects students handle may include completing time series forecasting using deep learning for supply chain clients, computer vision model tuning for autonomous driving startups, and predictive models for a fintech startup. They may also complete building recommender systems for publishing businesses and developing customer analytics solutions for global conglomerates in the consumer electronic business.
For example, Mingzi Sha, an alumnus of the Data Science Client Project program, worked on two projects. On one, she led the team to create a price prediction model using NPL, time series, and a lot of data processing techniques. She also worked with another group to develop a news recommender system.
She said, “I had never worked on a recommender system before, but with the support of the team and WeCloudData, I designed and implemented two recommendation models in the end.”
WeCloudData’s Business Intelligence Client Project
Projects at the Business Intelligence Client Project program typically require students to extract and prepare data for analysis using extraction and cleaning techniques. Working closely with team members and project managers, they build tools for processing business data and visualize their findings on dashboards through popular tools such as PowerBI, Tableau, and ReDash.
Students develop excellent communication skills throughout the program by collaborating with other team members while reporting the project’s progress to business stakeholders. They learn to interpret their findings and help business executives make informed decisions.
WeCloudData’s Data Engineering Client Project
WeCloudData’s Data Engineering Client Project helps students employ their knowledge of Python, SQL, Spark, AWS, databases, and several other big data technologies in portfolio-building tasks.
Typical example projects include building and automating data pipelines using Apache Airflow for client companies and building an end-to-end data analytics warehouse for e-commerce clients. It also includes building serverless data processing pipelines using AWS Lambda, NoSQL, and API Gateway or ingesting data into the data lake/warehouse using Spark or Airbyte for various clients.
Students use automation tools like Airflow to build data pipelines that extract data effectively in these projects. They also master reusable writing code that can be deployed in Docker containers. In addition, they complete various data ingestion, ETL, data modeling, data cleaning, as well as integration tasks.
Such caliber of training helps newbies develop tough skin as they enter the industry. They significantly enhance their problem-solving, project management, and time management abilities. This ensures that they master core skills they’ll use in the real world.
Prove Your Mettle in Data
The job market for data talents gets fiercer by the day, and relevant experience has become a significant differentiator among job seekers. Questions that employers ask prospective candidates include, “What projects have you completed?” “Why did you choose a certain technology stack for the project?” “How will your skills help to improve the data challenges?“
WeCloudData’s Client Project programs give you the skills to confidently answer those questions. Ernesto perfectly summarizes the value of these client projects. First, because students are essentially completing projects for real clients, there’s an added sense of responsibility “to produce high-quality and tangible deliverables.”
Second, “by working with real data, students are exposed to a work environment where their data skills are constantly tested…In all, the experience allows the students to learn quickly and understand what it takes to solve data problems in today’s setting.”
To top it off, students get full access to career support services like one-on-one mentorship by data scientists and engineers working in the field, resume assistance, and portfolio building—perfectly setting them up for job search success. WeCloudData reports a 100 percent placement rate among students of its portfolio courses, with some students securing over 20 job interviews and multiple offers after their training.
Want to learn more? Check out WeCloudData’s portfolio programs today.
About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.