Dario Marrocchelli

Data Scientist, Wayfair

From:   Boston, USA
Course:   Data Science
Before Springboard:   Instructor, MIT
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I left academia almost two years ago, and I have no regrets.
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I wanted to transition from academia to industry.

My story is a very well-known one: I was an academic who became disillusioned and frustrated with the academic job market. After years as a researcher at MIT, I decided it was time for a career change, and I soon identified data science as an exciting, promising, and challenging field that I wanted to explore. I already had a very quantitative background, but I was missing some of the basic tools and concepts that I realized were necessary for this career switch.
I was really impressed that Springboard offered a live mentorship component. As somebody who was quite lost in the middle of a career transition, I found this personalized attention very appealing.

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My mentor Sundeep reassured me and patiently answered my questions.

The best part of the course was having weekly calls with an experienced data scientist. My mentor Sundeep was always quick to explain things and share his experiences. When you’re learning concepts in a field that you’re not familiar with, you’ll have a lot of questions—trust me! I’m not comfortable with this—how can I improve? What feedback do you have on my model? What do you recommend in looking for jobs? Sundeep and I built up a strong relationship throughout my time in the course, and I learned so much from him.

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When you’re learning concepts in a field that you’re not familiar with, you’ll have a lot of questions—trust me!

The capstone project was great preparation for the real world.

I had three or four ideas for my capstone project, and Sundeep helped me narrow down my options to finish the course in two months. I decided to enter a Kaggle competition as my project, which was a very valuable experience. My task was to forecast how much money different sets of stores were going to make in the next few months. I practiced cleaning data, forecasting, and most importantly, iterating and improving my model.

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After the course, I was determined to join the workforce as a data scientist.

Once I graduated from Springboard, I started interviewing for jobs. I was lucky enough to be selected as a fellow at Insight, an amazing boot camp that trains people with PhDs to transition to industry jobs. I broadened my network and learned how to interview as a data scientist.
The combination of Springboard and Insight allowed me to land a data scientist position at Wayfair. My job is to develop a new attribution model for the company. My everyday work includes visualizing and cleaning data, running SQL queries, and training machine learning models. These are all things that I either learned or perfected during my Springboard workshop. 

Springboard was instrumental in my career switch.

For eighty or ninety percent of the things that I’m doing now, I learned (or improved!) my skills by taking the Springboard course. The workshop allowed me to fill the gaps in my skills and find a job as a data scientist at a company that was my top choice. I’ll definitely continue to reference the curriculum in the future-- especially since it’s incredibly relevant to my current role.

I love my job and I am much happier now.

I left academia almost two years ago, and I have no regrets. I have to admit that I was skeptical that I would find data science as challenging and interesting as academia, but I was pleasantly surprised to find it challenges me in a really empowering way. And, the people in my group are amazing, making every day fun and interesting.
My lifestyle is also a lot better. I work hard, but my hours are reasonable and I can spend time with my two boys (who are 3 and 5). I also have time to follow some of my other passions-- for instance, every January I teach a course on the science of cooking at MIT!

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