Esme Gaisford

Senior Quantitative Data Analyst, Pandora

From:   San Francisco, CA
Course:   Data Science
Before Springboard:   Freelance Science Writer
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I loved talking to my mentor. He always gave me meaningful insights about how corporations work, the hiring process, or just useful resources on how to move forward.

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What were you doing before Springboard?

Freelance science writer and did some data research/analysis at a startup I co-founded. I liked the problem solving and the ability to analyze questions I found doing data-science-y stuff at my startup.

Why did you choose to learn with Springboard?

To be blunt: price, flexibility, and online reviews from others who had done it.

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It took time and repetition, and Tammy was a great support in giving me resources, answering questions, and reminding me that the first steps always suck.

What was your learning experience like?

Really good overall, sometimes frustrating (I came in with very limited coding experience and that slowed me down for a while), but the program taught me a lot, and my mentor was awesome.

What was the most challenging part?

The initial hurdle of learning a coding language was hard, and Springboard/mentor could have given me more support with that (my first mentor mostly, the second was much better; I was reassigned to a new one when the first dropped out). It took time and repetition, and Tammy was a great support in giving me resources, answering questions, and reminding me that the first steps always suck.

What was your capstone project?

First capstone: find trends in natural language processing in titles of high- and low-impact (prestige) scientific papers. I came up with the question based on my previous work. Second: I looked at employment trends post-2008 changes in the U.S.. Tammy helped advise me on how to narrow down both questions as I found initial trends.

What are you up to now?

Data analyst at Pandora.

What advice do you have for those considering online learning?

Set yourself regular goals (daily and weekly), and be realistic with what motivates you.

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