Success story Rafaela

Everything around us is a data point – every keystroke, touch point, click, purchase, step, or location marker. But how do companies interpret all this information? This is where data scientists come in. By bringing together scientific and statistical methods, algorithms and processes, data scientists gather valuable insights from data sets to understand complex phenomena, make predictions and help businesses, policymakers, or governments make better decisions.

Over the past few years, digital transformation has revolutionized how industries operate, and the demand for skilled data scientists has skyrocketed. By adopting technology and data analysis, companies across industries, including retail, healthcare, agriculture, banking, and more, have increased efficiency, accuracy, and customer experiences. This has made data science a hot career choice for those interested in working with data.

There is a misconception that you have to have a tech background to work in data, but really, data science is a multifaceted field that combines skills from various domains. Although the technical skillset is important, the people who thrive in this field have strong critical thinking and creative insight.

We are sharing the inspiring story of a recent graduate who has embarked on the Bootcamp journey at Lighthouse Labs. Rafaela, like many newcomers to Canada, was exploring different career options that were aligned with her interests. From a Ph.D. in linguistics to data science – join us as we dive into Rafaela’s career transition into tech.

Rafaela was accepted into the Data Science Bootcamp at Lighthouse Labs as part of the ICT Boost Initiative, an impact initiative led by Lighthouse Labs funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Sectoral Workforce Solutions Program. This program empowers and supports Canada's growing tech sector by removing barriers and equipping individuals from equity-deserving communities with the necessary skills and training to launch their careers in tech.

Before Studying With Lighthouse Labs

“I wanted to create a connection between the social sciences and the tech world. After exploring the daily life of a data scientist, I realized that this could be a good fit for me.”

Before enrolling in Lighthouse Labs’ Data Science Bootcamp, Rafaela completed a Ph.D. in linguistics in Brazil and gained experience in the research industry. After deciding to move to Canada, she completed a one-year internship at the University of Guelph. Once she started working in the field of research, she noticed most of her academic career was related to the social sciences and involved working with large data sets. She realized how closely her work mirrored the demands of data science and was motivated to learn new skills and leverage her knowledge in a new capacity.

Returning to School After Completing a Ph.D.

“I have the feeling that the educational path that I have chosen in the past is not far away from the one that I'm choosing right now.”

Data science is everywhere. With the rise of artificial intelligence and big data, companies need people who can sort and make sense of the ever-growing database. If you’re looking for ways to get started without having to get a university degree, the good news is there are many options. There are free online platforms and resources available where you can learn the fundamentals of data science. However, if you’re looking to take your career to the next level and gain job-ready credentials, you might be better suited for an accelerated program or bootcamp.

Woman holding a laptop and smiling.

Become a Data Scientist Professional in as little as 12 weeks!

No experience needed.

Classes start soon and there's room for you.

Sign up Now

After working with data all throughout her Ph.D. and academic career, Rafaela realized how there’s a large intersection between the two industries and wanted to be part of Canada’s growing tech sector. She saw this as an opportunity to use her existing skills and experience to kick-start her career.

The average starting salary for Lighthouse Labs’ Data Science Bootcamp alums is $60,780 per year, with 1 in 5 graduates earning more than $70,000 a year 1.

Here are some data science jobs and salaries:

  • Data Scientist, average base salary of $102,017
  • Machine Learning Engineer, average base salary of $112,915
  • Data Engineer, average base salary of $92,004
  • Statistician, average base salary of $77,671
  • Data Architect, average base salary of $123,994
  • Data Analyst, average base salary of $71,802

Mapping out the Career Trajectory of a Data Scientist

Data scientists can emerge from any discipline – you don’t have to come from an economics, statistics, computer science, or math background to succeed in this field. No matter which career path you choose, if you start as an entry-level graduate, you'll typically begin as a Junior Data Scientist. The beginning stage of your career is a time to sharpen your technical skills and strengthen your analytical thinking. Soft skills are equally as important when starting out – you'll need to balance communication, team management, and a willingness to stay curious.

Once you’ve established a solid foundation, you may progress into roles like Senior Data Scientist, Data Architect, Data Engineer, or Senior Business Analyst. In these senior positions, you'll be responsible for making decisions and prioritizing business strategy and product management at a high level. You’ll also be working with programming languages and continuing to develop your technical skills.

Amidst higher levels of management, data scientists have the opportunity to step into leadership positions, providing recommendations to business leaders about how operations are impacted. As new technologies continue to revolutionize the industry, data scientists play a vital role in analyzing trends, mitigating risks, enhancing performance, and increasing profitability.

Did your mindset about your future goals change when you heard about the ICT Boost Initiative?

“Yes, absolutely. I was only able to pursue this path because of Lighthouse Labs’ support through the ICT Boost initiative. Otherwise, I wouldn't be able to get another chance to switch careers and use my existing skills in a new, exciting way.”

At Lighthouse Labs, we offer a diverse range of financing options to facilitate the funding of your education. To ensure finances are not a barrier in your decision, applicants can ask questions about the financing options available during the interview stage with a Learning Advisor. We're here to help you in your learning journey.

The Lighthouse Labs Bootcamp Experience

As Rafaela began her learning journey at Lighthouse Labs, she discovered the support systems and mentorship program available to all students. “The learning process was very intense,” Rafaela remembers. “But as I moved forward in my studies, I noticed there were many tools available to help students succeed.”

With expert instructors, supportive student success coordinators, knowledgeable mentors and a dedicated career services team, students are guided throughout their journeys even after graduation.

Advice for Those Considering Enrolling in Bootcamp

After completing Lighthouse Labs’ Data Science Bootcamp, Rafaela says the most fulfilling aspect of the experience is the learning process itself. “Even if you don't pursue a career in data science or in the field of the tech industry, this bootcamp can offer the experience of understanding how the data is being used in your daily lives, and using your existing knowledge to learn even more.”

While the ICT Boost Initiative is now full and no longer accepting applications to the fully funded program, Lighthouse Labs continues to make tech increasingly accessible by offering a range of funding options to help students finance their learning journey. Read about how you can finance your career transition to tech by downloading the Financial Guide here. Ready to launch your very own tech career? Take the first step and come to our next Data Info Session.

Fully Funded Reskilling opportunities offered as part of the ICT Boost Initiative. Funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Sectoral Workforce Solutions Program.

1 Lighthouse Labs 2022 Career Trajectory Report