From Aviation Engineering to Data Science, How Tetiana Found a Fresh Start in a New Career
Data science has emerged as a highly sought-after and rewarding career path. In today's fiercely competitive landscape, the importance of skilled data analysts and computer science and engineering professionals has skyrocketed as companies adapt to rising digital demands. With the increasing use of generative artificial intelligence (AI) in the workplace, companies have seen an increase in efficiency and profitability. In fact, the blend of technical skills and emotional intelligence may be the key to succeeding in data science.

No two people share the same career path. Some take a more conventional route, while others, like Tetiana Fesenko, find their calling the second or third time around. Tetiana faced a unique opportunity to reskill when the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 significantly impacted the hospitality industry. As a mother and newcomer to Canada, Tetiana’s journey is similar to many others who decided to switch careers following pandemic lay-offs.

Tetiana was accepted into the 12-week Data Science Bootcamp at Lighthouse Labs as part of the ICT Boost Initiative, an impact initiative led by Lighthouse Labs and 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 people from equity-deserving communities with the skills and training to launch their careers in tech. The Bootcamp allowed her to gain the skill set needed to enter the workforce. Lighthouse Labs’ Data Science Program teaches programming, statistics, and machine learning skills, while also emphasizing the importance of problem-solving and teamwork.

Before studying with Lighthouse Labs

“Before [the Bootcamp], I didn't really have a clear plan for myself for what exactly I wanted to do in tech. The program gave me an opportunity to have that clear view and gave me a very solid foundation.”

Tetiana always had a passion for tech, but it wasn’t until 2022 that she decided to make the leap. Coming from Ukraine, where she studied aviation engineering, she didn’t feel confident enough in her English abilities to make the switch right away after her move to Canada. She began working in marketing and eventually switched to the hospitality industry to work in project management for events.

When the pandemic struck in 2020, Tetiana was among 90% of workers who were laid off in the hospitality industry in Canada. The silver lining? Tetiana was finally able to pursue her dreams and break into the tech sector. She knew the soft skills she gained in her previous roles in engineering, hospitality, and project management would be useful in her data science journey. The transferable skills, such as time management, analytical thinking, and attention to detail, made the transition into tech more natural as she was able to leverage her experience to bridge the gap.

Overcoming obstacles: Tetiana’s inspiration to return to the classroom

“When I saw that [Lighthouse Labs] had a data science program, it just clicked because I knew right away that I had an opportunity to step [into tech], and spent [those] three months [focusing solely on my] education. I think it was just [the] perfect time.”

Data science has widely been considered an attractive career path, with the potential to discover new advancements, solve real-world problems, and empower decision-making in many fields and management positions. Because data is used in every sector, graduates can work across industries in consulting, tech, science, retail, manufacturing, healthcare, and beyond.

The average starting salary for Lighthouse Labs’ Data Science Program graduates is $60,780 based on the 2022 Student Outcomes Report. With senior data scientists, the median salary in Canada sits at around $160,4281.

Here are some of the jobs you can explore in the data field:

  • Data Scientist
  • Machine Learning Engineer
  • Data Engineer
  • Statistician
  • Data Architect
  • Data Analyst

Did you have any fears or doubts that you had to overcome during your transition into a data science tech career, and how did you cope with that?

“I wasn't sure if I [could] manage the [work] that I [had] from studying and [my] personal life…[but] I knew there were going to be other students that might face the same challenges…[and] Lighthouse Labs was super supportive in this sense because I've had some of the team members [checking in on me] all the time.”

“The team was just phenomenal. I must say everyone was so welcom[ing]. The mentors were so supportive and so kind…That's why I'm here sharing this experience with anyone who has any doubts. Yes, you can do it. Go for it.”

Despite concerns about the intensity of the bootcamp, Tetiana was welcomed by a warm and supportive environment at Lighthouse Labs that nurtured her along her learning journey. As the program picked up pace, she effortlessly elevated her skills, and the skills around data analysis that once seemed impossible became attainable through strong support systems, belief, and dedication.

In 12 to 30 weeks, Lighthouse Labs’ graduates acquire the training and skills necessary to embark on a successful tech career. With the help of instructors, supportive student success coordinators, knowledgeable mentors, and a dedicated Career Services team, students receive guidance throughout their entire journey. This includes interview and resume preparation with career services for life available after graduation.

At Lighthouse Labs, you don't need any previous coding experience or tech background to thrive as an aspiring data scientist. According to the 2022 Student Outcomes Report, 86% of our data science graduates secured relevant positions within the industry. And what's more, 81% landed a job within 180 days of actively searching for jobs.

Advice for those considering a career change

“I think we just need to challenge our brains all the time. It's like a machine. If you feed the data into the process all the time, it's [going to give better results]… Brace yourself for long hours of studying and doing projects. But I guess that was the most rewarding thing in the end. After having completed a [bootcamp], I feel like there's nothing you can be scared of.”

While the ICT Boost Initiative is now full and no longer accepting applications to the fully funded program, Lighthouse Labs continues to make tech a source of opportunity for all 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 in the Financial Guide here. Ready to launch your very own tech career? Take the first step and come to our next Data Science Info Session.

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

1 Based on data last updated on November 22, 2023.