From an early age, Joachim was interested in IT. So interested, in fact, that he started studying the field, until some personnel issues threw a spanner in the works. Two career paths later, the time had finally come to chase his dreams and pursue a career in AI. To do so, he registered for our AI bootcamp in Brussels and got selected. By now, he has almost finished the training and is ready for his next adventure. Curious about Joachim’s story? Then read the interview below.

Can you tell me a bit more about yourself?
“After finishing high school, I started with a bachelor degree in computer science. Once I obtained my bachelor degree, I tried obtaining a masters degree in the field. But due to some personal reasons, I wasn’t able to successfully complete my studies. I had to start working, but when I got a burn-out, I decided I needed a change and started working as a projectionist in a movie theater. Yet I always remained interested in IT, more specifically in artificial intelligence, but I didn’t do much about it. A couple of years later, I started looking around to pursue a career in the field and stumbled upon BeCode. I don’t exactly remember anymore how I found out about BeCode, but I liked what I saw and decided to enroll. I passed the selections and have by now almost finished my journey.”

What made you want to pursue a career as a data scientist at that point of your life?
“I was always interested in AI and followed some courses about the topic at university, but due to personal reasons, I couldn’t continue with my studies. BeCode seemed like a good opportunity to consolidate what I already knew and to learn lots of new things in a practical way, which isn’t possible at university. Between the time that I quit my studies and the time that I started my BeCode journey lots of things have changed in the field.”

“At some point, I regained interest in the field. I started reading articles and books and felt ready to pursue a career in the field. I could’ve tried to continue my university studies, but when I found out about BeCode, this seemed like the best way to go. I told myself ‘why not try this?’ and I’m really glad that I did.”

What convinced you to start a training at BeCode and not at a similar training center?
“Honestly, I was really pleased with the pedagogy.”

The end of the training is approaching, you only have one week left. What technical skills did you acquire during the training?
“A lot. I’ve learned how to analyze data, how to select a model, how to use lots of different libraries such as Tensorflow and Pytorch.”

“During this training you’ll learn how to master the basics, which is a great starting point, and you also get the freedom to dive into what you like best. One of my fellow students focused more on data analytics. I, on the other hand, was more interested in machine learning. You learn about a wide variety of topics and can choose what career you want to pursue.” 

Next to data exploration, modelization, visualization and machine learning. What other topics did you focus on during the training?
“AI is a very wide domain. I’m not an expert, but I can say that this training was a great starting point. In my free time I focused more on the topics that I was interested in. This way I could learn even more new things.” 

“Next to data analytics, we also focused on machine learning, and a subset of machine learning, deep learning. We dove into working with Linux, GitHub, Python, NLP, computer vision and scraping data. We also learned how to deploy a model by using web frameworks such as Docker and Heroku.”

What soft skills did you acquire during the training?
“I’ve learned how to speak in public, how to give presentations and how to work in teams. That last skill is the most important one to me. We always had to work in teams on our projects. Therefore we had to learn how to compromise. Things just don’t always go as you planned. But time management is also a really important skill. It’s not always easy to finish a project in time, but we did it anyway.”

If you had to describe AI to someone that doesn’t know what it is, how would you describe it?
“AI is a way to replicate human intelligence, rather than replacing it. It can be used to 

replicate human cognitive skills.”

During the training you’ve worked on several projects such as the mole detection project and the house mapping project. Which project was your favorite?
“I’d say, the use case that KPMG had given to us as it was a real-life project. The data that they provided us with wasn’t clean and therefore wasn’t ready to be fed to a model. Thus we struggled a bit with extracting the data that we wanted to use. This project showcased the difficulties that you can face when working as a data scientist. We also got three weeks to come up with a solution, which gave us some more time to dive into the different possibilities. It was a great experience.”

What’s according to you the added value of integrating such projects in our training? 
“These projects have taught me that I cannot always be a perfectionist. Seeing the time frame that you get to come up with a solution, it’s impossible to realize everything that you’ve in mind. You need to learn how to consess.”

“On the soft skills side, we each time had to present the final result to the client. Thereby these kinds of projects prepare you better for your career as a data science than when you would just work on simple exercises.”  

Our seven-month training is quite intensive and therefore asks for a lot of motivation. What part of the training was most difficult for you? 
“The pace of the training is really high. Sometimes I was wondering if I would be able to keep up. There was no specific part that was most difficult for me, it was more of an overall challenge. You really had to be motivated to be able to keep up.”

How did you stay motivated? 
“I like what I learned and it got confirmed to me that what I was learning is actually useful. If you keep your end goal in mind, you’ll get there.” 

Would you say that BeCode has changed your life? If so, in what ways?
“Of course. It reintroduced me to something that I loved, and this in a very fast way. Faster than I could’ve dreamed of.”

What are your plans for the future? 
“I plan to continue learning new things. I wouldn’t call myself an expert now. My goal is to be an expert in a subdomain of AI in a couple of years.”

What’s your favorite memory of the training? 
“When our learning experience was still taking place on site. Due to the current pandemic, everything is taking place remotely now. It’s great to see what we could achieve remotely, but I loved to socialize on campus with my fellow students. It’s great that we got this opportunity at the beginning of the training. This way we got to know each other a bit better before having to work together online.” 

How did you experience your online learning experience?
“We stayed in touch via Discord, Google Meets and other online tools. It’s not the same thing as working together in an actual classroom, but as our internships will also start remotely, it was a great exercise.”

If you have to describe BeCode in one word, which word would it be? 
“That’s difficult. It would be easier to describe BeCode in several words, but I’d say: learning to learn. We were not really taught material in dept. We were given keys to dive into the material ourselves, of course with the necessary support of the coaches and the other learners. We learned how to learn by ourselves.”

What piece of advice would you give to someone who is about to start our AI bootcamp?
“I want to warn them about the pace of the training. It’s quite intensive, so pay attention to not get lost in what you learn.”

Is there anything you would like to add? 
“I would like to thank my coaches as they have really helped me a lot during this journey.”

Are you interested in following the AI Bootcamp?

Amazing! – Register for our Antwerp training before July 22nd!