Vincent, AI learner in Antwerp : “A couple of months ago, I would never have thought it’d be possible for me to achieve this, especially in such a short time.”

by Jun 7, 2021News

After studying in the sports sciences field, Vincent felt the need to acquire more digital skills. He had been curious about the worlds of development and data, so he decided to register for our AI bootcamp in Antwerp, which is organized in collaboration with Microsoft and KPMG. Are you curious to find out more about his story? Make sure to read his interview below!

Could you tell us about yourself?
“Before joining BeCode, I was looking for a job. I used to work as a waiter at Hard Rock Café until the first lockdown while completing my Masters’ degree in sports sciences. But I had been curious about programming for a little while. I had tried to get into the previous session of the AI Bootcamp, but wasn’t selected then.”
“It was all brand new to me : the universe of programming and IT. BeCode is challenging because it pushes you out of your comfort zone, but at the same time, you get to learn a lot when you are in a position in which you don’t know.”

What made you want to hop into the world of data science and not web development?
“As I said, I was very much into sports management, but also entrepreneurship and the very structure of a company. Last year, I wanted to join a company specialized in ERPs, but I lacked some programming knowledge for that. Since I was curious about automation systems, AI data science was what I needed!”

What made you want to join BeCode rather than another training center?
“I compared BeCode with other trainings. The price and the length of BeCode’s training were big advantages for me. I attended a couple of info sessions, and I could already feel a very good vibe. It’s important to feel good in a company, and I had that feeling with the BeCode team. I had the feeling that at BeCode, the coaches would really care about me succeeding in my career switch. Finally, I had kept in touch with someone who had gone through the first selections with me, except that he was selected, and he gave me very good feedback on BeCode.”

How far along are you in the training at the moment?
“We are in our fifth month of training. We will soon be done with the program, which means we’ll have a bit more than a month to really get ready for the internship, have interviews, etc.”

Can you tell us a bit about the technical skills that you already acquired at BeCode?
“We started by learning about the terminal and Git as it’s really what enables us to work on projects independently. Afterwards, we started learning Python, building functions and working with object-oriented programming, each time going a bit further with a project.”

“Then, we really started doing data science with other types of libraries, like Pandas, which led us to the machine learning part. We learned how to make predictions based on data, focusing on preprocessing and cleaning data so we can use it with a machine learning model and make predictions. We have also seen supervised and unsupervised machine learning (explaining everything to the model or letting the model explore the data by itself).”

“And finally, we’ve started learning about NLP (Natural Language Processing) and computer vision.” 

You mentioned the importance of soft skills at BeCode. Can you tell us about the soft skills you got to acquire or sharpen with us?
“We have tech talks, during which each person has to present a topic that they enjoy to the group. It’s an opportunity to learn how to make presentations, explain things so that everyone can understand concepts.”

“Working as a big group and family is also something important. When we’re having a hard time, there’s always someone to help you and cheer you up. It enables you to feel more confident, which is very important, especially in a fast-evolving sector.”

Could you tell us about the different types of projects you’ve worked on?
“There was a first project, in partnership with Codit, during which we got to work with sound anomalies, detecting and predicting them with our self-made Machine Learning model, and finally deploying it into an app.”

“It is an end-to-end approach where we have the chance to see and make a project from the start and until the very end. From Data cleaning and preprocessing, building a model, and deploying it so the client can access it and use it.”

“I like that we do projects in different sectors. The first one was in the sound engineering domain, the second one was with Delaware and focused on business and retail. Our goal was to find out the churn rate of the customers and further on to predict which customers would churn later during the year. For this second project, we for example had to learn how to translate very technical speech into things that a customer can understand. On the other hand, we also understood the importance of the business knowledge and expertise of the client that gave us great insights in their business and therefore allowed us to build a robust model and app.” 

Which of these two projects was your favorite, and why?
“I would say the second one, which was proposed by Delaware and focused on a strong business aspect. The effort we had to make to translate the client’s requests into the data, starting from a database that wasn’t perfect, was interesting.”

“I also liked the fact that by then, we had already acquired some experience so we could build on that.”

What tech- and soft-skills were the most important for you in this project?
“The preprocessing was a very important aspect. Another tech aspect was the use of Power BI, which was very interesting because it makes the use of datasets much more intuitive for us and the customer.”

Did you acquire new skills thanks to this project?
“Yes, Power BI for sure. In terms of soft skills, I would mention the interaction with colleagues with the use of Github. Not everything was perfect, but we found a good tempo and ways to better communicate, especially when the deadlines were sharp. It was a tough project but we managed to keep our objective in mind.”

According to you, what is the added value of working on that type of project as part of the AI bootcamp?
“It’s possible to learn without such projects, for instance by working on small games. But then, you don’t get to be in touch with the client, which means that when you’ll start working, you will not have any experience. It’s not only about the technical part. With such projects, you learn to work as a team, how to coordinate, how to exchange your vision. They put you in a situation that is similar to working in a company.” 

Would you say that BeCode is changing your life?
“Absolutely. Going from sports management to data science is a big switch for me. I see a big difference in me as far as soft skills are concerned too : I feel much more confident thanks to the group and the coaches. A couple of months ago, I would never have thought it’d be possible for me to achieve this, especially in such a short time.”

If you had to describe BeCode in one word, what would it be?
“I would say : family. The atmosphere we have in our group is very much like a family. It’s never perfect, but it’s your family, and it’s okay. You can be yourself.”

What are your plans for after the training?
“At the moment I’m looking for an internship. I’d be interested in hopping into the business intelligence world or in diving even deeper into a specific technology such as Computer Vision..”

What piece of advice would you give to someone who is about to start the AI bootcamp?
“I would say : enjoy! It can be overwhelming at some moments, but every day you learn new things that you didn’t know the day before.”

Like Vincent, you can change your life by joining BeCode Antwerp. We organize a new AI training with Microsoft and KPMG that will start this summer! Register before July 22nd.

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