Neda Jabbari, Ph.D.: Academic To Data Scientist

“Interacting with other students in my cohort and instructors with different backgrounds was my favorite part of the bootcamp.”

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Neda Jabbari, Ph.D., spent more than a decade in academia building a data science skillset before transitioning into a private-sector biotech role. 

She shares her journey from academic to Data Scientist below. 

A Background in Academia

Neda Jabbari spent the first decade of her career in academia doing what academics do – namely, acquiring degrees and research experience. Accumulating a Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Ph.D. in Molecular Biology, Neda followed all that school up with three years as a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Systems Biology. 15 years in, however, she decided to transition into the private sector by way of Flatiron School.

“I built a career in data science [in academic],” Neda said. “After completing my postdoctoral research, I [wanted to join] the data science bootcamp to explore broader topics.”

Despite leaving academia behind, Neda brought her acquired scientist’s skillset with her and planned to put it to use. 

“I wanted to apply my skills in experimentation and problem-solving to broader tech.” 

Her Bootcamp Experience

Regarding her decision to join Flatiron School, Neda cites word-of-mouth and the program’s transparency as being primary drivers. 

“I had heard about the campus in New York and its reputation,” she explained. “I liked that it provided statistics on student success outcomes.” 

But, going from learning in years and semesters to days and weeks presented different challenges in approaching material. Where academia allows researchers to go deep into a single problem, the accelerated bootcamp experience demands that students learn a new skill and then move on to the next phase.

“It was a very compact program, as expected,” she recalled. “This made it challenging at times to fully explore the course material.”

Despite the expedited learning schedule, Neda, like many students, found support and camaraderie in her instructors and classmates.

“Interacting with other students in my cohort and instructors with different backgrounds was my favorite part [of the bootcamp].”

Working In Tech

Neda graduated from the Flatiron School Data Science program in October 2019, later accepting a Data Scientist position at Adaptive Biotechnologies Corp. Working in the private sector, she said, has been enjoyable. 

“I perform analytics and data pipeline development to support product and operations,” she explained when we spoke with her in March 2023. “I have always liked working with data and optimizing processes.”

Advice For Current Students

Neda’s advice for current Flatiron School Data Science students is two-pronged. The first is purely practical. 

“Track your code. Practice using Github.”

Her second bit of advice is more foundational to the career change journey, delivered in a numbered, methodical way that marks her as still being an academic at heart. 

“1. plan, 2. try, 3. look back at your progress, 4. evaluate and modify if needed, 5. repeat this cycle as many times as you need while enjoying the process and learning from others who made it work. You will get there.”

Ready To Dig Deeper Into Data, Just Like Neda Jabbari, Ph.D.?

Apply Now to join other students like Neda Jabbari, Ph.D. in a program that sets you apart from the competition. 

Not ready to apply? Try out our Free Data Science Prep Work and test-run the material we teach in the course. Or, review the Data Science Course Syllabus that will set you up for success and help launch your new career.

Read more stories about successful career changes on the Flatiron School blog.

Disclaimer: The information in this blog is current as of July 17, 2023. Current policies, offerings, procedures, and programs may differ.

About Anna Van Deusen

Anna Van Deusen is the Marketing Content Manager at Flatiron School. When not writing about tech and Flatiron School students, she can be found hanging out with her dogs on a beach…

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