Tim Lee: From Finance to Data Science

With data rapidly growing in importance, the demand for skilled professionals to unlock its potential is soaring. Tim Lee exemplifies this perfectly. While Tim gained years of valuable experience as a Project Manager implementing banking software, he craved a more hands-on, creative role. This desire, combined with the rise of Data Science, led him to Flatiron School. In this blog, Tim shares his inspiring journey, detailing the challenges and triumphs that shaped his successful career shift into data science.

Before Flatiron: What were you doing and why did you decide to switch gears?

“I was working at one of the Big Four banks as a project manager, helping guide the creation of banking software,” Tim explains. “But I wasn’t getting as hands-on as I would like. A large portion of my job was filled with meetings and paperwork. It just didn’t scratch the itch to create.”

At the same time, the world of data science was just beginning to take off. Tim was fascinated by its potential to unlock insights from the ever-growing mountain of data. “The world was generating more and more data, too much for anyone to reasonably process using traditional techniques,” he says. “And along came novel ways of wrangling these huge datasets and transforming them into insights, ideas, and knowledge.” Recognizing this shift, Tim knew he needed to learn more skills to thrive in this new data-driven landscape.

During Flatiron: What surprised you most about yourself and the learning process during your time at Flatiron School?

Enrolling in Flatiron’s February 2020 Data Science bootcamp, Tim was eager to immerse himself in the learning environment. “I lived a few blocks from the downtown Manhattan campus,” he recalls. However, the global pandemic intervened, forcing the program to transition to remote learning just weeks after it began.

While many might find such a sudden shift disruptive, Tim turned it into an opportunity for deep focus. “The entire world was trapped indoors,” he says. “With nothing else to do, I studied the material. I reviewed the lessons. I practiced coding. I took notes (which I still consult sometimes today).”  This dedication turned out to be a defining factor in Tim’s success.

Tim’s final project at Flatiron exemplifies his passion and drive. “I coded an idea that I had even before enrolling in Flatiron,” he reveals. This project, called Moviegoer, aimed to teach computers how to “watch” movies and understand the emotional content within them. “I wrote the algorithm that partitions movies into individual scenes – this algorithm is still being used in Moviegoer today,” Tim says with pride.

After Flatiron: What are you most proud of in your new tech career?

Tim has successfully transitioned back into the finance sector working in Credit Analytics for Pretium Partners, but this time on his own terms. “I returned to the finance sector at a much smaller firm, a hedge fund, where I build quantitative software,” he explains. “I am significantly more hands-on: I know the software I want to make, and I build it.”

While his day job fulfills his creative needs, Tim hasn’t forgotten about Moviegoer. “Aside from that, I’m still working on Moviegoer,” he says. The project continues to evolve, and Tim highlights the progress he’s made: “Imagine the progress when working on something for three years straight!”

Moviegoer: A Passion Project with Real-World Implications

Moviegoer’s purpose is to equip computers with the ability to understand human emotion by feeding them a vast dataset of movies. “Cinema contains an enormous amount of emotional data, waiting to be unlocked,” Tim argues. “They’re a document of how we have conversations, how we live, and how we interact with one another.”  By analyzing movies, Moviegoer can create a comprehensive library of human behavior, providing invaluable data for training AI systems.

Tim’s dedication to Moviegoer underscores his commitment to innovation and his belief in the power of data science to make a positive impact. “Today, the world is alight with buzz about artificial intelligence,” he says. “I’m glad I learned the skills I needed to make this project and got a head-start on its creation – it’s more relevant than ever.”

To get a deeper understanding of Moviegoer’s capabilities, check out these resources:


Tim’s story is a testament to the transformative power of Flatiron School. By providing a rigorous curriculum and a supportive learning environment, Flatiron empowers individuals like Tim Lee to develop the skills and confidence to pursue their passions in the tech industry. Tim’s journey from project manager to data scientist building emotional AI is an inspiring example of what’s possible when ambition meets opportunity.

Inspired By Tim’s Story? Ready to take charge of your future? Apply Now to join other career changers like Tim Lee in a program that sets you apart from the competition.

Courtney Pimentel: Sales Associate to IT

Courtney Pimentel‘s story is one of ambition and transformation. Like many aspiring tech professionals, Courtney found herself drawn to the ever-evolving world of technology and its endless possibilities for growth. “[I wanted] to be a part of that environment,” Courtney says, reflecting on her decision to transition from a career as a Sales Associate at Nike to a challenging and rewarding path in cybersecurity engineering.

Before Flatiron: What were you doing and why did you decide to switch gears?

Courtney’s interest in tech wasn’t entirely new. Already equipped with a foundational knowledge of cybersecurity fundamentals and Linux, she possessed a strong base to build upon. Recognizing the tech industry’s potential for innovation and advancement, Courtney made the bold decision to pursue a career change. “[I saw] the potential for growth,” she explains, highlighting the allure of a field constantly pushing boundaries.

However, transitioning into tech can be daunting. With the ever-growing demand for skilled cybersecurity professionals, it’s crucial to have the proper guidance and support. This is where Flatiron School entered Courtney’s journey. As a scholarship recipient for the Women Take Tech program, Courtney found the perfect environment to cultivate her technical skills and gain the confidence to thrive in the tech industry.

During Flatiron: What surprised you most about yourself and the learning process during your time at Flatiron School?

Flatiron School’s immersive bootcamp proved to be a turning point for Courtney. “The most surprising thing about my time at Flatiron was discovering how much I could learn and grow in such a short amount of time,” she reflects. The curriculum’s intensity pushed Courtney in unexpected ways, but she rose to the challenge, exceeding her own expectations. “The learning process challenged me in ways I never expected,” she admits, “and I was amazed at how quickly I was able to pick up new skills and concepts.”

Flatiron School fosters a culture of continuous learning, and Courtney thrived in this environment. The fast-paced nature of the program not only equipped her with technical expertise but also instilled a sense of perseverance and adaptability – valuable assets in any tech career.

After Flatiron: What are you most proud of in your new tech career?

Today, Courtney is a testament to the transformative power of Flatiron School’s education and career services support. Together with her Career Coach, Andrea Towe, Courtney was able to execute an effective job search strategy to make her dreams a reality. 

Having landed a fulfilling job as an IT Assistant with The Quad Preparatory School in New York, she’s actively contributing her skills and insights to add value. “I’m most proud of working on big projects that deal with automation and different systems in the IT world,” she beams.

Courtney’s exposure to new technologies and concepts at Flatiron School ignited a desire for continuous learning. “The opportunities feel endless!” she exclaims, highlighting the vast potential for growth in her chosen field. This experience has solidified her decision to pursue a career in tech, and she’s eager to explore the ever-evolving landscape of cybersecurity.

Courtney’s journey is an inspiration to anyone considering a career change in tech. It exemplifies the power of dedication, a thirst for knowledge, and the transformative environment offered by Flatiron School.

Inspired By Courtney’s Story? Ready to take charge of your future?

Apply Now to join other career changers like Courtney in a program that sets you apart from the competition. Flatiron School offers an immersive bootcamp designed to equip you with the skills and knowledge you need to thrive in the tech industry. Read more stories about successful career changes on the Flatiron School blog and see if a tech career is right for you.

FDM: Driving Diversity Around the World

FDM is a global consultancy that has been powering the people behind tech and innovation for over 30 years. Founded in 1990, the British multinational company is headquartered in the UK, but has a worldwide reach with 18 centres across Europe, North America, and Asia-Pacific. With 5000+ employees across the globe, diversity is built into the company’s makeup. 

In 2024, FDM has partnered with Flatiron School’s Lovelace and Ford fellowship programs, to build a more diverse tech industry. 

The FDM Career Development Program

FDM’s Career Development Program accelerates a candidate’s professional development and launches their tech careers across various sectors including banking, finance, insurance, and retail.

 To source prospective talent for the Career Development Program, FDM looks to recent graduates from universities, technical schools, and bootcamps – ambitious, practiced learners that are ready to adapt to a company’s unique stack. FDM has already hired 45 Flatiron School graduates since 2019, and the company is eager for more to join its ranks.

“We have a genuine appreciation for hiring Flatiron School graduates because of their diverse backgrounds and experiences, enriching our workforce with unique perspectives and skills,” Steve Fielding, Director of Recruitment in North America says. “Flatiron School’s proactive approach to student preparation ensures that their graduates are well-equipped to excel in this dynamic industry and makes them valuable assets to our team from day one.”

Measuring FDM’s Impact

FDM’s workforce includes 90+ nationalities. 32% of FDM’s employees identify as female, 8% are veterans, 25% identify as Asian, 15% identify as Black or African American, and 12% identify as Hispanic or Latino. As anyone keeping up with current tech diversity statistics is well aware, these numbers are incredibly impressive, and more representative of the population the industry serves as a whole. 

“At FDM Group, our commitment to diversity in tech is deeply ingrained in our company culture,” Fielding said. “Diversity fuels innovation and drives success, which is why we strive for inclusivity at every level of our organization. With over 90 nationalities shaping our vibrant workforce, we believe in the importance of embracing different perspectives and experiences.”

This dedication to diversity permeates the day-to-day operations of the organization.

“We provide comprehensive coaching and support to empower individuals from all backgrounds to launch successful careers in technology and innovation,” Fielding says. “We are proud to champion equality in our hiring and development programs, creating a workplace where everyone has the chance to reach their full potential.”

Lovelace and Ford Fellows from Flatiron School will play a part in FDM’s diversity goals going forward. The company is committed to interviewing at least 15 fellows in 2024. What’s assured, is that – should a Flatiron School fellow find themselves among the FDM ranks – they’ll be accepted just as they are. 

Invest In Your Career With FDM

For more information on FDM’s Career Development Program, visit their website.  

To learn more about the Lovelace and Ford Flatiron School fellowships and how they can support the beginning of your tech career, visit the Diversity & Inclusion page.

Troy Hendrickson: From Sales to Stats Auditor for the NBA

Driven by a passion for sports and a desire to leverage data for deeper insights, Troy Hendrickson attended Flatiron School’s Data Science bootcamp in the hopes of joining his dream industry – professional sports. Read his inspiring story of transformation from coach and salesperson to Stats Auditor at the National Basketball Association (NBA)!

Before Flatiron: What were you doing and why did you decide to switch gears?

Troy’s background in sports management and sales success hinted at his potential in the data-driven world of sports analytics. However, the lack of technical skills held him back from his dream career. “I knew data science could one day lead me to work for a sports franchise,” he says, “and sales wasn’t my passion.”

During Flatiron: What surprised you most about yourself and the learning process during your time at Flatiron School?

Flatiron wasn’t just about learning new skills; it was about self-discovery. “I surprised myself with how much I enjoyed the learning process,” Troy admits. The supportive community and emphasis on practical application fueled his drive. “Flatiron’s values aligned perfectly with mine,” he says, highlighting the school’s focus on grit and a growth mindset.

After Flatiron: What are you most proud of in your new tech career?

After 277 days of dedicated job search, Troy landed his dream role at the NBA. His journey wasn’t without challenges. “Initially, I applied too often,” he reflects. But by strategically leveraging his network and continuously learning, he landed interviews and impressed hiring managers with his data-driven insights and passion for sports. “My NBA Prediction Capstone project was a clincher,” he reveals, showcasing the power of project-based learning at Flatiron.

Inspired by Troy’s story?

Flatiron School can equip you with the skills and confidence to pursue your tech dreams, no matter your background. Join a supportive community of learners and experienced instructors, and step outside your comfort zone like Troy. The future of tech awaits you!

Ready to take charge of your future? Apply Now to join other career changers like Troy in a program that sets you apart from the competition. Read more stories about successful career changes on the Flatiron School blog.

Neurodiversity: A Hidden Asset in the Tech Industry

The tech industry thrives on innovation, creativity, and out-of-the-box thinking. These are precisely the qualities that a significant portion of the population possesses, though as a whole they are often overlooked and misunderstood: neurodivergent individuals. While distinct in their individual experiences, these individuals share valuable traits that can – and have – propel the tech industry forward.

Times are changing though, and there are more companies each year championing neurodivergent individuals in tech – companies like Specialisterne that are committed to tapping into the talents of neurodivergent professionals and supporting businesses to hire people who think and communicate differently.

More Than a Label: Understanding Neurodiversity

An estimated 15-20% of the population is considered neurodivergent, defined by variations in brain function and information processing. Neurodiversity includes both neurotypical conditions and neurodivergent conditions, the latter displaying a range of conditions from dyslexia, anxiety, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and autism.

Neurodiversity challenges the notion of “typical,” emphasizing the richness and diversity of the human experience and that different neurological configurations bring unique strengths and perspectives. 

“Every neurodivergent person is unique and brings unique strengths to their workplace. Some common strengths that neurodivergent people may bring to a technical role include creativity, flexibility, and outside-the-box thinking,” Gillian Forth, Workplace Support Manager with Specialisterne says. “They may have strong observational skills and attention to detail, the ability to stay focused for long periods of time, an excellent ability to recognize patterns, and excellent math skills.”

Thinking Outside the Binary

While every individual is different, neurodivergent tech professionals offer a distinct set of skills highly relevant to careers in the field.

Diverse Perspectives

The diverse thinking patterns associated with neurodivergence can lead to innovative solutions and approaches to challenges that neurotypical individuals might overlook. Neurodivergent professionals conceptualize problems differently, challenge assumptions that are taken for granted, and often come up with unconventional yet groundbreaking solutions that aren’t readily apparent.

“A neurodiverse workplace that includes neurodivergent people and neurotypical people is beneficial for everyone,” Forth says, “as it invites different perspectives and ways of approaching the work.”

Creativity and Innovation

Many neurodivergent individuals possess exceptional creativity. Their ability to think outside the box is invaluable in developing cutting-edge technology, designing user-friendly interfaces, and finding creative solutions to complex problems. This imaginative spark can be seen in groundbreaking inventions, elegant code, and captivating user experiences. 

What’s more, these individuals often challenge established conventions and – in environments where they feel supported and are encouraged to take risks – can produce incredibly innovative new solutions to sticky challenges. 

Attention to Detail

A hallmark of many neurodivergent individuals is meticulous attention to detail and the ability to hyperfocus on interesting tasks. 

“Every neurodivergent person is different,”  Louis Casanave (he/him), a neurodivergent Flatiron grad working as a Data Analyst with Molina Healthcare says, “but the biggest strength I see in our community is our special interests – our passions. That one thing we can be endlessly curious about.”

Should a neurodivergent individual’s special interest overlap with their work, it becomes a perfect match for roles requiring precision and extended focus, like software development, data analysis, and quality assurance. This keen eye ensures quality, catches minute errors, and safeguards against safety vulnerabilities.

Dedication and Loyalty

Finally, neurodivergent individuals often demonstrate high levels of dedication and loyalty. When placed in supportive environments that embrace their unique needs and strengths, they become highly committed and productive team members. In fact, increased inclusivity and support in recent years are making tech a place that neurodivergent individuals want to be. 

A neurodivergent individual’s passion for their work shines through in their meticulousness, innovative thinking, and unwavering commitment to excellence.

Bridging the Gap To Build an Inclusive Industry

Despite these inherent strengths, misconceptions about neurodivergent individuals persist. These often stem from a lack of understanding and awareness, leading to biases and discriminatory practices in recruitment and workplace interactions. Fortunately, organizations can bridge this gap by implementing inclusive practices.

Culture Monkey, an HR company championing inclusive workplaces, suggests various strategies to combat harmful stereotypes. These include awareness training for employees, neurodiversity hiring programs, and fostering flexible work arrangements that cater to individual needs.

Companies like Specialisterne are also advocating for hiring practices that foster neuro-diverse workplaces. “Utilizing a more skills-based approach versus education or years of experience when considering neurodivergent candidates for your tech roles is always great,” Amber Skinner (she/her), a neurodivergent Inclusion Specialist with Specialisterne says. “Providing flexibility in work schedule as well as work location is always beneficial so things like offering remote or hybrid options.”

By providing inclusive environments and celebrating neurodiversity, the tech industry can unlock a vast pool of talent and reap the benefits of unique perspectives and valuable skills. From innovative solutions to exceptional detail-oriented work, neurodivergent individuals represent a hidden asset waiting to be fully recognized and empowered. Embracing neurodiversity is not just the right thing to do, it’s a strategic move that can propel the tech industry to even greater heights.

The Neurodivergent Path To Tech

If you’re a neurodivergent individual hoping to land a role in tech, we encourage you to connect with available resources and organizations like Specialisterne to support you along your journey. While the path for neurodivergent individuals in tech is still being paved, taking advantage of companies there to champion your success will shorten the path to where you want to be – thriving in a neuro-inclusive environment in tech. 

“Neurodivergent people should consider a career in tech because it gives us a way to meet our needs,” Sascha Kala (she/they), a neurodivergent Flatiron grad working as an Infrastructure Engineer with Spreedly says. “As tech increasingly becomes an inclusive space, it affords us to take care of ourselves financially.” 

If you need to acquire some new (or additional) technical skills before making the jump to tech, explore our free courses to dip your toe into the material and test-drive the info that’s covered in Flatiron School courses. 

Cognixia: JUMP-Starting Diversity In Tech

Cognixia is a training and staffing company that specializes in digital-first talent. Owned by parent company Ascendion and headquartered in Basking Ridge, NJ, the company’s global reach spans more than 55 countries and 175,000+ tech professionals, including more than 10 Flatiron School grads since 2021. With a worldwide workforce, diversity is built into the company’s DNA. But they’re not done; in 2024, Cognixia intends to continue cultivating diversity in tech. 

In partnership with Flatiron School’s Lovelace and Ford fellowship programs, Cognixia is committed to building a more diverse tech industry – one jump at a time. 

JUMP by Cognixia

The JUMP Program is Cognixia’s answer to the tech talent gap that companies across the world face – technical job openings with not enough qualified talent to fill them. JUMP is a talent pipeline that hires, trains, and deploys technical talent to work at leading companies as consultants. Talent arrives ready to work and already fully trained in the destination company’s tech stack, effectively reducing onboarding time to near zero.  

“We provide companies a customized workforce solution,” Sydney Morris, Senior Talent Development Expert, said, “while taking on the upfront costs and risks associated with traditional entry-level hiring.”

To source prospective talent for the JUMP program, Cognixia looks to recent graduates from technical schools and bootcamps – ambitious, practiced learners, and – most importantly – digital-first. A handful of Flatiron School graduates have already completed the JUMP program, and Cognixia is eager for more to join its ranks. 

“We love bringing in Flatiron grads because they come prepared with top-notch foundational knowledge,” Morris explained. “Not only are they tech-savvy with unique hands-on learning experiences, but these students are super passionate with a sense of urgency to learn along with great communication skills.”

Driving Diversity With Flatiron Fellows

With a global network of more than 175,000 professionals, Cognixia’s methods are making waves. In fact, JUMP trainees are regularly placed at desks in Fortune 500 headquarters. But, according to Samantha McKoy, also a Talent Development Expert, Cognixia is just getting started. In 2024, the company plans to double down on its commitment to diversity. 

“55% of our candidates come from a diverse background, and we recognize how essential diversity is for cultivating innovation, enhancing the learning experience, and preparing individuals for real-world challenges in the tech industry,” McKoy said. “We’re continuously evaluating and improving to ensure that our program not only produces skilled professionals but also reflects the diverse perspectives and backgrounds crucial for a thriving and inclusive technical team.”

Lovelace and Ford Fellows from Flatiron School will play a part in Cognixia’s diversity goals. The company is committed to hiring 30-50 fellows in 2024. 

“Our partnership with Flatiron is extremely valuable because of the amazing quality of their students and the entire internal team that we work with,” Morris commented. “Their grads are ready to hit the ground running when joining our classes and working with our clients.”

Ready To JUMP Ahead?

For more information on Cognixia’s JUMP Program, visit their website.  

To learn more about the Lovelace and Ford Flatiron School fellowships and how they can support the beginning of your tech career, visit the Diversity & Inclusion page.

Flatiron School Relaunches Lovelace and Ford Fellowships

There’s no getting around it – tech is a fairly homogenous industry, with women and marginalized groups underrepresented in the field. What’s more, reports show that women are leaving tech, and the tech sector overall still employs fewer people of color than other sectors of the economy.  

But we can imagine a world where the tech industry is more representative of the population it serves; where people from all walks of life are welcomed and championed to succeed. The industry is making strides toward greater inclusion, and here at Flatiron School, we are committed to doing our part. 

“Some of the most ubiquitous products and innovations have been created by people with the technical skills we teach,” Jessica Solimano, VP of Shared Services at Flatiron School said regarding the relaunch. “When the pool of people with those skills becomes more diverse, the communities these products serve – including how they’re built and who they’re built for – expands.”

As 2024 kicks off, Flatiron School is thrilled to announce the relaunching of our fellowships. Flatiron Fellowship programs celebrate and empower historically underrepresented individuals in the tech community along their journey toward professional success, and provide exclusive access to fellowship-related opportunities.

Lovelace Fellowship

The Lovelace Fellowship – launching for the first time in 2024 – celebrates current students and graduates who identify as women. The fellowship is named after Ada Lovelace, recognized as the world’s first computer programmer for her pioneering work on Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine and her development of the first computer program.

Ford Fellowship

Also relaunching this year is the Ford fellowship, which celebrates students and graduates who are Black, American Indian, Alaska Native, Asian, Pacific Islander, Hispanic or mixed race. This fellowship is named after John Stanley Ford who was the first African American to work as a computer scientist, making significant contributions to the field while working at IBM.

Who Is Eligible For The Fellowships?

Both current Flatiron School students and Flatiron School alumni are eligible to become Lovelace or Ford fellows. Participation in the programs is voluntary, and members may self-enroll themselves at any time.

Fellow-Only Benefits

Flatiron Fellowships have a single purpose – championing the progress of underrepresented minorities in tech. To achieve this, Flatiron School is dedicated to offering monthly opportunities for fellows to make connections, enhance their skills, secure opportunities, and progress in their careers. 

Exclusive, fellow-only benefits include:

  • Networking opportunities
  • Guest Speakers from our network of employer partners 
  • Skill development workshops 

Fellowship Partners

Several of our employer partners have already voiced their own support of a more diverse tech industry by committing to source, interview, and/or hire Fellows, or host custom workshops for our Fellows. Their ranks include: Cognixia, Brooksource, Accenture, FDM Group, and R/GA.

Introducing Recent Flatiron Fellows

Alyssa Essman

Alyssa Essman

Lovelace Fellow

Arantxa Abraham

Arantxa Abraham

Ford & Lovelace Fellow

Danayt Aman

Danayt Aman

Ford & Lovelace Fellow

Göknur Kaya

Goknur Kaya

Ford & Lovelace Fellow

Kacey Clougher

Kacey Clougher

Lovelace Fellow

Kari Primiano

Kari Primiano

Lovelace Fellow

Kat Tannehill

Kat Tannehill

Lovelace Fellow

Kate Bennert

Kate Bennert

Lovelace Fellow

Kendall McNeil

Kendall McNeil

Lovelace Fellow

Laura Graham

Laura Graham

Lovelace Fellow

Minchul An

Minchul An

Ford Fellow

Mytreyi Abburu

Mytreyi Abburu

Ford & Lovelace Fellow

Promise Mbachu

Promise Mbachu

Ford Fellow

Rae Stanton

Rae Stanton

Lovelace Fellow

Staci Rosales

Staci Rosales

Lovelace Fellow

Stephanie Conde

Stephanie Conde

Ford & Lovelace Fellow

Let’s Change Tech Together

Flatiron School is committed to fostering greater diversity, equity, and inclusion in tech, one student at a time. While we still have a long way to go, together we can work towards changing tech for the better.

Jasmine Huang: Business to Data Science

Jasmine Huang, a February 2023 Data Science graduate, spent the first decade of her career working in customer-facing roles. After attending Flatiron School, she’s finally working with what she loves – numbers and data!


Jasmine Huang’s career began in business – first earning an MBA in finance and risk management, and then working in banking, real estate, and international purchasing. Despite the technical aspects of the industries, her positions were heavily customer-facing.

“Everything I did in the past was sales and customer relationship-focused,” she said, “and I was burnt out from handling people’s problems.” 

After 12 years in similar positions, she decided to follow an interest in numbers to a new career path in Data Science. 

“I always thought I could enjoy working with data and numbers since I have always been very good with Excel,” she explained. “I wanted to enhance my analytical ability.”

Flatiron School Experience

Switching careers as a full-time working mom wouldn’t be easy though – a fact Jasmine was well aware of. The time constraints of family and employment led her to an accelerated bootcamp program, designed to expedite career changes.  

“I’m a mom of a 6-year-old boy so I don’t have much free time for myself,” she said. “Joining a bootcamp for 4 months as a full-time student was the longest I could manage. If the program lasted longer than 4 months, I don’t think I could have made it work.” 

With her eyes set on graduating in 4 months, Jasmine joined Flatiron School’s Data Science Live program. In the accelerated Live course, students attend class full-time to be ready to apply to industry roles in just 15 weeks. Like most learners, transitioning into the fast-paced program initially led to some growing pains for Jasmine. 

“Learning so much in a very short time was hard,” Jasmine admitted, “but I loved everything in the program. The projects especially were realistic and useful.”

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After completing the program in February 2023, Jasmine jumped directly into the job search – supported by her dedicated Flatiron School Career Coach.

“Job searching was definitely harder than the bootcamp,” she recalled. “It’s a full-time job to look for a job! My career coach was awesome and always there when I needed advice or interview practice. They helped me stay on track.”

A few weeks later, Jasmine landed her first position in data science as an Actuarial Data Analyst at Verus Specialty Insurance, an underwriting management company. 

Working In The Field

Coming up on 9 months in her new profession, Jasmine only has good things to report.

“I love my job as an Actuarial Data Analyst, it’s exactly what I dreamed of.”

She’s also had the opportunity to leverage her previous experience in her new career.

“With my background in Insurance and the new skills learned in the bootcamp, I made a project to provide a solution to solve a real business problem from a unique point of view.”

Reflecting On Her Journey

Looking back on her career path so far, Jasmine’s main takeaway is the importance of using the tools at one’s disposal to problem solve.

“The bootcamp taught me how to find answers on my own,” she said. “Knowing how to google and what to look for is the key to success!”

As for her advice to current Flatiron students, Jasmine recommends leaning on available resources during the job search. 

“Graduating from the bootcamp is easier than you think. The hard part is to find a job you like. If you follow Flatiron’s instructions and guidance and work hard, you will definitely find a job close enough to your dream job. It will all be worth it!”

Ready For A Change, Just Like Jasmine Huang?

Apply Now to join other career changers like Jasmine in a program that sets you apart from the competition. 

Need more time to be 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.

Milena Afeworki: Civil Engineering to Data Science

Milena Afeworki, a September 2021 Data Science graduate from Flatiron School, began her career as a civil engineer in Northeast Africa. Now, she is living in California and thriving as a Data Scientist.


Milena Afeworki began her career in Eritrea, a country in the Northeast of Africa on the coast of the Red Sea. She earned a Civil Engineering degree from the Eritrean Institute of Technology, joining a consulting and engineering firm after graduation where she explored her interest in mathematics and data visualization. 

“I began as a Structural Civil Engineer, working on Infrastructure design projects in various sectors, including public, and NGO initiatives,” she explained. “I was passionate about solving problems using mathematical analysis, design, and visualization which was my main reason for choosing the field in the first place.” 

But, 5 years and a move to the USA later, she saw just how big an impact data could have on the world – and she wanted to be a part of it. 

“After moving to the US my network grew, I learned more and was captured by the beauty of how much data was behind the projects being launched,” she said. “I wanted to be part of the bigger determining factor that drives the decisions of projects that are set in motion.” 

Though many would consider Civil Engineering and Data Science completely unrelated, Milena says there is a thread of logic that weaves the disciplines together.

“There is a lot of similarity between the two fields. Both aim to solve engineering problems by optimizing processes and resources,” she explained. “Moreover, resolving intricate engineering problems and presenting the outcomes through impactful visualizations to offer valuable insights to guide business strategies interested me more.” 

Bootcamp Experience

Despite the similarity of logic used in both the fields of engineering and data science, the tools used differed significantly. Making the transition between fields would require Milena to expand her skill set to include Python, Statistical Analysis, Machine Learning, and Deep Learning. To expedite her learning process, she turned to a Data Science bootcamp – specifically, to Flatiron School.

“Flatiron School was first my choice because of its reputable Data Science program and structured career coaching,” she recalled. “I wanted to gain hands-on skills and practical experience in designing and building data science projects applying Machine learning tools. The program’s curriculum, which covered relevant tools, languages, and frameworks, aligned with my career goals.”

With her goals set, Milena enrolled in Flatiron School’s Data Science Live program. A full-time, immersive course designed to teach students the data science fundamentals they need to enter the industry, the program moves quickly over 15 weeks of instruction. Milena remembers initially struggling with the accelerated pace of learning. 

“Understanding the intricacies of data science in a fast-paced learning environment [was challenging]. Handling large volumes of data efficiently and effectively required a deep understanding of various tools and techniques,” she explained. “Given the program’s demanding nature, I occasionally encountered frustration when confronted with obstacles, but such moments ultimately pushed me to persistently seek solutions.”

Unsurprisingly, Milena’s favorite part of the program was what drew her to the field initially – seeing, and being part of, projects with impact. 

“My favorite part of the program was working on real-world assignments. These projects simulated the challenges that Data Scientists face in the industry, allowing me to apply the concepts I learned, incorporating my previous experience and enhancing my problem-solving skills.” 

Job Search

Milena graduated in September 2021 and began the job search, supported by her dedicated Flatiron School Career Coach. 

“My career coach played a crucial role in providing guidance on crafting my resume, preparing for interviews, and expanding my network,” she recalled. “I owe my interviewing skills and networking skills to my coach, without whom it would have been difficult.”

Ultimately, Milena accepted a Data Integration Engineer position, which she thanks her Career Coach for helping her land. 

“Her professional insights and emotional support helped me navigate the competitive job market and ultimately secure my first Data Engineering role.” 

Working In The Field

When we spoke with Milena, she’d been working at her company for 1.5 years and had received a promotion to Data Analyst. Her experiences in the field, she said, have been exactly what she hoped for. 

“Working in the field of data engineering has been an incredibly rewarding experience for me. The opportunity to work with cutting-edge tools and technologies to solve complex data challenges is fulfilling and aligns well with my passion for creating efficient data solutions,” she explained. “Overall, I’m thoroughly enjoying my journey as a data engineer, and I’m excited to see where my career leads.”

She is also particularly proud of a project she worked on that tied back to her original career in civil engineering, examined through the lens of data science. 

“I designed and implemented a Classification Model on the Structural condition of Bridges in the US, using climate data from NASA and bridge records from the Department of Transportation. The purpose of the project was intended for the bridge management system to be capable of accurately predicting future bridge conditions and help make an informed decision on when and where to allocate maintenance budgets.”

Visit Milena’s LinkedIn page to see what else she’s up to. 

Reflecting On Her Journey

Looking back on where she began, a career and a continent ago, Milena credits her adaptability for her success in pivoting professions by way of a bootcamp. 

“The most significant lesson I gained from my time at Flatiron School was developing the skill to thrive in uncertain and ambiguous scenarios,” she said. “I’ve come to view these situations as valuable opportunities for me to inquire, observe, learn, and embrace mistakes, all of which contributed to my growth beyond my initial capabilities.”

But, remembering the challenges she experienced at the beginning of her program, she recommends that future students just keep moving forward and working at the material, even if it feels impossible at first.

“Expect a learning curve where immediate progress might not be apparent. But keep persisting, and once those skills take root, you’ll be amazed by how far you’ve come.”

Ready To Dig Deeper Into Data, Just Like Milena Afeworki?

Apply Now to join other students like Milena Afeworki 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.

Tony Khawaja-Lopez: MMA Coach to Cybersecurity

Tony Khawaja-Lopez, a November 2022 Cybersecurity Engineering graduate from Flatiron School, initially began his career in tech before spending several years in martial arts and the service industry. It took an injury to inspire him to come full circle to where he began – tech.


Tony initially graduated with a degree in Computer Science. Post-graduation he was employed in the tech industry for a few years before switching to working as an MMA Coach and Stackbucks Supervisor. But, he says that an injury made him reconsider his current career path. 

“When I got injured, my wife [had just been] accepted to a Ph.D. program in Boston,” he explained. “Ultimately, I [wanted to change careers] for a better lifestyle and a field that was more mentally stimulating.”

While considering his next step, he found that he didn’t have to go far. In fact, he went full circle back to where he began – tech. 

“I have been a techie most of my life and Cybersecurity has always been interesting to me. I had been thinking about the field a lot, and after [my injury] I decided to take the plunge,” he said. “Cybersecurity seemed like work with importance and it was just the coolest thing I could think of.”

Bootcamp Experience

Transitioning into a new field, however, would require an expanded skill set. Eventually, Tony learned of Flatiron School’s Cybersecurity program through referrals from previous graduates. 

“I did some market research and spoke with a few friends who all knew someone who had gone to Flatiron,” he said. “After my own friend signed up, I decided I would too.” 

Tony enrolled in Flatiron School’s Cybersecurity Engineering Flex program, an online, part-time program designed for busy people. The format enables students to continue to work or fulfill other responsibilities while pursuing their education – a delicate balance that Tony admits was difficult to strike at first. 

“I worked throughout the whole program,” he explained. “So, time management and goalkeeping [were challenging].” 

Despite the challenges he faced adjusting to the coursework, Tony reported that he enjoyed the entirety of the program – hard work included. 

“My favorite part of the program was definitely the experience throughout, understanding something that was so foreign to me was an experience I hadn’t really ever achieved through conventional education,” he said. “I really enjoyed working with my Cohort lead, and the time they would take to help us whenever we messaged them.”

Job Search

Tony graduated from Flatiron School on November 9, 2022. By the time he received his certificate of completion, he already had two job offers in hand.

“The job search experience was tough at first, it involves a lot of leg work and finding what works for you,” he recalled. “But, I job-searched throughout the entire program, and managed to land two security-based IT jobs before even graduating.”

When we spoke with him almost a year out from graduation, he had nothing but good things to say about his decision to pivot into Cybersecurity. 

“My life simply wouldn’t be the same without the change. My wife and I are living well because of the career switch, which allows me to work from home while she studies for her Ph.D.”

Check out what Tony’s up to on his website: tonykl.com.

Reflecting On His Journey

Looking back on where he began, Tony is acutely aware of the importance of betting on oneself. 

“[Before attending Flatiron] I had been on the fence, worried that if it didn’t pan out, I’d be in a pinch,” he said. “However, the experience, what I learned, and the opportunities wouldn’t have been possible without attending Flatiron and going for it.”

 As for his advice to current Cybersecurity students, he recommends accepting the fact that you may not get things right the first time and to lean on those around you for help.

“There’s going to be a lot that won’t make sense, and you might have to spend 4 or 5 times the amount of time you thought you would on something to understand it. Reaching out to others in your cohort will get you further than you could alone.”

Ready To Pivot, Just Like Tony Khawaja-Lopez?

Apply Now to join other career changers like Tony Khawaja-Lopez in a program that’ll give you the tech skills you need to land your first job in tech.

Not ready to apply? Try out our Free Cybersecurity Prep Work and test-run the material we teach in the course. Read more stories about successful career changes on the Flatiron School blog.