Christian Bourdeau isn’t your typical white-collar professional. After working in marketing, social media, and photography, Christian fell in love with the world of data analytics. He would eventually go on to work for Warner Brothers as a global audience insights analyst.
Flash forward to the present day: Christian is currently a student at the USC Viterbi Data Analytics Boot Camp, and continued his job search. After only six weeks he has already been offered numerous job positions that utilize his newfound skills, even before graduating from the program. After much deliberation, Christian accepted a position with The HydraFacial Company as a business analyst, and he has been thoroughly enjoying balancing his new role and boot camp thus far. He has doubled his previous income, thanks to his new skills in the data landscape. Christian has taken each of his boot camp projects as an opportunity to expand his portfolio and impress companies.
It’s clear then that Christian knows a thing or two about catching an employer’s eye. Here are some of his top tips for networking and making the most of your boot camp.
1. Build strong relationships
Even though Christian had some data analysis experience, he admitted that there was a lot he didn’t know. He knew the best way to expand his knowledge was to show up, work hard, and ask thoughtful questions.
“I was itching to learn more, so in an environment where everyone else is passionate about learning, I thrive,” said Christian. “My TAs are always available to help me with anything I need. I generally get an almost instantaneous response whether it’s the week or weekend. The instructors genuinely love helping us, and I am glad that I can fill their time with my questions.”
Throughout his program, Christian has been focused on building relationships with his professors, TAs, and classmates (he even met his current girlfriend at boot camp!). These connections have been crucial to learning and refining his skills, and employers have taken notice.
“As a speaker who addresses college students for the American Marketing Association, I found that the brightest students were the ones who took the time to introduce themselves to me and talk after my speaking sessions,” said Christian. “I applied the same principle to my teachers and TAs. I see them every day for office hours before and after class.”
2. Amplify your career pages
While it is important to have the skills that employers are looking for in new hires, it’s also essential for them to be able to find you on career sites like LinkedIn. Christian quickly learned how important it was for his professional profiles to be in top shape. He even found that by learning how to optimize his profile, more companies took him seriously and reached out to him, even while he was still enrolled in the boot camp.
“I optimized my resume with a fanatical focus on data. This meant changing my job descriptions to communicate all my data-related activity,” he said.
“I used data-centric keywords so that I show up in recruiters search queries, turned on ‘open to opportunities’ to get contacted for jobs from recruiters, and continuously worked on creating a personal brand that attracted companies where I wanted to work.”
3. Take your projects seriously
While most consider outside work in boot camp to be homework, Christian prefers to think of it as a professional project. Framing assignments this way means they are something he can use to demonstrate to companies that he has the necessary skills to succeed in a new position.
“I learned that when hiring managers are looking for talent, they ultimately want someone who can do the job. The easiest way to show that you can fill a data analytics role is to share a relevant project,” said Christian. “During my time at Warner, I saved everything so that I could have something to show for my work during interviews. Whenever I come across a business problem referenced in job descriptions, I find a relevant project I have done to prove I have that skill. If don’t have a project from work, I make a new one. Each homework adds to my arsenal of projects showcasing newfound data analytics tools and techniques I learned in class.”
Christian emphasizes that focusing intensely on projects may be more difficult in the beginning because of all of the work you’re putting in. But eventually, it becomes easier—and it truly pays off when employers want to see what you’re capable of.
“Treat all the work you upload on GitHub like it’s a project that will you use in an interview to impress your future employer. This means doing whatever it takes to make the code run correctly, efficiently, and most importantly, easy to read,” he said. “Inherently, this is very difficult, but you would be surprised at how helpful your teachers and TAs are in lowering the learning curve and getting you there faster. Work smarter, not harder.”
4. Look to the future
As he continues to work through his career, Christian considers the boot camp a life-changing experience. He hopes to find continued success along his journey using knowledge from the program as a foundation.
“Being in this boot camp puts me among an environment of like-minded individuals that are fired up about data,” said Christian. “I’m a heavily extroverted person, so that environment supercharges me and gives me a sense of healthy competition to study and stay ahead of my classes. Now that I am working an analytics job in tandem to class, I am able to apply everything I am learning, and it is one of the most gratifying experiences.”
Are you ready to land a new position? Explore Trilogy-powered boot camps in data analytics, web development, UX/UI, and cybersecurity today.