Before enrolling in CWRU Data Analytics Boot Camp, Michael Cipriani was working as an analyst performing audits at Nationwide. He joined the company in December 2019 but, after a period of time, started to worry he wasn’t advancing enough in his career.
“I felt a little bit complacent in my job and what I was doing,” said Michael. “I saw an advertisement for this boot camp, and I also knew a couple people who were taking part in similar programs. I decided to try it out and do something that I really wasn’t familiar with to branch out in my career.”
Michael’s motivation for enrolling in the boot camp was to develop skills beyond what he had learned as an accounting and pre-law major. While data analysis was a major part of Michael’s day-to-day activities at Nationwide, he felt that his formal education hadn’t prepared him for today’s data-driven professional world—so he took matters into his own hands.
Expanding his data horizons
The boot camp began in April 2021 and lasted six months, which Michael balanced with his full-time job. Although it was difficult, the demanding experience helped Michael develop critical time management skills. “I’d been a full-time student and full-time employee before, but never both at the same time,” said Michael. “Since the classes are very project-based and there are so few hours in the week, a lot of classmates would work together outside of class to get everything done on time. We had to be intentional with our schedules.”
The boot camp curriculum provided a steady onboarding into the world of data analytics. Michael particularly appreciated the program’s focus on project work, which helped drive home different lessons. “There were five projects in total, and once you finished one, you were onto the next one,” he explained. “Since the course is very hands-on, those projects make you do everything yourself, including research outside [of] the classroom. It’s a great learning experience that really enhances the overall boot camp.”
Michael’s favorite project came to life when the boot camp began introducing elements of data visualization into the curriculum. He and his teammates, who all came from different backgrounds, developed a project based on car accidents occurring in New York City. They were able to leverage their learnings to visualize clean, beautiful maps and other resources based on available information and research.
“The project came together really nicely, and I was able to add it to my GitHub and LinkedIn profiles,” said Michael. “That was a great asset, since it meant I could actually show employers how what I’d learned would be useful in a work setting.”
Refining skills to excel professionally
In addition to honing his time management skills, Michael was able to improve a number of other soft skills critical to making an impact in the job landscape. “Improving my work ethic and collaboration skills was important to me because I never want to be complacent in my career,” explained Michael. “It was exciting to get to work with people that don’t necessarily have similar interests or backgrounds, because it teaches you communication skills and how to better form relationships.”
There were times throughout his boot camp experience when Michael wasn’t sure if he would ultimately pivot to a different position. But, toward the end of the course, he began searching around to see how he might leverage his boot camp learnings at new companies. “My Career Coach reached out as I was applying for different jobs,” recalled Michael. “She helped me through the entire process by fixing up my resume, reworking my LinkedIn profile and wordsmithing professional emails.”
With the help of the boot camp’s career services, Michael was able to land an exciting new job as an analyst at the apparel and footwear company VF Corporation. In this role, Michael performs financial and operational controls, provides consulting services and improves operational efficiency.
Crucially, this position incorporates more aspects of data analytics than Michael’s prior job—and, as such, Michael characterizes this transition as a significant leap for his career. “In my previous role, I didn’t see that much of a future for myself, so I’m really excited to have found something that really sticks with me that I can commit myself to,” he said.
Michael concluded his trip down memory lane with some sage advice for others looking to take part in a boot camp: “Make time to form connections. I got really close with my classmates, and it was an awesome experience. My professor, Tom, was amazing as well. It was a time commitment, but was really worth it. I have nothing but positive things to say about the boot camp.”
Have you been looking to pivot to a new career in tech? Check out CWRU Boot Camps in coding, data analytics and cybersecurity to get started doing something amazing.