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From Being Unemployed to Becoming a Senior Data Engineer with DataCamp

Michael Jordan Pilgreen found himself unemployed during COVID-19. He used DataCamp to start his career as a Data Engineer at BondCLiQ.
Sep 2023

After losing his job due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Michael Jordan Pilgreen decided to start a new career at the intersection of finance and technology, despite having no technical background.

Learn how Michael leveraged DataCamp to gain essential data engineering skills and eventually became a Senior Data Engineer at BondCLiQ, taking on business-critical projects and evangelizing the platform to others.

Journey into Data Engineering

Michael's journey to becoming a Senior Data Engineer at BondCLiQ was not straightforward. He graduated from Rhodes College in 2019 with a degree in creative writing and a concentration in poetry. After working in large-scale art installations, he found himself unemployed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In his job search, Michael turned to finance and technology and was recommended DataCamp to build coding skills by the MIT coursework he was enrolled in.

DataCamp quickly became a go-to place for Michael to learn essential data skills. He started with a conceptual Understanding Data Topics track to figure out the roles within the data team and then moved on to the Excel and Spreadsheets courses to learn the basics of data handling and visualization.

I come from a blue-collar background, and I'm a very hands-on learner. I am used to picking things up with my hands and watching others do it. Having that experience with DataCamp really helped things stick in my head and actually helped me implement them at work.

Michael Jordan PilgreenSenior Data Engineer at BondCLiQ

Michael believed that a data engineer was the most essential and invaluable team member of a data science team, and he decided to complete the DataCamp Data Engineer career track.

He first started by learning SQL fundamentals through Introduction to SQL, Joining Data in SQL, and Intermediate SQL courses then moved on to gain skills in Database design and management and continued to learn Python and Git for data engineering.

A great aspect of DataCamp is the abundance of instructors who are optimistic, possess real-world experience, and can encourage and motivate you to continue learning.

Michael Jordan PilgreenSenior Data Engineer at BondCLiQ

At that time, Michael joined BondCLiQ as a sales associate doing account management and data manipulation in Salesforce and Excel sheets. However, when BondCLiQ came up with a strategic cloud infrastructure project–Michael arrived with his data engineering skills and took on the ownership of the project.

Applying Data Engineering Skills on a Business-Critical AWS Infrastructure Project

Michael's first technical project at BondCLiQ was to transition the company's infrastructure and applications from vendor hosting to a cloud provider. After spending six months researching Azure, GCP, and AWS and comparing their offerings, the company decided to proceed with AWS Cloud.

To enable that, Michael further upskilled in PySpark and Scala with DataCamp and, as a result, was able to prepare business-critical ETL pipelines that went into production on Databricks in AWS.

At the time, there were publications about the most cutting-edge way to implement ETL in Spark. However, by the time I was ready to write the code, there were newer and better methods available. The field was evolving rapidly, and DataCamp was instrumental in helping me keep up with the most performant ways to handle those workloads.

Michael Jordan PilgreenSenior Data Engineer at BondCLiQ

Upskilling BondCliQ Analysts with DataCamp

After transitioning from vendor-based to self-hosting infrastructure, BondCLiQ had to extend its data team. To help with that, together with the CTO at BondCLiQ, Michael brought in twelve people with non-technical backgrounds and leveraged DataCamp to train them in SQL and PySpark, alongside teaching them the fundamentals of capital markets. After ten weeks, six out of twelve apprentices came on board and are now junior engineers and analysts at BondCLiQ.

Michael is an evangelist for DataCamp and recommends it to anyone looking to transition into a career in data science.

Datacamp is definitely a great resource for anyone, whether you have years of experience in the field and want to stay up-to-date with the latest technologies, or if you're a newcomer just looking to get a better understanding of the field in a safe and confined environment where you don't have to worry about breaking anything.

Michael Jordan PilgreenSenior Data Engineer at BondCLiQ

Tips for Fellow Learners

For anyone looking to start a new career in data, Michael recommends three things:

  • Make learning a daily habit by consistently dedicating time to it.
  • Keep an open mind and be willing to learn new things, as you never know what skills you may need in the future.
  • Find a community of learners and experts, like the one DataCamp offers, to share your journey with and learn from others.

Conclusion

Michael's dedication to learning, curiosity, and willingness to apply his skills to business-critical projects have positioned him for success in becoming a Senior Data Engineer at BondCLiQ. He has not only mastered essential SQL, Python, PySpark, and Git skills himself, but has also evangelized DataCamp and trained others in the fundamentals of data science.

His story is an inspiration to all future data professionals, highlighting the importance of building a strong foundation of skills, staying up-to-date with the latest technologies, and being open to new opportunities.

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