TripleTen experts
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Our TripleTen graduate on how acting skills can earn you a red carpet entry into the hi-tech world.

Before taking the TripleTen program Yochanan Perez was working as a recruiter, looking for scientists for research institutes. The pandemic hit this sphere really hard, since the whole process counted on institutions and universities having enough money to hire big name scientists and directors, so Yochanan had to take a pay leave and think what to do next. That’s exactly when a Data Analyst course by TripleTen accidentally caught his eye.

The timing of me finding the program was crucial. I saw a Facebook ad for TripleTen, the way it was written and the terms piqued my interest. It was a success-based model, meaning the payment and all the monetary talk could only begin when one had already found employment. This matched with what I was looking for at the time very well, so I followed the link and went through the initial registration process. From then on everything started developing rapidly.
Yochanan Perez with his wife

Since his wife continued working full time, Yochanan learnt how to be a dedicated father and a passionate student at the same time. Being actively involved in both — parenthood and data analysis could be challenging, so sometimes he would struggle to find balance between studying and looking after a newborn. That’s why flexibility was one of the crucial aspects for him: being able to change from one cohort to another and take it slowly helped him graduate from the program successfully.

I joined the second cohort midway through the second integration project. It allowed me to practice more and become more skilled. My mentor asked me at the time if I was already looking for a job. It struck me as odd because I was at the halfway point of the course. I replied: “No, I haven’t even finished the course, how could I be so audacious?” But once he told me to just go for it, I realized that I do have certain skills from the course, so I began looking for a job while still studying. Back then we decided to put our daughter in daycare, and it aligned perfectly with me successfully passing an interview and getting into the process of being hired for Mobileye. Without my mentor’s advice, I wouldn’t even have the confidence to apply for any position like that. It turns out that the TripleTen course is very effective. Within the first few months, a student is taught skills that can be applied toward making a serious attempt at finding an entry-level position. There must be the seed of desire and TripleTen can nurture that in a student and help them grow professionally.

Yochanan had two offers to choose from: one of them being a junior data scientist position, and the other — a less skill heavy one. It turned out that his knowledge aligned better with the higher position: the application tests were solved pretty quickly — they totally coincided with what he learned during the program.

The on-site testing consisted of two technical tests, first one being a data analysis task. I had more time to do it, so I formatted it the way I used to during the TripleTen projects. The fact that I learned the Jupyter Notebook during the program helped me a lot with that. The second test involved using Linux, which I didn’t have much experience with. I did, however, work in Ubuntu during the program, so I actually did have some exposure to the Linux OS. This, coupled with the fact that I studied Python helped me complete this particular task as well. I’m two months into my current position, and I’m working with Linux every day, so the role the program played in me landing the job cannot be understated. I have to mention that the program code was exceptional, you’d get instant results for your input, whether it runs or it doesn’t, that way you learn to check the errors, and that’s a big part of what I do in my current work. It helped me get used to reading the error codes and made it easier to work on my mistakes.

At the job interview Yochanan managed to tell a story with the data he got during the test and present more of a coherent analysis of things, rather than a dry comparison of them. It is one of the common pieces of advice for technical interviews and he followed it without doubts. Having an experience of helping other people prepare for their job interviews turned out to be an advantage too. However, what has played the biggest role in successful employment was a personal story: Yochanan has been interested in the idea of autonomous vehicles for ages, following its development almost from the beginning, so it was impossible to hide his true excitement about getting a job in Mobileye. Today he is part of the team that is responsible for road marking and identification for autonomous vehicles, his work is concentrated on proper analysis and statistical probabilities.

Data analysis sphere is so broad that you can really find something that you’ll love, and if you maintain your focus, you can find a job you’ll enjoy. During the on-site interview with the head of HR and the head of my future department, I had an opportunity to express my interest and to make it personal in a way, so I’d certainly advise to share the love for what you want to be doing during such interviews. You’ll demonstrate your alignment with the company that way, proving there are clear benefits to hiring you. Learn more about the company you’re going for, maybe you’ll find that your ideals align with theirs, just like mine did with Mobileye’s. At the end of the day, people want to hire someone they’ll enjoy working with. Bringing your personal story builds that connection already. The main thing that TripleTen webinars taught me is that everyone is going to make mistakes at some point, and the key is to learn from them. There’s always a way to present yourself this way without being obnoxious or over the top, thus bringing your personality into it.

Knowing the recruitment process from the inside, Yochanan believes that oftentimes soft skills can make a much stronger impression than an impeccable technical background. At the end of the day it’s all about your true personality. A company can and will teach you all the necessary hard skills you need to perform, but certain traits have to be developed on your own. Being open, organized and reliable is something that you’ll have to bring with you to the interview.

Keeping a cool head and being focused will make it easier for you to open up and to make it personal in a way. It's not all about hard skills. Conveying your personality during an interview can go a long way. Break the usual flow of an interview by presenting your own perspective and showing your flexibility and willingness to learn.
You don’t have to be an extrovert or pretend to be something you aren’t, but showing at least a part of your true self can help immensely. I would like to add that even though you need to keep focused on what you’d like to do, you also need to keep your mind open. Don’t get hung up on one thing, make a short list of places you’d like to end up in. People I work with come from diverse backgrounds, sometimes not even related to data science, but something gives them an edge, and I believe it’s their personalities and stories. Every day we learn something new about the work we do and the tools we use. Most of the tech and software we use is built in-house specifically for the teams using it, so there’s really no set background one can come from to instantly fit in, there’s a lot to learn, which is a gift in itself. I enjoy working with the people there, I know what they bring to the table, I receive constant feedback, we laugh in meetings, the atmosphere is great in general.

Apparently, what helped Yochanan shine in his best was … acting experience! Treating an interview process as a performance but not a torture can play right into your hand. If Hamlet is not your role model, then you can just follow the regular steps and practice your speech at the interview crash courses at the end of the program. This experience might show your weaknesses but it will also help you highlight the area which needs extra work and improvement, as it’s meant to prepare you for what’s ahead at the real job interview.

There is no way around the fact that this whole process is rather difficult, especially in the beginning. Put in the effort to practice and rehearse, that’s going to help you as much as my acting experience helped me, I reckon, and the setting of TripleTen allows you to practice with your fellow students, reducing the pressure to the minimum. During the program we were taught to communicate with people almost obsessively. This helped me understand what was expected of me in many cases, say, what the team wanted to see in any given analysis or report. Today, for instance, there’s the ticketing process in my line of work, which is very vague, so I have to go to people and figure out what’s required from me. It’s important not to be shy or think you’re bothering people, gather as much information from as many people as you can and work from there, that’s what we were taught during the program and I see this in my work environment every day.

In his free time Yochanan shares his best practices with like-minded people, doing mentoring sessions on Zoom. He helps others grow confidence and feel comfortable with presenting the knowledge they have, main lessons that he took from both — acting school and a Data Analyst course. His personal experience taught him to always look on the bright side and believe that any goal can be reachable.

The program trained us to enter data analysis and we were told that we could confidently try for jobs in the sphere. Hearing that had practically the same effect on me. I’m not trying to urge you to brainwash yourself into thinking you’re omnipotent, but there’s nothing stopping you from going for it, especially if you got into the course, didn’t drop out, or even if you feel uncertain, doubtful or unconfident in your skills. There has to be a part of you that pushes you forward, whatever form it may take, be it self-persuasion, mantras or whatever. Ask yourself “Why couldn’t it be me?” or “Why couldn’t I apply for a job and actually get it?”. A while ago someone told me that there are very few people who can accomplish something difficult at the first try. Everyone can achieve any heights with enough persistence, however. Everyone has it within themselves to persist and achieve success, it’s just a matter of finding this something within yourself. Bring the right attitude with you, it’s what everyone does, and you are no more or less special than the person next to you. The moral is to be positive and maintain optimism, however insurmountable things may seem at the start. The idea is that you must start somewhere and have the grit to stick to it.

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