Machine Learning has become the field I want to excel at by Quentin Bracq

machine learning
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Hello I am Quentin from France and for the past 8 years I have accumulated experiences in selling technical solutions to companies in diverse industries: Telecommunication, Waste Management & Work Processes.

We finally made it: this is the last week of the Bootcamp.

However challenging, frustrating or exhausting it might have been at times, it has been the greatest learning experience of my life. Machine Learning has become the field I want to excel at.

I am definitely going to miss our morning routine with Ivan Martin and Allan Le Chevalier learning all machine learning algorithms you can think of – LINEAR REGRESSION, LOGISTIC REGRESSION, SVM, KNN, DECISION TREE, NAÏVE BAYES, RANDOM FOREST, KMEANS, NEURAL NETWORK – and all the techniques to make the outcomes both correct and more helpful – BAGGING, ADAPTIVE BOOSTING, GRADIENT BOOSTING, CROSS VALIDATION and else.

I will definitely not forget that easily about Python and all its packages – NUMPY, PANDAS, SKLEARN, RANDOM to name just a few – and all its machines learning techniques that Pablo Monfort has taught us with great enthusiasm and outstanding teaching skills.

I will also remember about all the professionals that we had the chance to meet and to learn from should they be from IBM, Microsoft, EY, Amazon, Idealista, Nextail, Chicas Poderosas and Google. Those experiences were really interesting not only to understand what challenges as regard to data management and digital transformation companies face the most in diverse industries but also to learn more about the culture and vision of those amazing pioneers.

Resilience! How could I forget about our classes with Rodrigo Aguirre that have helped me immensely during the whole Bootcamp and more specifically at peak stressful moments while working on our final project!

The final project: How to prevent Iberia’s customers from churning? This absolutely proved without a doubt the most thought-provoking task in the Bootcamp. I could not get off my memory all the Saturdays spent trying to figure out how we should approach the project with my team and trying to make sense of it in a business perspective while learning new concepts everyday at the same time. But how grateful are we, my team and I, to see all of our hard work and persistence finally coming to fruition and to see all of the concepts finally coming together in a way very much unexpected 3 months ago.

Monday: Final exam in Machine Learning in R where we had to both show our theoretical understanding of all machine learning concepts we covered and put into practice Naïve Bayes for predicting whether Coursera reviews would be more likely to be Positive or Negative.

Then our final Python class with our favourite instructor Pablo who had made himself very accessible throughout the whole program and who had helped us greatly with our respective projects. For our last session where we had the chance to discover web scrapping or, in other words, how to read html pages with Selenium and extract data from it with Beautiful Soup, we offered Pablo a set of earphones as he repeatedly mentioned that he had to buy new ones in order to thank him for his second to none patience with our many and never ending questions (I think by the end he got scared of us).

Also our last regular session with our friend Rodrigo in resilience whose class, and I think I can talk on behalf of all those who took part in his classes, we greatly enjoyed.  I will definitely miss our meditative routine that was very much needed and very helpful namely in stressful times, which were numerous. This field was not very new to me but Rodrigo managed to shed some light on new aspects in a very apt manner and with a positive vibe that I will always remember and that took this experience to a whole new level. Not only will I remember his classes and good vibes but I will also try my best to discipline myself in my thought process and, as he would regularly remind us, choose peace at every moment.

Tuesday: We dedicated the entire day to practice for our presentation refining the last small details in our slides and explanations. As it happens, explaining clearly and in a simple manner very technical models while building a sound and logical story did not prove that very easy… We kept asking many questions to our instructors, Pablo, Allan and Ivan to make sure our business rationale made sense and that our story is told in a way that can appeal to both people not familiar with Data Science and Data experts at the same time. I must admit, it is very challenging and different compared to the presentations I had to do in the past though I am learning a great deal on how to enhance my ‘teaching’ skills to fit the technical work to the actual needs of our client’s business. Big thanks to the BCG instructors, Ivan Diaz and Sean, who helped us make our stories come to life and be entertaining for an audience. After training one last time, we came to our client office to present our work and talk through how could it be implemented in their operations.

Wednesday: PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE! Today was our last chance to make sure we are ready for THE moment: making our stories remembered, creating emotional sparks and inspiring the audience to make better decisions using data as regard to their respective businesses. We started the day with our final resilience class with Rodrigo and the purpose of this class was less of a relaxation type and more turned towards NLP techniques so as to access more easily our peak performance potential. Then came our final preparation session so as to best adapt to the real set up of the Demo Day and refine the last couple of details in our slides and talks.

HERE WE GO! The D-Day has come. Today is pretty relaxing, not much to do but to be ready for 18:00h, time at which the show will start. A bit of pressure to handle and a rising sense of relief after those incredible weeks finally coming to an end. As a matter of fact, everybody did an amazing job working very hard and presenting very well and now is the time to relax, have a glass of wine and network with what could be our future employer, colleagues.

That experience was absolutely mind opening but only the first step in my goal to become an expert in Data Science. I wish all the best to all the other Bootcampers without whom that experience would have definitely not been the same.

Hasta luego mis amigos!

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