Interview with Data Science alumnus, Seamus Dines Muntaner

by Livia Schmid

Interview Data Science alumni

Can you introduce yourself? What were you doing before you joined Constructor Academy?

“I am Seamus Dines. I have a Bachelor's in Pharmacy and did my honors in drug development. After finishing my degree, I started working for a Biotechnology group as an Analyst. During my undergraduate degree, which I did in Australia, I got into programming a little bit more, including some basic web development as well as Python. I even took part in some basic coding courses. While I was employed as an Analyst, I also got into Data Analytics and liked it a lot, which led me to develop a couple of rudimentary Python models. That's when I first started looking at courses in Data Science.”

What made you choose Constructor Academy?

“I looked at a few different courses across Europe. All of the programs shifted to remote courses, because of the pandemic. Constructor Academy did a really excellent job of setting everything up online. That was one of the reasons. Another one was because the projects were pretty flexible. That’s what got me into exploring my own projects and I was incredibly happy that I was able to work on one with a company that was relevant to my background. There were lots of reasons that I chose Constructor Academy over other program providers. In summary, I would emphasize the following two components in particular: there were more options for projects and I really liked the structure of the course.”

Did your previous coding knowledge help you during the Bootcamp?

“I have to admit: I only learned it on the side, which is why I couldn't fully engage with the subject and bring my knowledge up to a proficient level. But when I started looking for courses in Data Science, I wanted to do some preliminary work. Meanwhile, I focused more on the Python and R languages since most of the technologies in the subjects are based on them. I had done a bit of SQL, statistics, and a little bit of R beforehand but nothing that was too useful. After some introductory courses, which were self-driven, I was on a basic level before starting with the program. It was a steep learning curve from then on. My previous skills still helped me a little bit.”

How was your overall experience at Constructor Academy?

“The best thing about the program is that it's tailored. The classes are quite small and there are lots of tutors. I think regardless of what you're hoping to get out of it, it can be tailored to your needs. I went into the class with the spirit to learn the fundamentals of coding and applied statistics, to be able to speak to Data Scientists and to explore other areas. The skills I learned were very universally applicable. I could use them in my positions in Management Consulting or back as an Analyst. I was lucky since the teacher assistants and the features are very receptive and very willing to put in the time. It was an open dialogue, and everyone is online all the time. Whether we were using Discord or one of the other channels, it was quite easy for everyone to reach out and ask for help as long as you made the effort and invested the time, considering my background and lack of programming skills in Data Science. The fact that I made it is a testament to how good the teachers were, so it was a lot of fun. Besides, everyone was in the same boat. A few people even had a similar background to me. Some were also more advanced, which helped as well. It was a valuable experience that started online and then ended in Zurich, a city I had never been to before. I definitely had a good time.”

Could you tell me more about the Capstone project that you worked on?

“We had people from Google and Ebay, etc., leading a couple of the lessons. That was a good way to get to know the industry even better. One of the guest speakers for Machine Learning worked with a company called intelligencia. His company specializes in clinical drug development. Since that type of work was related to my background, I had a chat with him after his lecture and pitched him the idea of doing a project together which would consist of developing a tool that aims to assist pharmaceutical companies in making the decision of which disease to treat and test with the drug by summarizing the necessary medical information and forecasting the clinical trial trends. He was very open to it and talked to Badru, a lecturer from Constructor Academy, and helped me set up the project. I then teamed up with two other students, Marie Bocher and Mariana Zorkina, who were really very good! And that's how the project came about. I had the idea when I went into the class and I wasn't sure if it would somehow work, but eventually it was viable. I got great support because I even remember having other ideas in the beginning and Laurent, the CEO of Constructor Academy, contacting companies for me to get everything going. Everyone was very open to what I was saying and my interests. I was also surprised by the other projects that came up. They were all very established projects. It's great that Constructor Academy has the option that you can present your project at the end. The projects went in from collaborations with startups to alternative investment groups. For a more in-depth explanation of the project, you can visit our website.”

How was life after the Bootcamp? Was it easy to find a new job?

“I had already enrolled in the master's program in Biotechnology after the Bootcamp. I had been planning to do that for a while, but I know Constructor Academy definitely helped the others get some internships and jobs. For example, I can use my skills in my thesis. about investment trends in AI in biotech. I'm still using a lot of what I learned at Constructor Academy. Right now, I'm going through the application process at a couple of strategy firms and investment groups, and I think the course has really opened a lot of doors for me, so thank you Constructor Academy.”

Do you have any advice for people who also want to do a Bootcamp?

“I kept hearing about Data Science repeatedly, too many times to ignore. As I mentioned, I didn't have a background in statistics or in coding, but I still got through it somehow and feel relatively proficient in all of these different areas now. There were people coming from all kinds of diverse backgrounds. I got the feeling that everybody was very happy with the outcome of the course. That’s why I think regardless of your background, at least explore the course and have a chat with somebody at Constructor Academy, because at first I wasn't sure what to expect either and it worked out very well for me.”

Thank you, Seamus. I wish you all the best and hope to see you soon back in Zurich.

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