Interview with Data Science alumnus, Severin Kappeler

by Livia Schmid

Interview Severin Kappeler

Hello. Could you introduce yourself? What were you doing before you joined Constructor Academy’s Data Science Bootcamp?

“Hi there, my name is Severin. I studied mathematics at ETH here in Zurich. After completing my studies I started working at Deloitte in the Forensic Technology team for four years, where I was mainly involved in investigations together with legal teams to figure out what's essentially the relevant pieces from text data. The entire data processing pipeline from getting the documents from different sources and processing it and then getting the relevant pieces in an investigation was my main task.”

Why did you want to get into the field of Data Science?

“The way people approached the relevant pieces of this tax data was by manual reading and you can imagine these reviews were carried out by mostly lawyers, legal professionals, who are very skilled and expensive. I thought there must be some better way of finding important text passages than reading through multiple pages. That's when I started looking into Data Science, because it was a logical problem-solving technology for me. I found my passion for Data Science and particularly text analytics and the NLP (Natural Language Processing) corner of Machine Learning.”

How was your general experience at Constructor Academy?

“At Constructor Academy, in contrast to many universities that also offer Data Science programs, it's really applied and you get a lot of opportunities to put to use what you've learned in (ex:group challenges). Particularly worth mentioning is the Capstone project at the end of the program. That was a convincing argument for choosing Constructor Academy. To summarize daily life at Constructor Academy: in the morning you learn about diverse principles and technologies theoretically, where you have lectures from tutors and guest speakers. After lunch you have group assignments where you implement everything you have learned and actually do the coding yourself. The class size is around 12 to 15 people. I found this a really great size for learning efficiently.”

What did you like about the Data Science Bootcamp in particular?

“The Bootcamp was an absolutely amazing and unique experience. Those three months were super intense and I wouldn't have imagined that it would be possible to learn so much in such a short time. There are two things I really want to emphasize: one is that in my opinion you cannot learn Data Science on your own. You have to have a great team supporting you:on one hand the instructors are really great and motivated people, and on the other, so are the students. I think this is a great contrast to online tutorials and programs. You’re in this learning journey with all these people who want to change their career path and are super motivated . From the first minute I entered this classroom, I felt this energetic audience. That’s one aspect. The other one, which was really surprising to me, is industry focus. They connect you to different companies and also try to help you later in the interview process. It's not like Constructor Academy just issues a shiny diploma to you and after that you're left alone. Constructor Academy really guides you on the way into industry and helps you apply your newly learned knowledge.”

Could you share some details about your Capstone project?

“The Capstone project was one of the key benefits from my Constructor Academy experience. I came up with an idea when I was working at Deloitte to build a tool that was able to find text pieces inside a large corpus of documents that is somehow responsive to your search. Together with two of my classmates, we built a tool that has an integrated, autonomous highlighter. Depending on your feedback and your interaction with the tool, the highlighter gets smarter and smarter in learning what you're looking for and starts highlighting those sections for you.”

What would be your advice for people thinking about taking part in a Data Science program?

“My advice for people who are looking into changing their career path by doing a Bootcamp is: if you're interested in Data Science, at least from my experience, it’s something you have to learn by doing and writing as much code as you can in the process. There are only a few places where you can actually learn to do that and Constructor Academy is definitely one of them.”

Thanks a lot, Severin. We wish you all the best in your future career.

Interested in reading more about Constructor Academy and tech related topics? Then check out our other blog posts.

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