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Shaohua Zhang, WeCloudData

Shaohua Zhang

Chief Instructor & Co-Founder, WeCloudData

Karen Lau, Furnishr

Karen Lau

Co-Founder & CTO, Furnishr

With competitive salaries, high job satisfaction, and continuous demand for talent, data science has some of the most lucrative careers in the world.


When Shaohua Zhang looked around the room of 200 university students in his data science class back in 2014, he thought, “Would I actually hire any of them?”

Zhang, who led the data science team at BlackBerry for nearly three years, knew his students were smart and talented but they simply didn’t have the experience to be able to succeed in a data science role. The problem was the heavily academic- and theory-focused curriculum.

“Despite being named the ‘sexiest job of the 21st century’ by the Harvard Business Review, the industry was lacking qualified data scientists,” says Zhang.

That’s why Zhang co-founded WeCloudData, a Toronto-based Institute of Data Science and Technology-accredited college. WeCloudData is uniquely focused on portfolio building and coaching students to complete hands-on projects to differentiate themselves and impress hiring companies.

“Our curriculums are designed to provide students with real-world industry experience,” says Zhang, who’s also Chief Instructor at WeCloudData.

Led by experienced instructors, students at WeCloudData learn cutting-edge technologies like Python, machine learning, and cloud computing. Students are also paired with industry partners to solve real-life business challenges using real data sets. In each course, students complete an end-to-end project they can add to their portfolios.

The WeCloudData difference

Not only does WeCloudData provide hands-on education, it also helps students break into the data industry thanks to extensive career services. After graduating from the three-month Data Science Bootcamp, students have an additional six months of access to career support including resume review, mock interviews, networking events, and career coaching.

“While most universities provide some sort of career support, the advisors aren’t familiar with data science concepts or what employers in the industry are looking for,” says Zhang. WeCloudData has an impressive 89 percent placement rate at top companies. The college also has a corporate partnership program, offering training and upskilling for entire data science teams.

Person in WeCouldData hoodie talking to crowd

Q&A

Karen Lau is the Co-Founder and CTO of Furnishr, a turnkey furnishing platform that designs, assembles, and furnishes ready-to-move-in homes.

How does Furnishr use data?

Through designing and building hundreds of rooms, we have a catalogue of data about customer preferences, whether it’s colours, fabrics, or materials. Our machine learning platform leverages these insights to predict what kind of custom rooms our customers might want.

Why did you choose WeCloudData to help your business?

We needed help cataloguing our data and building our recommendation engine, and WeCloudData had super smart students who needed experience to build their portfolios. We were given a team of students who developed analysis reports and tools for various Furnishr projects over a semester.

How was working with WeCloudData students?

The students were using the latest tools in the industry, and I was amazed at how quickly they were able to grasp things. Their outputs were very useful in building some of our key capabilities.

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