As the world locked up and slowed down in the terrible year of 2020, Sabrina Marano sat in her Berlin apartment and watched her career fizzle out under her eyes.
A graduate in Communication Studies from the University of Palermo, she had emigrated from her sun-drenched native lands to look for new opportunities in Germany. But the onset of Covid had left her jobless, a condition she’d been falling in and out of since arriving in Berlin and which was beginning to test her patience.
Sabrina had come to Berlin with her boyfriend and a shared promise – that they would find the means to support themselves within a month, or else go back to Sicily. Her partner worked in software and was therefore able to find employment even in spite of the language barrier (we know a thing or two about that), but things weren’t as simple for Sabrina.
Marketing jobs in Berlin typically required either fluent German or native English, neither of which she could boast. So she adapted, and worked in social media, in sales, and as an influencer before finally landing a job in her field… and promptly losing it to the pandemic.
But Sabrina had not come to Berlin with the attitude of an Alice in Wonderland, all wonder and naïveté. Even as she worked, she had been watching, digging, testing the waters.
“The more I navigated the job market, the more certain trends became apparent,” she tells me today. “For example, when it came to jobs in marketing, it seemed like almost every posting mentioned Python and SQL, either as an explicit requirement or at least as something desirable. I knew this was something I did not have – but I also knew it was something I could learn.”
With her career at a dead end, Sabrina decided to set aside 6 months and dedicate them to exactly that: “Studying, studying, and nothing but studying.”
The question of how to do that presented challenges of its own. A university degree would take too long, and studying by herself didn’t attract her – she felt that she needed guidance. She had heard of that relatively new format for programmers, the ‘coding bootcamp’, and some of these bootcamps focused on Data Science. Those did promise mastery of Python and SQL, but her lack of experience worried her.
“When I eventually signed up for a Data Science bootcamp, I went in with zero knowledge of programming. Like, really zero. It was something I had never even considered before. When I was in my teens, people around me talked about programming as something that only men could do. And nerdy men at that. Today, I regret that a little bit – not having introduced myself to Data Science earlier. I could have done a bootcamp right after university.”
Her experience in the WBS CODING SCHOOL Data Science bootcamp showed her very quickly that she’d been right to take the matter seriously.
“Coding is hard. Really hard. I remember that Mondays – when a new topic was introduced – were always days of total mental fog. It felt like the screws in my head only started turning from Tuesday on! But slowly, things clicked. By the time I was on my final project, I was writing code the way I’d write an email.”
As importantly, the fruits of her investment showed themselves immediately.
“I used to send out scattershot job applications and see meagre results. Now, for the first time I was having companies coming to me, asking me if I’d like to consider their opening. It really was quite the switch. When I was offered the job that I’d been looking for, 10 days after I finished the bootcamp, I felt like I could cry, I was so happy! After so many ups and downs, finally I had a well-paid job that I genuinely loved.”
That a bootcamp in one subject, Data Science, could yield such spectacular returns in another subject which does not appear immediately related, that being Marketing, is something that surprises neither her nor us.
“Honestly, Data Science is basically a passepartout for all professional doors. Now I am able to solve problems, create measurement models, do forecasting, all sorts of broadly useful stuff. Marketing is awash with data, but to be honest I could use these skills in a ton of other industries. I could just work as a pure Data Analyst if I wanted to.
“The thing is, however, that I don’t want to,” she says, and her expression lights up with a smile. “I love marketing, and I certainly don’t intend to leave this field. My objective right now is to keep growing in this industry, and to work my way up in terms of rank and salary. I studied Data Science to enhance my skills, not to replace them. And there is very little out there that can’t be enhanced by a solid grasp of data.”
Very little indeed, and as the saying goes, the only limits to what you can achieve are those of your imagination. Congratulations Sabrina from all of us at WBS CODING SCHOOL!