Bloomtech (Lambda School) Data Science Review: 5 Pros and Cons

Bloomtech is a popular Online Coding School and Bootcamp.In this post, I will share my experience with you and talk about the Lambda School Data Science Course.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Since I can remember, I have been widely interested in computers, electronics, and video games. In this Lambda School Data Science Review, I will be sharing my experience of going through the Lambda School Data Science course.

Writing my first program in BASIC at the age of 8 on a Commodore Vic20 and taking every opportunity I could find to learn more throughout grade school was one of the best moments of my life. 

Our high school offered a course in AP Computer Science and I was thrilled to sign up. I continued to study CIS at the University of Delaware, but due to financial reasons, I was unable to complete my degree.

I took a “semester off” in 1994 (that turned to 50 semesters off) without ever quite knowing how I would rejoin my original path but still learning about hardware and software on my own and enjoying watching all the progress made in the ever-fascinating world of tech. 

In the meantime, I held many different roles including special education, event production, office jobs, warehouse work… (the list goes on), but have never felt satisfied or challenged enough to turn any of those jobs into a career.

Also Read: Lambda school acceptance rate

My motivation to enroll in Lambda School?

Lambda School Data Science Home Page

I was browsing the play store one day and saw what I thought was a game called “Grasshopper”

Something about it caught my eye. When I clicked through, I found out it was an app that helps teach beginners how to code. 

I played it a few times while riding busses or when bored to see how much things had changed over the years. I was shocked to see that not much had changed at all.

I believe it was that app that caused the algorithms to suggest Lambda School to me during a leisurely swipe through Instagram one day. 

Targeted ads have never been so on-the-money. It only took one video and a bit of research to stave off my skepticism, but Lambda was the real deal and it was the opportunity I had been waiting for all these years.

Lambda School Admission process?

Lambda School Admission Process

The admission process at the time was a pre-course complete with instructional videos and assignments that progressively got more challenging.

I feel it was more for self-evaluation… like “If you make it through this without quitting due to frustration or just recognizing that this is not the sort of thing that interests you, you are going to do just fine.”

It was more important to complete it all and submit the assignments before the cohort began than it was to “get it all right”

There are several ways, some more efficient than others, to solve most coding tasks. Any solutions during the pre-course would do.

Each of the projects I did is worthy of adding to a portfolio. Most were completed in just a week (full-time) or two (part-time), which doesn’t allow for all the bells and whistles I would have liked to have included, but each had a host of experiences I can draw on for interviews and future work.

Bloomtech Data Science Syllabus:

Syllabus

Now, let’s explore the syllabus of the Lambda School Data Science Course in this Lambda School Data Science Review.

I think the syllabus is a great outline of the subjects that are important to understand for many Data Science and Machine Learning Engineering roles. 

No prior experience is needed to be successful in this course.

It is important to mention that you won’t come out as an industry expert in all things Data Science, but you will have some exposure to many of the state-of-the-art tools that DS and ML teams are using in the industry.

More importantly, you will have proven you can learn and execute new technologies and coding techniques at a fast pace in a group environment. I went with the part-time option which allowed me twice the time to digest the information and apply what I had learned at a rate that fit my needs.

Lambda Launch & Precourse Work

Lambda Launch was fun from what I remember… All tracks were in on the massive Zoom call and it seemed a bit overwhelming. 

At the time I felt it would be very difficult to get individual attention or assistance, but came to discover this was not the case.

Mostly this is the ‘orientation’ section. After getting set up with Slack and separated into our cohort channels, the pool of over 300 faces quickly whittled down to a more reasonable 55-60 for our actual class size.

Statistics Fundamentals

As our instructor had mentioned, it’s about a semester worth of statistics all crammed into a couple of weeks

We learned about P-values, Bayesian Statistics, Linear Algebra, Matrix multiplication, and more… but more importantly, how to apply these concepts to data effectively using Python.

We also used this early unit to learn how to ‘clean’ data sets and try out many different methods of Visualizing Data. (Like all the handy charts and maps you might see on the news or the internet)

Predictive Modeling

Here’s where the magic began for me. Charts and graphs are cool and all, but leveraging the processing power of computers to predict outcomes (from medical diagnoses to future weather or traffic patterns to … you name it) is what thrills me the most about Data Science

Lambda starts off the light to give a solid foundation in Linear regression and tree-based models before getting into the more cloudy world of Machine Learning and Neural Networks which I will touch on later.

Data Engineering

Sometimes the data is there, but when it is combined, grouped, or otherwise compared, it tells a new or clearer part of the story. 

The best predictions can be drawn from new features engineered from the data. Also, computers are good at math… like, REALLY good… but not much else.

It becomes necessary to convert everything, from words and how they relate to other words to categories like days of the week or Olympic medal rankings, to something a computer can work with. 

Lambda does an excellent job at giving their students examples of how and when to use which techniques to accomplish this.

Machine Learning

The world of topic modeling, Natural Language Processing, image classification, text prediction, and neural networks was completely foreign to me at the start of this course. 

I mean, I had enjoyed the benefits of it while using google search, talking to my smartphone for dictation, and so forth, but I had zero (or less) idea of how it all worked.

I can now say that I have a pretty good grasp at what makes our phone and Web Apps behave in a way that makes them seem ‘smart’ (even though it’s still just math) enough to pull off tasks I never thought possible just decades prior.

I would love to see a full Lambda course offered that focuses solely on this subject to allow for the experience that most employers hiring for these roles would like to see.

Computer Science

I felt it odd that this came after the rest of the training, but for everyone that made it through the core curriculum, it was time for CS. 

Now we went for a deep dive into Data structures and Algorithms. We were taught the basics and given the resources to dig deeper.

Plenty more practice on sites like LeetCode and CodeSignal would be important to solidify these concepts, but again, the groundwork had been lain and without Lambda, I would never have known what to study and practice.

Many tech companies (especially the largest ones) use coding challenges to weed through their candidates. I can step into a live coding interview today with much higher confidence than before Lambda.

Labs

Lambda-Labs is where you will put it all together.

We built many things during our coursework. I wrote blog-style articles on Medium that I published independently that earned me an opportunity to write for online publications like Analytics Vidya and Data-Driven Investor

I thought Labs would be more of the same, but bigger… I was wrong.

In Lambda Labs, we were given a project already in motion. We picked up the work of previous cohorts and worked on cross-functional teams (with front-end and back-end web development students, a project manager, and mock stakeholders) to add features to an app in hopes of improving its functionality.

This gave us the experience of communicating across teams, presenting to stakeholders, using Github pull requests for approving the work of the other Data Scientists on the team and using an agile framework to document our progress and divide up the work into tickets.

During Labs, the careers team really ramps it up also and before Labs is complete, an updated resume will be in place and up to snuff for submissions during job-search.

Must see -> Lambda School Review 2021: Misleading Promises?

What are Bloomtech finance and payment options?

Student loan debt plagues so many people. I still have outstanding debt from my brief stay at the University of Delaware 25 years later.

At 17% of my future income for 24 months after finding a job in tech making a minimum of $50k/year, this was an offer I couldn’t refuse. 

I say 24 months instead of 2 years because if you stop working for some period of time, you aren’t required to pay for that time. 

You then resume payments when you re-enter the field.

I also should mention that if you go 60 months without earning at the $50k/year rate, the Income Share Agreement (ISA) dissolves and you owe nothing. 

This model is (or should be) the future of higher education. Lambda School really shoulders all the risk in their model because they feel that strongly that their students will become successful. If they aren’t, they don’t get paid.

Also read: Pricing structure of Lambda School

Data Science Course Timeline:

I am deeply impressed with how much I have learned in a year’s time. I also felt a sense of security knowing if there was ever a unit I did not grasp the first time around, I could take advantage of Lambda’s “Flex” program and repeat that unit. 

I was able to complete each unit the first time around, but many of my peers (most actually) flexed at least once.

If you do choose Lambda School, never be afraid to Flex. You know better than anyone if you need more time to feel fully confident in your newfound abilities.

Check this out -> My Experience: Udacity Review 2021| Are Nanodegrees Worth $1400?

This is an outcome I would never have expected entering the school just a little over a year ago and that’s the reason why I am sharing it with you all in this Lambda School Data Science Review.

Lambda School Career Services

The careers team is nothing short of amazing. You can find one coach that you love or work with many to gain different perspectives

They really do a great job at being available for each step of the interview process and provide referrals to those that qualify. 

The careers coach also really drives home the importance of outreach and networking.

My current status

I am a recent grad and still searching for my first role. I have had the confidence and skills to land interviews with a few companies, complete take-home assignments, and even move forward to the final round of interviews at Google

Pros and Cons of the Bloom Institute of Technology:

So, we have discussed the syllabus, admission process, pricing, finance, and the course timeline. Now let’s discuss the Pros and Cons of the Lambda School Data Science course in this Lambda School Data Science Review.

Pros of Bloomtech Data Science:

 I think the biggest Pros for Lambda are:

  • The no-risk ISA model
  • The community of students, instructors, teaching assistants, and mentors
  • The careers coaching/resume building assistance
  • Fully remote. Learn from anywhere with internet access.
  • Portfolio building while you learn. This doubles as experience you can show to potential employers
  • Live instruction. Better than video-based coursework where you can’t ask questions or get feedback.

Cons of the Bloomtech Data Science Course:

  • I would have liked to have more time to spend on certain concepts without repeating a full 2 month unit. I think some of the units could have been condensed in order to have more time for things like Statistics and Machine Learning
  • I would like to see more specializations… maybe a Lambda Graduate School where after receiving endorsement you could dive deeper into a certain field in Data Science.
  • I entered into the program without knowing that many DS jobs require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and multiple years of experience. (some even want a master’s degree or Ph.D.) Finding job listings that have “or relative experience” in the requirements section can be a challenge.
  • Data Structures and algorithms training in CS came in the final months before Labs and while helping prepare me for coding interviews, it also served to take me a bit out of practice with Data Science work.

Also read: Is Lambda School Legit?

Conclusion: Do I Recommend Bloomtech?

Absolutely, I have and will continue to recommend Lambda School to anyone that wants to level up their coding skills and marketability. 

Hope this Lambda School Data Science Review is useful for you in understanding the overall course and its curriculum.

It is important to say, though, you will get out of it what you put in. Be sure you have the time and bandwidth to dedicate, and you will not be disappointed.

Timothy Eakin

Lambda School was such an amazing journey. I learned so much more than I thought possible and really enjoyed my time there. Currently, I am working full-time as a Data Scientist and author for Analytics Vidya.

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