Learner Spotlight: Solange Van Der Kolff

Meet Solange, a software engineer who got into data science because she wanted to contribute to society. She chose Dataquest to help her prepare for a database migration.

Here’s her story…

1. First, what are your preferred pronouns?


2. All right, Solange! What’s your current job title? At which company?

I am a software engineer at Livit Orthopedie.

3. Can you also tell us a little about the work you do at your current job?

Currently, I am responsible for the database migration, and I build applications.

4. Now can you tell us a little about your background?

After I finished my masters in 2018, I took a test at a programming school (Codam) because I didn’t feel like working in the field I studied for. After I finished this month-long test, I got accepted into Codam. I have programmed there for two years and started my career thereafter.

5. What made you get into programming?

The career freedom, creativity, and numerous applications where programming is useful attracted me. I wanted to contribute to society in a practical way, and with programming skills, you can create something useful in any field.

6. How did Dataquest’s teaching methodology (no-video, in-browser coding) work for you?

For me it worked perfectly! The precise information needed for the tasks was provided in a visually pleasing way. There was not only theory but also plenty of examples in the projects, and that helped me to really understand the diverse subjects — and to code by myself.

7. How has Dataquest helped you at your current job?

Without Dataquest, I wouldn’t have learned as quickly, and maybe I would have overlooked different options to tackle the database migration. It helped me tremendously in getting a good overview of what knowledge I needed and what kind of functions and libraries were useful for setting up the database migration.

I learned Python, SQL, setting up databases, cleaning and wrangling data — so basically all skills necessary to perform this database migration, which I haven’t done before. So it was a big relief for me that Dataquest had a perfect learning path for me to learn all of the skills I needed, which I could immediately apply to my job. Each time I was confronted with a data analyst question, I looked into the courses for help, and I always found my answer there!

So I was extremely happy to have access to Dataquest because my programming team didn’t have the time or all the skills to help me at my internship with my database migration. And in this way, I solved the problem because I learned through this platform!

8. What’s your favourite thing about Dataquest and why?

I think I like learning by doing programming in the browser with just the right amount of info in a gradual way best. I like this way of learning best because you get practical very fast, and you can dive into the material you want to learn without being bothered with excess info.

9. What are some of the skills you learned at Dataquest that help you at your job?

Data wrangling, data cleaning, Python, data analysis, data visualization, data aggregation, SQL.

10. What advice would you give to Dataquest learners who are just starting out?

Be consistent and dedicate time to complete courses every week so the new skills you learn have the time to sink in. There is a lot of material and projects that you will have to complete, and on some projects you will need more time to practice and learn what there is to learn!

11. Finally, where can people find you on the Internet?

People can find me on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/solangevdkolff/ and on GitHub: https://github.com/svan-der


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