Nurturing Employability: Life after Data+

Data+ 2016 participants Morton Mo and Lindsay Hirschhorn followed up with us recently to share how their participation in Data+ has helped them find jobs in data science after the program wrapped up in the summer of 2016. While each student had a very different experience, the one thing they share is the edge that Data+ gave their resumes, and got them the job!

Morton Mo, Electrical & Computer Engineering (’19)

2016 Data Driven Parking Data+ Project

Morton’s 2016 Data+ team worked with the Duke Parking Office to analyze parking data at Duke to address inefficiencies and provide solutions to Duke’s 42 permitted parking lots. They built an interactive, Matlab-based tool that would suggest up to three alternative parking locations based on the users’ location and travel time plus the utilization and physical capacity of each lot. When the project was completed, Morton continued to work with Duke Parking to write script that would analyze the daily data drops Duke receives from its gated lots. As a long-time programmer, Morton see his programming skills as the primary way that he can help other people. Participating in Data+ where students address real-world problems gave Morton an edge when he was interviewing for a job a FaceBook. “They were extremely interested in my participating in Data+ and the fact that we were working with real data and trying to come up with real solutions for our clients. I definitely feel like being in Data+ got me the job at FaceBook that I will be starting the summer,” Morton said.

Lindsay Hirshhorn, Mechanical Engineering (’17)

2016 RTI/Duke Data+ Practicum Project

In the summer of 2016, Duke senior Lindsay Hirschhorn led an interdisciplinary Data+ research team sponsored by the Research Triangle Institute (RTI), performing data analysis on synthetic census data to optimize vaccination clinic locations for a simulated virus outbreak in Durham County. She loved working on the RTI team because she was trying to decide on a technical field after school that was not necessarily Engineering, and Lindsay continued working for RTI after the Data+ program. However, she was especially taken by a talk presented by Deloitte for Data+ participants over the summer on financial forensics. After Deloitte’s presentation, Lindsay introduced herself and asked to talk with them more about the work that they do. Even though Lindsay was working on the RTI team, RTI was very supportive of Lindsay’s interests and mentored her along the way to interviewing at Deloitte for a data analyst position in Deloitte Advisory. “Participating in Data+ was a HUGE factor in my getting the job at Deloitte! I recommend it to all of my friends” Lindsay exclaimed. Out of several applicants from Duke, Lindsay was the only one who was hired, and the only one who had participated in Data+. “Our resumes were pretty much identical except that I had Data+,” Lindsay said. “One of the applicants’ mom even works at Deloitte, but she hadn’t done Data+!”

Several Data+ participants have continued to work for their clients after the program was over, and this experience adds even more to their resumes when they begin looking for long-term employment. Morton’s advice to future Data+ students who consider working for their clients after the program:

  • Before committing, work out general objectives.
  • Know if the company is interested more in results or exploration.
  • Have clear goals!

We look forward to following up with more Data+ participants in the future to hear their stories on how Data+ made a difference in their job searches. Check back with us to hear about our Data+ 2017 students!