The project that landed me my first data science job

Hello, Good Humans!

TL;DR This project on Github and this LinkedIn article landed me my first DS role.

Hedgecraft.ipynb (2.9 MB)
Click here to view the jupyter notebook file in a new tab

I want to share the story of how I launched my data science career with Dataquest, and hopefully, in the process inspire some of you to grab that Red Bull, keep calm and code on⁠—your time will come. I first joined Dataquest over a year ago to begin my journey. After getting 60% of the way through the Data Science path, I got the itch to venture into the wilderness and craft my own, original project. I quickly became obsessed, to the point where I never finished the Data Science path (one of my reasons for renewing my Premium membership). This project that I ultimately became addicted to landed me my first DS role. Like every good story, there are successes and failures. Data science is an iterative process abound by trial and error. Without further ado, I invite you, dear reader, to the story of the project that changed my life.

The Unproductive Motivator

Struggling to come up with an exciting, self-contained project completable in a reasonable period of time, I slacked off and binged my new favorite TV show. Enamored by his killer instinct and ruthless moxie, I drifted into the show, asking myself: if I was there, what would I do to grab his attention? How would I make Bobby f----ng Axelrod, a genius hedge fund manager see me? And then it happened.

There’s a small group who can do the math. There’s an even smaller group who can explain it. But those few who can do both, they become billionaires. - Bobby ‘Axe’ Axelrod

You can probably guess where this is going. After receiving the metaphorical pep talk from Wendy Rhodes (Axe Capital’s star ‘performance psychologist’) I knew what I must do. I had to beat Modern Portfolio Theory, the Nobel-winning theory of the optimal portfolio, and explain it in a way anyone could understand. Challenge (foolishly?) accepted.

The Healthy Addiction

Energized like the '80s day trader who just did a line, I cracked open some Red Bulls, refused to sleep, read some papers, and clacked away. When you look at the notebook, it would appear I had everything figured out from the get-go, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. There was a fair share of headaches (figuratively and literally) getting everything to work together. Every time I tried something that didn’t work, I would get this gut-wrenching feeling—the feeling of failure with a healthy helping of inadequacy and spritz of imposter syndrome. Instead of giving in, I channeled my inner Axe and killed it.

The Last Mile

Moral of the story: data science is hard and sometimes it takes sheer grit to get through a project. When things get tough and stuff isn’t working you’ll want to call it quits. Don’t. Just ask yourself, what would Axe do?

Long story short, I published the project on Github, wrote a Linkedin article, began networking, interviewed, and landed a DS role at a fairly large hedge fund with $10 billion in assets under management. Remarkably, all of this happened four months after joining Dataquest! So, I implore you, for the love of Bobby, don’t give up!


Hi @mayabenowitz, congratulations and thanks for sharing your story with the community. It is inspiring.

Best wishes!


Thanks @enext7771! I wish you the best of luck in your job search.


Congratulations buddy. Best wishes for the path ahead. :smile:


Hello @mayabenowitz Welcome to the DataQuest Community.

Congratulations :tada: :tada: on your first DS Job. One thing that I’ve learnt from you is that Sharing what you’ve learned matters, am looking forward to share my knowledge to teach others…


This is very inspiring


@mayabenowitz congratulations and very inspiring. Quick question, before you joined dataquest how much programming or math background/experience did you have. Did you start from scratch or you had a basic idea of what was going on.


congratulations @mayabenowitz


Cool. Inspiring post.


It is very inspiring and Congratulations. Thanks for sharing.


I love that Billions inspired this. Great show., though I think Taylor would appreciate your paper more than Bobby.


Yup, she’s a smart cookie :slight_smile:

This is a very inspiring story. I look forward too to having the same resilience and consistency to work on a personal project.


Thank you much appreciated.

1 Like

@akash.kadam I did have prior programming experience and a maths background before joining Dataquest. But please don’t let that discourage you. @vik had no formal background in either programming or math before he became an ML engineer.


@coffmanfb45 I was thinking the same thing right after I published the post haha.

Hey @mayabenowitz:

Congratulations and all the best for your DS role :100:

Portfolio optimization is one of the key concept in Fin-tech. I have gone through your project and article and i am specially impressed with all the visualizations. You’ve articulated everything very well. Thanks for sharing this with community.



This is so encouraging, I have found myself question my decisions about learning data science and also getting good at it, because it seems that i always don’t know what i am doing.
The last time i decided to do a mini project on how to plot a bar chart race, i didn’t visit dataquest because i was so into finding a way to plot this #wink#. i was able to achieve it but after i did, i felt like i didn’t do enough.

But thank you for this, i hope to start my own data science project soon, but i am just waiting for when i feel its right, but i guess it will never feel right.

anyway, congratulations. I wish you the best in your role.


Superb! Many Congratulations.