My name is Felista, and this is my JENGA Story…
I got to know about Artificial intelligence way back in my undergrad years as I pursued a degree in Computer Science. It was one of the units that were covered as part of the course. To be honest, we barely scratched the surface on the subject. However, it stuck in my mind. Even after my undergrad, I kept abreast a lot on this subject by reading many online articles and research papers.
After University, I scoured the internet for Artificial Intelligence Scholarships and did numerous applications, some of which I got shortlisted for but didn’t end up successful. After a while of not getting acceptances, I lost interest and gave in, convincing myself that it wasn’t my path.
I got a job, and for a good while there, I was really enthusiastic about it. I still am. I have loved all the projects that I have been lucky to be a part of at work and continue to be. Recently, however, in the last 2 years or so, I started to feel like I wanted more out of my Tech career. I wanted something more interesting and that I was passionate about. I also knew that it wasn’t about changing my place of work but about changing my career.
At the same time, I had been following how in recent years, AI, DataScience, Machine Learning, and, Big Data had become big in the tech world. I really wanted to switch careers from systems administration to AI and Data Science. To do so I needed to acquire the necessary skills, by attending school no less.
I was very intentional about the kind of school I wanted to attend. One that offered practical skills, something I felt I would not get in our typical Kenyan university system. So my search began.
I attended many seminars on AI, both virtually and in person. I also joined AI groups on WhatsApp, Telegram, Slack, and Google. I am also on many AI mailing lists. That is how I came to know about JENGA School.
I had attended an Impact Africa Network event where I got to know about this AI school that was about to start. I loved the concept. After the event, I left my contact and once they set it up, they sent me information on how to apply.
Part of the application process involved a timed math test. For a moment there I was scared but I was lucky enough to pass the test and make the cut. The day I got the acceptance email, I was very excited and had renewed hope for a career in Artificial Intelligence and Data Science.
I started with the foundations class which was very hands-on and interesting all through. I was so thrilled to learn Python, R, GitHub, and even Excel. I thought I knew Excel until I started this course!
The assignments were also fantastic as they were the kind that pushed you to do more research. My highlight was the projects that we were assigned to do at the end of the Foundations In Data Science course. The instructor was patient and very knowledgeable. His delivery was captivating as well.
All the instructors at Jenga are highly scholarly, with PhD-level senior instructors and teaching assistants with advanced degrees(MSc); they are a great source of inspiration. I aspire to be like them.
The thing I love most about JENGA School is that the classes are online, which means you can always watch a recording of a missed class, rewatch for revision, and don’t have to commute after work to attend classes!
JENGA School also organizes amazing monthly Industry lectures where they bring professionals who give a perspective of what the actual work entails in a real corporate environment. You know I wish I had this during my undergrad. I think this is one unique element about JENGA School. More of our education institutions surely need to incorporate this, but that is a story for another day.
I would unreservedly recommend JENGA School to anyone wanting to kickstart a career in AI and Data Science. The learning experience is just amazing.
I am presently undertaking the Core Course and thoroughly enjoying it as I learn so many new things. My current favorite subject is Math and particularly the topic on regression. I feel like an expert already but I know there are many more things to learn before I can call myself one.
I think I found my passion!