If you've taken a GDI course in SQL in the past couple of years, chances are you've encountered Faiza Khan. This intrepid, self-taught instructor transitioned from a career as an undergraduate Mathematics professor to a life at the intersection of Data Science and Data Analytics, working at startups on the west coast and now, on the east coast. But she's always made time for GDI, now serving as our Data Science Subject Matter Expert. A self-starter and curious student, Faiza loves to learn about the tech landscape around her and she brings that same curiosity to her classes, which makes learning with her so much fun.
We got to know Faiza a little bit more during a Q&A session right before the holiday season. Here is what she has to share:
GDI: What is your favorite tool - and why?
Faiza: My favorite tool/library in Python is Pandas. I use it on a daily basis. It makes the job of slicing and dicing the data so intuitive and easy. One of the key aspects of data science is being able to look at huge datasets in multiple ways to arrive at interesting findings as well as to corroborate them. Pandas is a very handy tool for that kind of work.
GDI: Tell us what you like about teaching at GDI.
Faiza: GDI is always expanding the portfolio of classes it offers; this is especially exciting for me since it keeps the teaching experience refreshing as I move on to teach and design new courses every year.
Since the pandemic started, GDI has been hosting virtual classes which has opened up the opportunity for any student from any part of the world to join us. It is heartwarming to see students joining us from around the globe.
GDI: What is your advice for anyone looking to get started - or that you wish someone told you when you were starting?
Faiza: There are many online resources that are available which can help you in your transition to tech. If one resource does not stick with your learning style, you can easily find another resource that will.
Know that the number of hours spent each day adds up: if you are spending two hours per day learning a new skill, you will end up making significant progress if you consistently do it for a month. Just keep at it! And talk to actual practitioners in your space to get a sense of the skills required to make the transition: quite often we end up over-estimating the requirements and delaying ourselves from getting out there.
Always the learner and information seeker, Faiza uses this ‘ask and test’ method in her courses and loves the hands-on engagement from students throughout her cohorts. She will be leading several courses in the Data Science chapter this winter that we invite you to explore. We kick off our Data Science series for 2022 with our Intro to SQL cohort, starting on Tuesday, January 18th. This six-class cohort series will be followed by the sequel to SQL (makes me laugh every time), a SQL II cohort starting on February 8th.
We look forward to seeing you on future GDI courses this year and are so excited to have you as a part of our community!