Cartomu is an 18-year-old from the Bronx, New York, where she lives with her parents and six siblings. She has recently accepted an offer to start a Data Analytics Apprenticeship with a leading insurance company through Multiverse. Here is what Cartomu told us about her story and how she’s feeling about embarking on her new career in Data Science through an apprenticeship...

Cartomu: I achieved good grades in high school. I even worked with other students to help them with their college applications. But I didn’t really enjoy school, so I wanted to find another path. That's why after high school I was looking for part-time work that would allow me to do self-studying and learn more about data.

I started working at Amazon as a Prime Shopper, which often involved working early shifts. That meant leaving my house at 2am to get the bus for my 4am shift. When I got home, I self-studied statistics and SQL for another four hours. On top of that, I briefly juggled a job at Target. With most of my day being dedicated to work and sleep, I had to figure out how to keep up my studying.

At first, I wanted to become a Software Engineer. Earlier in the year, I started researching machine learning. Playing problem-solving games and puzzles like Flow Free, and going from knowing nothing to learning how to identify the patterns reminded me so much of machine learning! In a way, I was categorizing between a 'good' and a 'bad' move from the 'data' I was getting.

After more research, I realized that Data Science was more up my alley. The entire process, from asking big questions, to gathering and cleaning the data, to analyzing and drawing conclusions, to solving problems, feels like a science experiment to me! I love how there’s also math involved - I have a huge interest in solving mathematical equations.

Getting access into a career in data science

I learnt about Multiverse through Code Nation - a program I was involved in during high school. It felt like perfect timing for me. When I found out I’d been successful in getting the role at a leading insurance company I was really excited! I thought, is it real? I told everyone: my family, friends, my mentor, and even my former employer.

The thing that I’m most looking forward to in my apprenticeship is being able to work with data in a real-life setting. It’s one thing to create your own projects or to read about them, but it’s another to actually be solving problems with the data that you have access to.

Starting my apprenticeship soon, I’m feeling a bit nervous because I’ll be working a full-time job - and that’s different from combining a part-time job and school. I will also be on a team with people who are more traditionally educated than me. But I'm excited to continue learning through the role! I’ve been preparing by brushing up on my coding skills, working on a data scraping project, and challenging myself by learning how to clean data.

Realizing that college isn't the only path to a great career

Multiverse very much aligns with my own values. Multiverse's apprenticeship programs give young people like me more options. For example, we don't have to worry about our financial situation whilst we’re getting an education that’s relevant and useful.

We keep talking about how minorities need more options and opportunities, but we’re not getting to the root of the problem. Programs like this actively help people, they bridge that gap in society between those with privilege and those without by allowing individuals to get their foot in the door. I think it’s the future!

A lot of people feel forced to go to college because they feel that’s how they’ll progress in life. I feel like it’s important for there to be alternative pathways for individuals to achieve their dreams. College isn’t the solution to everything.

My advice for young people wondering ‘Are there other options out there for me?’ is to do a lot of research. There are a lot of cool programs out there that can help you out. It’s okay if you want to take a different path in life, because we're all on our own journeys. No one else will face life for us, so our decisions are ours to make!