Meet Talent Sicheng Xia: New Journey Starting at FocusKPI

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Writter: Sicheng
Editors: Carol, Lin

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Sicheng is a Data Scientist working on building an amazing customer journey platform for one of our major clients .
In January 2020, Sicheng graduated from Boston University with a master’s degree in Applied Business Analytics. He joined our team in early March, 2020 as a data scientist intern and later worked full time at the Boston office.
When considering his career path after school, Sicheng shows a strong interest in data science.
Here’s his story of what he learned and how he grew from his experience as a Data Scientist at FocusKPI.

How I Got the Internship Opportunity

It was February when I attended a Data Analytics Forum hosted by FocusKPI in Boston. I prepared a lot for this Forum and spent a memorable afternoon there. The speakers are experienced leaders from data-related industries. They shared their career stories with insightful comments and advice, which inspired me a lot for my data science career path.


1st Data Analytics Forum at FocusKPI Boston Office

Several weeks later, I had lunch with Lin and Carol, who I knew from the FocusKPI forum working in the FocusKPI marketing department.

Our lunch at the Daily Catch

North Station at Boston

I enjoyed the conversation with them and was deeply impressed by their passion and ideas for what they were doing at FocusKPI. Later that day, I learned that the company was seeking a data scientist intern, and the project happened to meet my interests in analytics and data science.

After consideration, I sent my resume and portfolio to them. Two days later, the team invited me to an interview. When they told me that I got the internship the next day, I was thrilled!

Fill the Gap Between Campus and Workplace

I can still recall my first day at work. I thought I was well prepared, but I didn’t realize that there is a gap between campus and workplace. The team at FocusKPI works in an agile and fast-paced environment. Some of the tools and software they are using were new to me. So I needed to learn a lot of new skills, like Git tools, server instructions, and nonrelational-database.

During my first month as a Data Scientist intern, I spent a lot of time catching up. I am very grateful that my teammates were really nice and they would host one-on-one training sessions for me. The support from the team significantly boosted my work efficiency.

My mentor Hongyi, a senior data scientist, helped me a lot during this time. He not only provided me with instant technical guidance but also warmly answered all of my questions and provided suggestions for my works.

As I gradually adapted to the working environment, I gained more confidence at work. And I successfully delivered my first design output for the talent database project shown below.

The original design

I felt this is a very basic design but it is a good start for me.

How I Overcame the Challenge that I Never Met Before

As my first deliverable received positive feedback from the management team, I was assigned more tasks and responsibilities for this project. The next steps for the project were to build the framework for essential functions, which were mostly based on JavaScript in the web development part.

However, it was a big challenge for me as I was unfamiliar with JavaScript. Even though I pushed myself to learn on my own, the progress was very slow. After explaining my situation, the management team hired an experienced data engineer as a part-time consultant to help me solve the problem with useful templates and training sections.

I was very grateful for this support because it would be impossible for me to use and handle the React framework independently in only two to three weeks.

With the efforts of the whole team, our hard work paid off. The new interface shown below was greatly improved compared to the original version.

It was really a hard time for me to learn such a new methodology, especially in a limited time. But this experience was very precious for me, as during which I received support from other teams and colleagues, who helped me achieve the goals together. I felt that the whole FocusKPI team had a high cohesion which enabled the impossibility.

Where did a Sense of Achievement Come

After talking with my management team at an evaluation meeting in the last month of my internship, I expressed my thoughts and expectations of getting more involved with data science projects in the future.

Thanks to the trust of my management team, from then on, my responsibilities were more focused on the function design and developing part. With the support of AWS, we developed several automation systems and built multiple machine learning models based on natural language processing (NLP).

In order to facilitate the developing process, I needed to take the initiative of the project, not just following the high-level ideas provided by the leadership team, but more importantly, I had to think and test through trial and errors to unlock the potential.

As a result, with constant research and development, LoopWe , the internal product of FocusKPI we developed as a talent management system has greatly increased our hiring teams’ work efficiency.

I was so proud of this achievement while witnessing my personal and professional growth to a large extent.

Latest version of the output page

More than an Internship Opportunity

My original expectation for this internship was that I would just perform some supporting duties and complete tasks assigned by my managers. But at FocusKPI, this is not the case. Instead, I had a chance to be in charge of the real development of a product at the later phase of my internship. Also, the company would provide essential support to help you learn and grow based on your career goals. Overall, this internship program gave me much more than I have expected.

Special thanks to my mentor Hongyi and our leader Peter, thanks to the whole FocusKPI team. I appreciate the warm and efficient working environment here.

Now I will shoulder more responsibilities to work for our clients and start another new journey for myself.

Trainee/Internship Programs at FocusKPI

FocusKPI provides trainees (interns) with hands-on opportunities to practice what they have learned at school. Trainees can get a real feeling of working in an agile environment where initiative and innovation are greatly encouraged. During the program, trainees will get a closer look at the data analytics industry.

FocusKPI Trainee Programs generally last three months. Experienced mentors will regularly provide training sessions to offer trainees insights into hard skills and soft skills used in the workplace.

So far, we have provided training programs in areas such as data science, marketing analytics, web development, database operation, business development, client project management, and digital marketing.

Join us

If you are college students or new graduates who want to build up hands-on domain knowledge and grow in an agile working environment, you will find the FocusKPI internship program a great opportunity, where you will practice what you have learned in school, understand how a professional workplace operates, pick up new skills, receive training from mentors, develop critical work skills, explore the industry, and expand your professional network.

Explore more opportunities at