From Software Engineer to Data Engineer Thanks to McGill’s Professional Development Certificate in Data Science and Machine Learning

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How I gained the knowledge, skills, tools and strategies to take my career to the next level

In 2008, I joined the STM as a software engineer in its metro control center, a position which I held for more than 10 years. However, in 2021, after completing my Professional Development Certificate in Data Science and Machine Learning at McGill, I can proudly say that I have made the transition from software engineer to… data engineer!  That transition was made possible thanks to the decision I made 3 years ago to embark on this great journey at McGill. 

Before making that decision, my position as a software engineer consisted of developing and maintaining the various systems used by the traffic controllers to help manage the daily operations of the Montreal metro. Working in the “brain” of all the metro’s operations, I was aware that everything from the movement of the trains to the activity of the elevators, escalators, energy, fans, and a long list of other types of equipment was being recorded. I knew that all this data was a goldmine of insights for the organization, and that if I wanted to exploit that data, I would need to update my knowledge and skills. 

At the same time, I was also reading articles about the emergence of big data, how being a data scientist was quickly becoming the sexiest job of the 21st century, and how artificial intelligence would be at the forefront of what they call, “the Fourth Industrial Revolution”.

I had to do something. 

I wanted to be part of this data revolution! 

I wanted to be ahead of the curve! 

At that moment, I started searching the internet for videos or online trainings, but felt that the options I found were not going to be comprehensive nor recognized in the industry, and that’s not what I wanted. On the contrary, what I wanted was a program that would give me the A – Z of data science — the practical knowledge, skills, and tools, real and involved interactions with other professionals and instructors, and the stamp from a world-renowned institution. 

This is where McGill came in. The Professional Development Certificate in Data Science and Machine Learning was exactly what I was looking for. 

Now I can proudly call myself a Data Engineer thanks to the investment that I made to enroll at McGill in Data Science and Machine Learning. 

Do you want to be a data scientist? A data engineer? A machine learning engineer? If so, here’s what the Data Science and Machine Learning program will give you: 

The program focuses on providing the most relevant knowledge, most practical skills and tools, and the critical strategies for understanding when and how to implement those skills and tools. It offers a blend of real-world industry knowledge alongside the right amount of practice and feedback, leading to participants who are skilled in applying that knowledge so they can leave class and apply what they have learned to their work immediately. 

The program also helps you develop meaningful professional connections. This is important because, in the wonderful world of data, you will never work alone. On the contrary, you will constantly communicate with your clients, business partners, and your fellow data engineers, data scientists and analysts to better understand the problems at stake and find solutions. 

My journey at McGill culminated with the completion of the first A.I. project at the STM where I was the data engineer. Thanks to this project, users of the Montreal metro can now find out the occupancy rate of the AZUR trains on the orange line — the busiest of the metro lines. This info is being displayed on the Métrovision screens on the platforms and can also be consulted on the mobile version of It is a great development that is the fruit of some remarkable teamwork! 

Data scientist and data engineers are in high demand right now and these career paths offer interesting positions in all different kinds of industries. 

So, what are you waiting for? Jump in! Become a professional Made By McGill! 

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