Join the CUNY Service Corps: The Best is Yet to Come
City Tech Alumnus Thierno Diallo Finds Success with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York
Thierno Diallo graduated from City Tech in 2016 with a B.S. in Applied Mathematics – Financial Science. A member of the 2015-16 CUNY Service Corps program at City Tech, he describes how his experience as a Service Corps Research & Analysis intern placed at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York transformed him professionally and personally. The Federal Reserve Bank was so pleased with his work as a Service Corps member that they offered him a full-time position as a Data Scientist Associate soon after graduation.
What is your current job title? What do you do specifically on your job? What is the best part about your work?
My job title is Data Scientist Associate. I am working at the Data Capabilities Office (DCO), which is a part of the Research and Statistics group of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. My job is to help businesses design processes, implement new analytical methods, and build analytical tools that help analysts do their daily work more efficiently. The best part of my work is that I get projects from different groups at the Federal Reserve. Therefore, I am always learning new things and making new connections.
Tell us about your CUNY Service Corps experience.
Working with CUNY Service Corps was one of the best experiences I have had in the US. Not only did the program show me what it is like to work for a big company, it also inspired me to pursue higher education. Going to the Fed and attending workshops organized by CUNY Service Corps gave me the opportunities to learn the skills that companies are looking in the Data Science field. Today, I am using this experience to motivate myself and others to pursue mathematics- and technology-related fields. Based on what I learned from this experience, these subject areas are and will be in high demand. Working as a CUNY Service Corps member helped me improve my communication skills (writing and speaking), my programming skills (in R, Python, Tableau and more), and my time management skills.
How did the CUNY Service Corps push you to grow?
Before I started working with the CUNY Service Corps, I was a very good student with a high GPA. But I did not have the many important skills that are needed everyday in the workplace. When I joined the Fed, I realized that the expectations from a class professor were very different from the expectations of a supervisor. I started teaching myself and paying more attention in my classes and in my Service Corps workshop training at City Tech. This pushed me to want to learn more.
How did joining the Service Corps help you professionally?
Joining the Service Corps definitely helped me to grow professionally. The same group that I had worked for at the Federal Reserve as a Service Corps member hired me as a consultant after my graduation from City Tech, then as a regular employee.
What do you want to say about students who are thinking about joining the CUNY Service Corps?
I want the students to understand it is a big mistake to just go to class and not have any other experiences. Everything counts. There are many opportunities at City Tech such as doing research, volunteering, summer internships, etc. Please get involved, because in a job interview they will ask you about your experience outside the classroom. Get that experience before you graduate. CUNY Service Corps will help you to get many skills useful throughout your professional and personal life.
Please tell us a little about your background or something unique about you?
I was born in Guinea. I started my education in a small elementary school where over seventy kids shared a room dedicated to first grade. I moved to a bigger city when I got to junior high school. After graduating from high school, I moved to France for my education in mathematics at the University of Rouen. After three years in France, I got a visa to immigrate to the US. I came to the US in 2010. I went to an ESL school to learn English. When I improved my English, I applied to City Tech in 2013 and started classes in spring 2014.
Please tell us about a challenge you had growing up.
My life has been a sequence of challenges. I grew up very unprivileged. I started to take care of myself before junior high school. It was very challenging for me to work and go to school especially when I was in Guinea. But with the help of numerous people and organizations I was able to overcome all these challenges victoriously. I became the first in my family to get to high school, to graduate from college.
Please tell us about the best advice that someone gave to you that continues to inspire you every day.
My grandmother is my inspiration. She taught me to appreciate the things I have, to never give up, to help without expecting anything in return, and to always believe that the best is yet to come. This is helping in my everyday life. When things get tough, I think about her advice and her life. She had nothing, but she was always happy.
What career advice do you have for prospective CUNY Service Corp members and/or current City Tech students?
My advice for prospective CUNY Service Corps members and/or current City Tech students is to always work hard and give the best of themselves to anything they are doing. People recognize hard work. The market is very competitive. It is very important to distinguish themselves from the competition.
Please let us know if your job is full-time and with benefits?
My job is full-time with all the benefits that the Fed offers to its regular employees. I am very happy with my salary, compensation and benefits. I plan to stay and utilize the opportunities that the Fed offers to grow within the organization. The New York Fed is a great place to work.
Any other words of wisdom/ advice/ comments?
I would like to thank all CUNY Service Corps staff and the City Tech professors for their dedication to helping students. Their hard work and goodwill are impacting many people, like giving someone like me an opportunity to work in a great place like the Fed. Dr. Urmi Ghosh- Dastidar, my mentor, once told me that her religion is to help people who are in need as much as possible. I know City Tech has many people like her who give their best to help students.
A January 2018 search on glassdoor.com revealed that the average data scientist salary in NYC is $118,225/ year. According to a 2017 Forbes article, IBM predicts demand for data scientists will soar 28% by 2020. The number of job openings for US data professionals will increase by 364,000 jobs to 2,720,000 by that time.