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Capital One associate Ruikang stands in front of a brick wall smiling

Bringing machine learning beyond the classroom

This story is part of an series in which we highlight graduates of Capital One’s Machine Learning Engineering Training Program (MLETP), a 160-hour program that teaches software and data engineers the skills necessary to work in machine learning and AI. Learn more about MLETP.

Ruikang has always pushed herself to learn new things. That drive is what sparked her interest in pursuing a career in tech, and what kept her going as she worked on her Master of Science degree. After joining Capital One as a senior data analyst in 2020, she was drawn toward machine learning, after only scratching the surface of the subject in her studies.

"Once I joined Capital One and started working with real business data, I saw there was a whole new area of machine learning that I wasn’t exposed to in school," said Ruikang, principal data analyst. “I wanted to learn more.”

So Ruikang joined MLETP to bring machine learning out of the classroom and into the real world. Using pre-built models, the program’s instructors focused on practical applications for machine learning. As students and instructors worked together to bring the concepts to life, Ruikang quickly picked up on advanced techniques, which sparked inspiration for how machine learning could be used in her current position building data solutions for Tech College, Capital One’s in-house tech learning platform.

Ruikang’s training culminated in a hands-on capstone project. She used Capital One’s internal tools to take models throughout the whole machine learning lifecycle, offering Ruikang a chance to see how the technology is applied within Capital One.

“I was able to bridge the gap between the concepts that I understood and the practice I wanted to gain,” she said. “The program gave me a much broader perspective in areas I hadn’t been exposed to before, such as platforms, packages, workflow and orchestration.”

Capital One’s culture of inclusion and belonging ensured Ruikang was supported by a group of peers and instructors who shared her love for learning and technology.

“I think it’s important to have a passion for learning when working in technology, and it’s important to have the right people around you,” Ruikang said. “In my MLETP cohort, we all really care about each other and want to see each other succeed. That is really the most fantastic part of it all.”

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