Here’s How Tesla’s Youngest Manager Rebooted His Career in Data Science
At the age of 15, before most teens learn how to drive a car, Milad Davoodi was teaching himself how to build one out of spare parts.
Knowledge, for Milad, is a key to the unknown. He sees incredible value in the invisible possibility that it holds. For most, Northwestern Data Science and Visualization Boot Camp is simply a chance to learn new skills. But for Milad, it unlocked an endless stream of potential opportunities.
An early start
When Milad thinks back to some of his earliest memories with technology, he can clearly see his eight-year-old self. “We had a VCR that was all jumbled up. My dad, I remember, took the top off. Inside there was a bunch of stuff, and I had no idea what any of it was. I just remember wanting to know what it all meant,” said Milad.
This honest curiosity fueled Milad’s career — and helped him land a job at Tesla before he even graduated from college. Law school was always the plan for this political science major, but — almost by accident — Milad found himself working as the youngest manager at one of the world’s leading tech companies. Four years later, Milad was 24 years old and overseeing a global team of more than 80 employees.
No time to slow down
Things were moving fast, and Milad hardly had any time to stop and think about his career trajectory. As his three-person team quickly turned into a billion-dollar arm of the company, Milad started to look around. “I saw all of these people with prestigious degrees,” he said. “Meanwhile, I was one-hundred percent self-taught, with no formal education in technology.”
Rather than hold onto his self-starting ability as a point of pride, Milad saw it as another opportunity to improve himself. “I felt like I needed to do more with my life. I wanted to solve problems that are bigger than just me. There’s some larger True North,” he shared.
Milad had finished his bachelors degree in political science but originally accepted a position at Tesla with the intent of getting back into law. After three years, he realized that he loved tech too much to leave the field — but was still seeking the greater sense of purpose that studying politics and social equity had given him. He considered going back to school for an MBA, but saw a four-year degree as an expensive way to build connections. What Milad really wanted was knowledge.
That’s where Northwestern Data Science and Visualization Boot Camp entered the equation.
The boot camp was the only plan Milad needed
For most of Milad’s life, he has trusted his instincts to point him in the right direction. If there was something he wanted to learn, he would jump in blindly — and new opportunities always presented themselves as a result. Deciding to join the boot camp at Northwestern wasn’t any different.
At Tesla, Milad had more than one opportunity to check beneath the company’s hood. As with peering into the stomach of his dad’s VCR, much of what he saw was beyond his current understanding. “I had a good understanding of the digital infrastructure, but lacked the technical knowledge behind it,” Milad said.
It’s the absence of understanding that inspires him more than anything else. “I always seek to understand things that aren’t immediately apparent. If something on the surface looks confusing, I go learn it. I don’t steer away from that challenge,” Milad said.
Eager to advance his knowledge, Milad read online reviews for the boot camp and noticed that almost every negative comment mentioned how much work was required. ”That’s what I wanted. I expected it to be difficult.”
A new challenge and skill set is the only promise Milad has ever needed — and so, he enrolled without reservation.
What makes the boot camp valuable?
Since completing the data visualization boot camp, Milad has started a new job at Amazon Web Services and continues to develop X-Care, a warranty product for electric vehicles that he co-created upon leaving Tesla. After mastering specific skills, like API building, Milad says he “started realizing that the technical aspects behind these projects are really what separate the good from the great.”
Milad didn’t join the boot camp because he wanted to be successful — he already was. He joined the boot camp because it’s a representation of who he is. Milad relentlessly pursues knowledge wherever he can find it, which is an easy way to guarantee success in every avenue of life.
“You don’t know what you don’t know,” concluded Milad. “I didn’t know what I wanted to get from the boot camp. I just knew I wanted to learn.”
At Northwestern, he did exactly that.