Organisations are increasingly collecting and using large amounts of data. However, data alone lacks value. It has to be turned into information to have value, and it’s data scientists who are responsible for making that happen.
Data scientists are in exceptionally high demand across all industry sectors, but there’s a shortage of people who can fill the role.
Increasing demand for data scientists
A report by global technology giant IBM, published in 2017, has estimated there’ll be a 28% increase in demand for data scientists by 2020. Add to that a McKinsey Global Institute report estimating this year alone there’ll be a shortage of more than 140,000 data scientists, and you can see just how big a skills gap there is.
The short of the story is the educational system isn’t producing enough data scientists (which isn’t surprising given the specialist nature of the role) so a change in tact is needed to meet demand. One solution is data science boot camps.
Data science bootcamps are a new type of education where individuals take a short, intensive course in data science. Typically, boot camps last 8-12 weeks and are for people who already have an M.sc or PhD in a STEM subject.
These courses shouldn’t be thought of as a shortcut into the industry but rather an introducer to it. Curriculums vary between boot camps and where they kick off depends on the audience. Some start with an introduction to data science and machine learning, while others get right into database languages and Tableau.
Bootcamps can also serve as a refresher for people coming back to the industry after a period of absence. They’re proven to help ease the transition.
The value of bootcamps
The aim of all these boot camps is to teach students how to extract data using both analytical and programming skills. By the end of a course, students are expected to understand the techniques and processes behind data science and how these can be used to add value to an organisation. Some courses put a greater emphasis on collaboration and practical application, so are more workplace centric.
One bootcamp operator, Galvanize, has an 85% placement rate, which just goes to show how these courses can give job applicants an upper hand.
Data science bootcamps in the US
NYC Data Science Academy
This course teaches the essentials of data science with an emphasis on machine learning, big data and statistics. Online or on campus learning is available.
This course teaches the fundamentals of data science with a huge curriculum. It offers insight into all aspects of data science and machine learning.
This course is one of the most accessible in the industry. It’s open to anyone and teaches the fundamentals of data science and programming.
Insight Data Science
This course is free, but you’ve got to be invited and have a PhD. It’s an advanced boot camp suited to those with existing programming experience.
13-weeks full time.
This course requires prior programming experience in Python, but it doesn’t require you to have an M.sc or PhD in a STEM subject – ideal if you want to change career.