Data Science can be self-taught to a large extent. Books, online courses, events and conferences can help acquiring most of the necessary skills (see our previous article How to Become a Data Scientist). And while a portfolio that showcases analyses and codes is currently often enough proof for the skill set, it can still be difficult to find a job without work experience. This is where data science bootcamps can help.
Data science bootcamps have emerged in many cities around the world. They often target people with analytical Master or PhD degrees. Several blog posts have extensive lists of data science bootcamps that are usually between 4 to 18 weeks long, full-time and on-site (Skilledup, Coursereport). The costs of such programs range from 0 to over 10’000$. Many of them teach technical skills, help extending the data science portfolio, and most importantly, connect students with local hiring companies. However, if students are not successful at landing a job, they can still have a handicap on the job market due to a lack of industry experience.
If the attendees worked directly with or in a company during bootcamps, they could easily overcome this problem. One program with such an approach is the Science to Data Science program in London (UK). Attendees select from a list of about 10 different industries, such as advertisement, energy, health or financial industry. They are then matched with two to three other attendees and paired with a company. The projects the companies suggest were carefully reviewed beforehand. The attendees work on the selected projects for five weeks.
Through regular meetings with the business partner, attendees learn what is expected in an industry setting, which is often very different from the kaggle-type projects aspiring data scientists often use to practice with. Supplemented with lectures in professional development and business skills and networking events, the program helps learning to understand business needs as well as communicating and explaining results to non-experts and managers.
No matter which bootcamp one chooses, it is likely going to help finding a job in data science. Be it from learning additional skills and practical workflows, or by networking with other data scientists and business partners, there are many things attendees can profit from. It also helps companies who want to hire data scientists as the program organizers carefully select candidates into the program who have the skills that are necessary to be successful in their future role.