The first thing I thought of when I wrote that headline was one of the many “learn to draw” ads I came across in the comic books of my youth, way too many years ago.
Like this Draw Bob Hope ad in a ’50s Superman comic.
The ad asked you draw Bob Hope or Winky the deer or Lucky the duck or even a pirate – and if your drawing was good enough you’d win a scholarship to “art school.”
So you filled out the application – I admit I did it once or twice – sent in your best work and hoped for the best.
Of course, after several weeks you’d get a reply explaining that you didn’t get the scholarship but you could really improve your drawing skills by taking (read paying for) classes – through the mail – with the school.
OK, you get my drift.
So back to the truncated data scientist course. Can you really learn everything you need to know to become a data scientist in 12 short weeks?
San Francisco-based Zipfian Academy thinks you can.
Rather than spend several years and tens of thousands of dollars earning an advanced degree from an accredited university, you can take a really short, short cut – “a 12-week boot camp that teaches the pragmatic skills needed to land a data science gig at a reputable business,” according to an article in InformationWeek.
Zipfian Academy is a San Francisco-based facility that welcomed its first class of data science students last week.
“Data is being produced at an exponentially increasing rate and the need to understand this deluge of data is more pressing than ever,” the company said on its website.
To meet the need for qualified people to understand big data, Zipfian has developed “a unique educational experience that provides personalized instruction for each and every student . . . and coupled it with practical exercises working with real datasets.
The school teaches students how to use cutting edge tools and technologies to tackle such problems, and partners with leading companies to train the next generation of data scientist.
The company’s goal is to teach its students what they need to know to be competent data scientists in just 12 weeks.
We all know that finding qualified data scientists is not an easy task. That’s why Zipfian has already teamed up with several major tech companies, including Facebook and LinkedIn, that are looking for data scientists to analyze big data workloads, according to InformationWeek.
“A few of these companies actually reached out to us,” notes Zipfian Academy co-founder and instructor Ryan Orban in the article. “They’re very excited about what we’re doing, and the fact that we’re a data science-, data engineering-focused academy that’s focusing on the practical skills necessary to be effective as a data scientist.”
Maybe Zipfian’s on to something. Apparently 220 applicants vied for the 13 spots in the school’s first intensive 12-week program. And the students run the gamut from business analysts to statisticians to PhDs to people with master’s degrees – all of whom have general programming knowledge.
Zipfian’s small group of instructors has plenty of hands-on data science experience so students will learn from some pretty passionate teachers.
But prospective students take heed: The program isn’t cheap. If you’re accepted, Zipfian’s 12-week course will cost you $14,400. However, the school offers payment deferral plans (up to 1/2 half of the tuition) and a $4,000 reimbursement to graduates who accept jobs through Zipfian’s hiring program, the article notes.
“Many of our students come from academic backgrounds or research positions, and they might not have the available tuition,” Orban tells InformationWeek. “So we try to work with them to make the program a good fit.”
At the end of the course, graduates have completed a full data science project. Additionally, the school requires students to write up and present the results of the project, “because your insight is only as good as how effectively you can communicate it,” Orban notes.
In the end, the company says it’s not about the newest, trendiest framework or fastest data analysis platform.
“It’s about finding interesting insights from your data and sharing it with the world. Start small, get your hands dirty, and have fun,” the company notes.
And be thankful you didn’t have to draw Bob Hope.
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Spotfire Blogging Team