Here is an Africa Data School review by one of the early students to do a data science and machine learning course at Africa data school.
WHAT IS DATA SCIENCE?
Well, allow me to give an analogy. Data Science is like your Mother and her signature dish. She knows the ingredients and where to shop for them. She shops, comes back and prepares them and serves you a meal at the end of the day.
At one point she needs a house help so she gets one and trains the help how to do things in the house like her (like your Mum) eventually the help learns and maybe in some cases does even a better job than your Mum (fingers crossed).
Mum in this analogy is the data scientist who knows the data (ingredients) she needs and where to source them. The meal Mum serves is the insight gained from the data, say, the intelligence. The house help is an intelligent agent (ML/AI) that is trained by the data scientist (Mum) to perform human actions.
Why Africa Data School?
First and foremost, it is African. Second it is not your traditional setting school. So much valuable information gets unpacked in one single lecture there.
It was more of love at first sight. I saw an advert about the school and I followed it. What really made me get even more interested is that at the time you had to apply and get interviewed before landing a slot. So I thought to myself, they must be real good. I met John for the interview and after the interview we had a chat on Data Science and what it can do, that chat excited me even more to choose ADS.
What was the learning experience like in Africa Data School?
It was really interactive. I was fortunate that my class did not have a big number. So the learning was really Interactive. Apart from that, I was lucky to get sort of industrial attachment or real world work. At the time one of my instructors had just come back from San Francisco, some deep learning camp/summit and would unpack a few pointers every now and then during the coursework. This really motivated me.
There is a really warm academic team. Well versed with the technologies they teach. The exercises were really applicable to real world setting, and most importantly the learning environment is clean, modern and calming. Also, within the same building are companies and startups seeking the same skillet ADS trains.
Why did you choose data science?
My background is in pure and applied Mathematics. I have always loved Mathematics. It was the only subject I never failed. Data Science is Mathematics applied with some level of abstraction. I figured in my 4th year I would love it and I was not wrong.
My Experience as a Data Scientist.
Currently I am supporting UNDP first ever data strategy. It is fulfilling really and challenging. Since Data Science is a hot topic and even HBR calls Data Scientist the “sexiest job of the 21st century” people will really look up to you and expect you to deliver as per the tag, Data Scientist. In my experience you have to be on your toes always but also, very honest with yourself and those expecting delivery from you. Data Scientist is a job that entails delivering insight, soft skills such as communication (both to technical and non-technical audiences) is really important. Also, leadership (because you are to provide recommendations based in your analysis), working with minimal supervision (because often times only you will understand what you are doing), and integrity should be one of your values (data is like fire. If you handle it well it is really helpful to a community otherwise it is very destructive).
No matter the profession. Data Science is a primary discipline. But, I only recommend with one
caveat: Have an industry focus because, this is a primary discipline cutting across many industries. It is easy to get confused or get drowned by the possibilities it offers.