S2DS London 2015: The wrap-up

Posted 2017-03-23T Posted by Tom

Data Science Bootcamp 2015

By Maya Dillon, Pivigo Community Manager

Since the launch of S2DS in 2014, over 160 students have now come through our doors and we’ve partnered with over 40 companies. This year we had the privilege of working with the likes of AT Kearney, British Gas Connected Homes Division, Royal Mail and a number of innovative Start-ups. And now another summer of data science at S2DS has drawn to a close, topped off with a fantastic Graduation dinner, and I have to say “It. Was. Epic!”

The last time I blogged, our budding data scientists had just completed their lectures on programming and business and were in full swing with their data science projects. As with last year, we had quite the varied portfolio from data visualisation, predictive analytics, sentiment and text analysis, database technologies, modeling, machine learning and now the new kid on the block - deep learning. The scopes of each project varied from exploratory to the submission of specific deliverables in the development of a data product.

So, what’s it like doing a data science project at S2DS?

Well, you’ll have to ask our new data scientists (e.g. Caroline, Kaushi, Fabian, Konstantin or Alex), by all means do get in touch with them or even myself! As a graduate of S2DS and now Community Manager of Pivigo, I have a new found appreciation for the process. Last year, my focus, as one would expect, was on my own personal and professional development and the progress of my team. This year, I got to see everyone grow.

S2DS is formatted with the aim of ensuring that all participants get real world experience on their data science projects. And how! As part of the culture shock that is "moving out of Academia", our PhDs had to face the challenges of working with commercial data. This included the red tape that is fundamental to commercially sensitive information, the administration, the acquisition and handling of data, and of course technological infrastructure. It doesn’t get more real than this! Well it does, because here you are in a ‘safe place’. Another one of the unique joys of partaking at S2DS is having 80+ other data scientists to help and support you in your learning process; you can go from pair programming to having someone to have a beer and a gripe with. The result… some new lifelong friends!

"The programme was exceptionally diverse, from the range of skill sets of the participants, to the range of partner companies. It was great to start our data science careers with so many talented people." Amy Dobson, Team Allocate Software.

"S2DS was a wonderful experience in more ways than one. The many skills I learned and put into practice are essential for a data scientist, but added to this was the camaraderie and team support that really made the workshop a pleasure to attend." Jason Byrne, Team Zenith Leasedrive.

"The best parts of S2DS for me were learning from the project work and meeting the 80 other people there who were all undergoing the same transition from academia to data science as I am." Lora Armstrong, Team Hive, British Gas Connected Homes Division.

Well, our data scientists certainly overcame all the challenges that were put to them, they got to promote their new found experience and skills to potential employers at the Company Networking Event we ran and they got to showcase their triumphs as part of presentations at the end of the programme. Now at S2DS we are nothing if not competitive. Yes, there were prizes for the best presentations, voted on the merits of: commercial value, team work and innovation. The winners? As voted by a panel of experts: Team AT Kearney, for their work on price optimisation models. As voted by the cohort, the People’s Choice Winners: Team Utelly, for their work in developing a recommendation system for movies and Team Zenith Leasedrive for creative risk modelling. Well done to these teams, and to all who participated and made S2DS 2015 a success!

Beyond S2DS

So now what? Well, the next few months are going to be very exciting for us at Pivigo. Admittedly job hunting is a very stressful process and hard work. We’ve all been there, but one of the things we look forward to seeing this year, as with last, is how each one of our newly fledged data scientist find their new opportunities and take on the first roles as data scientists. With who and where? Watch this space.

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