What Are Data Science Bootcamps?
The 411 on data science bootcamps — what you’ll learn, how they’ll help your career, and where to find a good one.
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Do you want to learn data science skills as quickly as possible? Then a data science bootcamp might be right for you.
Data Science Bootcamps, Explained
Data science bootcamps are immersive, specific-learning environments that enhance your skills through rigorous daily sessions of data science theory and practice, with the aim of providing enough understanding and ability to thrive in industry.
These camps are intense, and pack tons of education into a very short period of time. They are great for beginners or people looking to grow their skills quickly.
The average data science bootcamp lasts 3-4 months, and they require a ton of time each week — up to 80 hours per week for the entire duration.
Will a Data Science Bootcamp Help You Get a Job?
Yes — although it’s obviously not a guarantee, data science bootcamps serve as an integral solution for industries that have a high demand for employees with technical skills, but don’t want to wait for candidates going through years of undergrad or graduate school. For this reason, bootcamps provide a quick, curated data science foundation for people looking to change careers or enhance their data science knowledge. You have to be willing to immerse yourself, but if you complete the program you’ll walk away ready for a data science career (and with a great addition to your resume).
How To Find Good Bootcamps
A well-made data science bootcamp will teach you foundational data science concepts, the mechanics of machine learning algorithms, and how to communicate the learnings gleaned from analyzing varied datasets. “They are ideal for those interested in data-centric thinking, data manipulation, and data analysis methods,” said Studio X Senior Data Scientist Bao Nguyen, who was accepted into and completed the Metis Data Science Bootcamp. A PhD graduate, Nguyen has been a geoscientist for over seven years, but found that a bootcamp helped him grow quickly and augment his current skill set. We recommend Metis, as well as Insight Fellows (for postdoctoral candidates), The Data Incubator, Fellowship AI, New York City Data Science Academy, Flatiron School, and General Assembly.
Final Verdict: Are They Worth It?
The short answer? Yes. The long answer: it depends on what you're looking to get out of it, and how much you’re willing to put into it. If guided instruction, collaboration, and financial and time constraints allow, then a bootcamp may be worth the opportunity cost. Bootcamps may not be the best option for people who feel equipped to learn data science on their own over a longer period of time. But for those who want to dive in and learn as much as possible, they can be an incredible asset.
In a bootcamp, you’ll learn everything you need to know to get started in data science, and you may find you grow in other ways, too.
“More than my career, I think attending this bootcamp benefitted my life in a number of surprising ways,” said Nguyen. “[I dealt with finding] success through adversity on a daily basis, my preconceived notions were challenged and, best of all… late nights with ramen. I think of a bootcamp like group training at a gym — I'm there to improve myself, but I'm also not alone; there's guidance, struggle, collaboration, and shared inspirations. You develop a fellowship with other cohort members, and at the end of the day you know you're better for it than not.”
Participating in a data science bootcamp can be a tough road, but for those who take it, it’s a rewarding one. Then you can start competing in data science competitions like Xeek.