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There is no question that university degrees are being disrupted. Over the last 10 years, we have seen multiple innovations in the area of education. The first major innovation was MOOCs (Massively Open Online Courses) and websites like Coursera and Udacity. MOOCs opened up education from some of the top institutions in the world to a wide audience. Coursera launched in 2011 and promised to revolutionise how people learn. With a total estimated number of 33 million users, there is no question that it has provided access to education for many people who might not have had access in other circumstances.
That being said, MOOCs were not as revolutionary as many people might have thought they would be. There has lots of discussion as to whether MOOCs will replace universities. Apparently, this hasn’t taken place. Universities remain the main provider of higher education, and employers still respect university degrees. Also, something which is lost with MOOCs is human touch. Universities create their own small world where you can meet and interact with people that share the same interests as you do. Are all university classes useful for students? Absolutely not. But face-to-face interaction can be very beneficial, and this is lost in online learning.
However, in parallel with MOOCs we have seen a rise in other forms of education like bootcamps. These are intensive programs for things like software development, that can help someone learn the necessary skills and then get a job in this field. The interesting thing about bootcamps is that they can be much shorter than a university degree. A bootcamp might last for 2 or 3 months, whereas a university degree would last for around 4 years in most countries.
How is it possible to achieve in 3 months, what normally takes 4 years?
Well, universities still operate on a somewhat outdated model. The only thing that many students want is to simply find a job. In professions like software development, this means that you have some basic coding skills, and then you can learn on the job. Universities are heavy on theory and principles. But, how many professionals are actually using the theory they learned during university? In technology, it is more about knowing how to be proficient in a language, or comfortable handling some software libraries. A large part of the things you will learn in a university degree will never useful.
However, bootcamps are still missing something. Theory is still useful, in some roles. Also, being able to understand something in depth can make you a much better professional. The intensive format that bootcamps follow where everything is crammed within a few weeks or months leaves a lot on the table. Also, bootcamps (like universities), usually ask people to take time off work, which makes things very difficult for those who lack the resources to live for 3 months without any source of income.
Datalyst: A new way of learning about data science
For a long time, I wanted to create a course for aspiring data scientists. The challenge is to take someone who has no knowledge of data science (or even technical skills, like coding), and turn them into data scientists.
After taking a look at all the different options in the market (from university degrees to bootcamps) I decided to create a new platform that combines the best elements of everything that we’ve seen so far: university degrees, bootcamps and MOOCs. To summarise:
- University degrees: Large depth, opportunity to meet other people face-to-face, but very long (and expensive).
- Bootcamps: Very efficient, but leave important theory out of the curriculum. Also, the intensity of the course, might make it difficult for all students to absorb the necessary knowledge.
- MOOCs: The most flexible form of learning, but they lack human touch.
Based on these observations, I decided to create Datalyst Academy.
Datalyst Academy follows a special format that combines the best elements from universities, bootcamps and MOOCs.
- The courses are provided in a blend of online learning (like MOOCs), workshops, and online mentoring.
- The course is fully flexible, and it can be finished in as few as 3 months, or as many as 12, depending on someone’s free time and dedication.
- The workshops are spread out throughout the course, and give the opportunity to meet with other people doing the course.
- Constant mentoring is provided (both online and in-person), which helps the students reach the necessary depth they desire in their studies.
So, you want to be come a data scientist?
Datalyst Academy combines the following unique benefits which are not found in any other program together:
- Flexibility: Finish in as few as 3 months, or in 12 months.
- Human touch: Regular workshops, face-to-face sessions and mentorship.
- Depth: The course covers everything a data scientist needs to know, from deep learning to statistics.
Oh, and the best part is that we also help our graduates get a job, after they finish with the programme.I believe that there is other programme right now in the market that can offer what Datalyst does.