How to Know if a Data Science Bootcamp is Right for You How to Know if a Data Science Bootcamp is Right for You
Companies are in desperate need of data science talent. Even if you aren’t a trained data scientist, acquiring those skills may... How to Know if a Data Science Bootcamp is Right for You

Companies are in desperate need of data science talent. Even if you aren’t a trained data scientist, acquiring those skills may not take as long as you think. Where many professions may still require a four to eight-year degree plus internships and working up the ladder, you can train for a career in data science in a matter of weeks through a data science bootcamp.

There are many paths to a career in this industry, but how do you know if a bootcamp is the right one? These are our best tips for deciding if a data science bootcamp is the right choice and how to choose one if it is.

Knowing a bootcamp is right for you requires an understanding of yourself

Bootcamps offer a fast, intense introduction to data science and can help you make a career change quickly or gain skills for your first career right out of the gate. But you should ask yourself some questions before deciding.

How do I prefer to learn?

The intensity is your first consideration. While some data science bootcamps go for months on end, some are a fast and furious single week of work. If you want to learn quickly and gain a skill in a short period of time, then a faster bootcamp may be right for you. However, if you like to take things slow and learn over time, a boot camp may not offer you enough time to absorb the material.

In addition, boot camps are collaborative. The programs encourage you to network with your peers, work on projects, and get hands-on with each others’ work. This can prepare you well for working on a data science team, but if you prefer to work alone and you aren’t ready for the time commitment? That’s a recipe for burnout.

Dialing up the intensity can provide a boost to your confidence, especially if you have experience with traditional education and some work under your belt. You can make a study plan, meet some new people, and gain skills quickly that you can apply to your own research interests. While some learners may not thrive, many learners will find that it gives them a boost to succeed.

Do I know what I want?

Of course, you don’t need to have a step-by-step plan for your life to join a data science bootcamp. However, if you have a general idea of your career goals and the skills you need for those, you’ll be on a better path when joining a data science bootcamp.

Data science isn’t a one-size-fits-all career. The field has become complex, offering job seekers many different job titles—data engineer, data architect, data analyst, artificial intelligence engineer. The list doesn’t stop there.

Once you get past your very first foray into the data science world, having a goal in mind can help direct the courses you take, the skills you hone, and even your choice of programming language. In addition, if you already know you want to work in a particular industry for a specific type of company, that knowledge makes it easier to avoid overwhelm as you’re choosing a boot camp.

As an example, ODSC offers a data science bootcamp experience for students that begins before our conferences. The beginner courses provide new students with a comprehensive overview of the field, and knowing what you want from a data science career can help beyond that. You can leave the boot camp with tools to network at our conference, head to workshops that fit your desired career path, and know what courses should be next on your list.

Finding the right data science bootcamp for you

Really, it’s that simple. Two questions—what do I want? and how do I like to learn?—these are all you need to determine if a data science bootcamp is the right choice. Once you’ve decided, it’s time to find the right data science bootcamp. Consider these things to choose the right one:

  • Look for a data science bootcamp that provides career services and access to an alumni network to make it easier for you to land your first job in the field.
  • Find a data science bootcamp with a schedule that fits how you actually learn and the time you can dedicate per week—the shortest/fastest may not always be the best choice for you.
  • Check the curriculum to ensure that the courses align with your ultimate career and learning goals. Reputable programs will have their course topics and learning objectives listed.
  • Take the prescreening or aptitude testing seriously (if one is offered). This will help the program understand your needs and ensure you’re in the right place.

If you’re ready for a career change or are just getting started, a boot camp can ensure you have a solid foundation. A data science bootcamp can connect you with others in your field and help you stand out in the job market.

Check out the ODSC West 2022 Mini Data Science Bootcamp

At ODSC West 2022 coming up this November 1st to 3rd, you can devote an entire week to the mini data science bootcamp track. With this data science bootcamp, you get four days (bootcamp ticket holders start early on October 31st!) to learn data science in a focus of your choice, including NLP, ML/DL, data engineering, etc. You can start your training today with on-demand training from past sessions that you can access on our Ai+ Training platform! There are options for either an in-person or virtual data science bootcamp, so you can take a crash course in a growing field from wherever you are.

Elizabeth Wallace, ODSC

Elizabeth is a Nashville-based freelance writer with a soft spot for startups. She spent 13 years teaching language in higher ed and now helps startups and other organizations explain - clearly - what it is they do. Connect with her on LinkedIn here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/elizabethawallace/