This post may contain paid links to my personal recommendations that help to support the site!
If you are aspiring to be a data scientist, I’m pretty positive that you have heard of the prospects of Data Science Bootcamps and how they can help land you that first data job. Fret not, as I would be providing you with more information to better assess if these bootcamps are worth it.
The short answer is yes, but only when combined with experience. Many of such bootcamps focus on necessary data science skills in a short but intensive period but fail to lay out essential statistical foundations.
Why are they worth it, you say? Well, data science bootcamps can provide you with several skills and experiences that can enable you to stand out among other data science job applicants. Let’s look at some reasons why they are and aren’t worth it.
Why are Data Science Bootcamps Worth It?
1. Fast-paced Learning Style
After attending a data science bootcamp myself, I have to say that the learning style of the data science boot camp is arguably the best advantage the bootcamp can give.
Why? Bootcamps tends to have a strong focus practical applications, where things tend to be moving at a fast pace. This fast-paced environment places a similar pressure on the student or bootcamp attendee as that of in the office in the data science department. In data science, things move quickly, where collaborations, presentations and coding could all take place within the span of a few hours.
Although some might argue that having such a fast-paced learning style might not help you to sort out important foundations, a bootcamp can simulate an environment closest to the true data science working experience that hiring managers look for.
Bonus Tip: This added work experience is especially useful when applying for roles in startups! Startups, being small and fast-paced, have to be agile in their work and quick to implement new ideas. Now, does that ring a bell?Hiring managers in startups might have a second look at your resume if you do include a bootcamp or two in there.
2. Provides a Great Well-rounded Headstart
As do most data science bootcamps, a capstone project is required for a bootcamp attendee to pass the course. This capstone project typically involves a culmination of all the data science skills acquired from the period of the bootcamp.
A capstone project ensures that the attendee is able to successfully understand the use cases for all the data science skills taught and apply them in a real-life scenario. Although the project might not have any actual business impact, having a Github portfolio with such projects might give the hiring manager more chances to assess your skill level.
Bootcamps are substantially cheaper than most other formal education options out there. University degrees and diplomas may range from $40,000/year to $70,000/year for up to 2 years. On the other hand, bootcamps can start from $20-30/month for online bootcamps and $5000-$50,000/course for physical lessons. In a financially tight situation, bootcamps would be a far cheaper option compared to formal data science/statistical education out there.
If you are a job-seeker looking to switch careers, I’m sure that you would like to pick the option that would involve less cost for such a transition.
Why are Data Science Bootcamps Not Worth It?
1. Lack of Depth of Knowledge
If there’s one thing that would stop people from attending bootcamps, it would be this – shallow understanding and foundations. Some might say that the bootcamp does not provide sufficient foundational concepts needed for advanced data science analysis.
I might have to agree with them partially too. Sure, a bootcamp can provide the attendee with practical skills to implement complex models and perform predictions. But at times, some work is required for data scientists and analysts to tweak and modify models for improvements. This is where the gap grows wider between formal education and bootcamp learning. Foundational statistical concepts are taught methodically in colleges, where can provide that extra edge to better improve a model.
2. A Strong Mathematical Background is Still Required
Sometimes, the truth might be hard to take in but most hiring managers still look for data scientists with quantitative and mathematical backgrounds. Many data scientists believe that the bootcamps are meant for individuals with relevant technical backgrounds to transition into data science. What this means is that those looking to do a full transition over to data science from a non-technical degree might find it harder to clinch that data science job.
3. When Bootcamps Focus on Data Analytics Instead
Depending on the course content of a bootcamp, some might offer more training in data analytics as compared to data science. This might be a large difference for many, especially when the data scientist is paid much higher, at a starting average of $96k/year, according to Burtchworks.
These bootcamps might end up not teaching much about data science because of misleading marketing. You might not get what you intended to pay for, which is to specifically develop data science skills.
Who Should Go for Data Science Bootcamps?
1. Individuals with Prior Backgrounds Looking to Expand Their Skillset
The people who can benefit the most from attending bootcamps are those who already have their foundations laid out through another formal course or degree. If you are one of them, and are looking to expand your data stack of skills, then bootcamps would really give you a well-rounded broad-based introduction to a variety of data skills.
2. Individuals who want a Good Supplement to their Data Science Resume
As mentioned above, those who need that extra boost to their data science resume can actually take something back from a bootcamp through their capstone project.
Plus, having just that little extra project can help spark a passionate conversation with your interviewers!
Is a Data Science Bootcamp Enough to get into Data Science?
This is a question that I, too, have thought of before I set off on my data journey. Although I am a data analyst, I have learnt from many data scientists that a bootcamp alone is insufficient to be hired as a data scientist.
Data science is a complex field, with new models and algorithms being developed each day. With such a rapidly changing environment, foundational statistics and problem solving skills are the most important to ensure that you can stay afloat. Therefore, you should consider taking up more formal education courses like a Master’s degree or a diploma to complement the bootcamp.
Personally, I have used the combined experiences of a bootcamp as well as 3 other internships to apply for my current data analyst role. I would recommend looking out for such similar internship experiences to boost your chances of getting hired.
Should You Choose Formal Data Science Education Instead of a Bootcamp?
A formal education in data science is still a rather new concept and not many have taken that path. Generally, formal education provides better structure and support for their students. If you require a well-structured course for learning data science and if you can afford the higher tuition fees, then this route should be for you.
Some data science bootcamps to consider:
Data science can be a complex field. Moreover, it is a rather new one. Therefore, bootcamps can only truly be worth it if you have some relevant technical experience or similar working experiences. If you do not belong to this category, that’s fine as well, but do not rely on just one bootcamp to develop your data science skills. Ultimately, everyone’s still on a learning journey and a data scientist is no different so press on and all the best in your data science journey.
My Favorite Learning Resources:
My Recommended Learning Platforms!
|Learning Platform||What’s Good About the Platform?|
|1||Coursera||Certificates are offered by popular learning institutes and companies like Google & IBM|
|2||DataCamp||Comes with an integrated coding platform, great for beginners!|
|3||Pluralsight||Strong focus on data skills, taught by industry experts|
|4||Stratascratch||Learn faster by doing real interview coding practices for data science|
|5||Udacity||High-quality, comprehensive courses|
My Recommended Online Courses + Books!
|1||Data Analytics||Google Data Analytics Professional Certificate||–|
|2||Data Science||IBM Data Science Professional Certificate||–|
|3||Excel||Excel Skills for Business Specialization||–|
|4||Python||Python for Everybody Specialization||Python for Data Analysis|
|5||SQL||Introduction to SQL||SQL: The Ultimate Beginners Guide: Learn SQL Today|
|6||Tableau||Data Visualization with Tableau||Practical Tableau|
|7||Power BI||Getting Started with Power BI Desktop||Beginning Microsoft Power BI|
|8||R Programming||Data Science: Foundations using R Specialization||Learning R|
|9||Data Visualization||–||Big Book of Dashboards|