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BaseCamp: The Program For Aspiring Data Scientists

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Data science is an up-and-coming trend for businesses to make the most out of their facts & figures. We spoke to Juraj Kapasny of BaseCamp, a career program enabling young people to learn about data & build up their skills:

Describe BaseCamp in 50 words or less.

BaseCamp is an immersive full-time 8-week program for prospective data scientists. During 8 weeks you will deepen your theoretical knowledge, enhance your practical skills and become a qualified data scientist ready for your exciting data science career.

How did you discover the need for this program? What problem are you solving?

Being originally from Slovakia, we have experienced first hand, how difficult it can be to make it into the field of data science from our region. I have also experienced how difficult and expensive it is to find a self-sufficient junior data scientist for your company. These things should really not be that difficult. We are truing to bridge this gap between the companies, which are looking for data scientists and young people looking for a job in this field.

BaseCamp: The Program For Aspiring Data ScientistsWhat’s the program like? What can participants expect?

Participants can expect 8 weeks of intensive coursers about math, statistics or machine learning. From the technical site, R and Python will be used in the projects. Each day will be split into two sections, morning for theoretical stuff and afternoon for implementation in either R or Python, this depends on the choice of the applicant.

What do you look for in participants?

We are looking for smart and talented people, who are willing to learn new things. This is the most important thing in the data science as it is one of the fastest evolving field today. We don’t require strong computer science or math skills prior to the application. We will teach all the important skills from those fields that are must for a data science rock star.

With ferocious competition and a booming trend to create career programs: How do you make sure you don’t get lost in the shuffle?

There are some similar programs around the world. However we are trying to bring something new: We want our participants to learn directly on the problems of real companies, including deadlines, presentations, and discussing business requirements. This is the only way to effectively learn how to do data science in a business setting. Furthermore we are trying to find interesting partners, who would be available to provide data for the camp or even sponsor the most talented applicants in exchange for future work commitment.

What were the biggest challenges you faced building the program?

One of the bigger challenges right in the beginning was that we had to leave behind the possibility of well paid jobs in established companies. Corporates are willing to pay big amounts of money to data scientists as everyone is trying to change the data from storage cost to the competitive advantage. The next big challenge was that you have to get people to know you and trust you even if you are not yet an established company. We still have to improve how we do in the second one.

In what ways do you measure your success and how do you make sure you don’t lose track?

We are in the early stage with our product therefore it is simple for us: if we manage to get the first batch going, then it will be a success. We are trying to reach as many people as we can, we measure, of course, how many people reach the website and where they came from, as we are trying to allocate money for right marketing channels.

What was your most memorable moment so far?

We made it to Pioneers Festival as one of top 500 startups, where we already presented our idea and program to the people from well-known companies. We received positive feedback so we knew that people and companies are interested in such a camp.

7 years from now: How did BaseCamp change the world?

When BaseCamp is well established in Vienna, it will launch in other cities across the globe. The next batch may start in Asia or in South America. Sooner or later data scientists will be needed everywhere where business is done. We are dreaming of a BaseCamp in all parts of the world where data scientists can make a difference in a company. We will see where we can go in future but for the moment, our primary focus stays in Vienna and on the first batch.

What advice would you give fellow founders for their startup?

The key to the every business is to communicate everything inside the team. Do not be afraid of trying new things, do not give up when things are bad and do not fall asleep when the things are doing great. Founding of the company is only the first step in your path and it is probably the simplest one.

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