-Halley Constantino, 2017 participant
It was only after my first DataFest that I started to feel less like someone who’d taken a lot of statistics courses and more like a data scientist. Coming into that first DataFest, I’ll admit to being more than a little over confident. I figured that being quick with python and knowing how to run a random forest would be more than enough to be a fearsome competitor. Oh how wrong I was. What I learned during my two time participation in DataFest is that our coursework can only teach us so much. To really understand how to solve problems using data science, one has to solve real problems using data science. In my case, that meant learning that the hardest part of data science is simply getting your data into a form where it makes sense to apply some fancy algorithm. It’s finding a way to take a real-world problem and frame in such a way that we can answer it using the toolbox of data science. As I started interviewing for jobs I found that this framing step is exactly what employers are most interested in hiring for. So, as I prepare to start as a data scientist at Yelp I can’t thank DataFest enough for helping me develop practical skills that will serve me well throughout my career.
-Brian Johnson, 2019 participant