What is a Data Science Bootcamp and 8 Tips for Choosing the Right One

There are as many online IT-related bootcamps as professionals across disciplines need to stay up to date with today’s rapidly changing technologies. Bootcamps provide a new way to learn IT-related skills, and are offered in a more short-term, immersive experience than traditional educational settings. Ultimately, the bootcamps teach hopeful IT professionals the skills they require for a career in their preferred field.

If you’re wondering if a data science bootcamp is worth it, then read on.

Looking forward to becoming a Data Scientist? Check out the Data Scientist Masters Program and get certified today.

What’s a Bootcamp Anyway?

The typical bootcamp lasts between six weeks to 24 months, although most programs run from 12 and 40 weeks. Bootcamps deliver intensive learning coupled with great speed—after all, there is a lot of information to absorb, and time is limited! As a result, bootcamps limit instruction to the skills that are most relevant and needed for the position that the student is interested in getting. You don’t go to a programming bootcamp expecting to learn how to do cloud-based backups, for instance.

The better bootcamps provide an intense, accelerated learning experience coupled with hands-on projects that let students practice applying their newfound skills and knowledge. Also, they help their graduates find jobs in their chosen field—a huge advantage in super competitive areas.

You can find all kinds of bootcamps. Since the hallmark of a good bootcamp is flexibility and accessibility for students, they are broken down into two main types, each specially suited to accommodate a different student situation:

  • Part-Time Bootcamps 

    Part-time bootcamps run approximately 30 weeks (give or take) and are ideal for people with busy schedules—which usually means that they have a job. These camps typically require a weekly commitment of about 20 hours, done via the internet or a physical location, depending on the bootcamp. Part-time bootcamps also pose less of a strain on the student’s financial resources. Although this camp doesn’t ask for much time and money, it takes longer to complete. There had to be a catch, right?
  • Full-Time Bootcamps

    If you want an intense learning experience, look no further. Full-time bootcamps typically ask for a commitment of up to 80 hours per week over a two to seven-month period, averaging approximately 17 weeks. Full-time camps offer a fully immersive learning experience, and come with a correspondingly higher cost. Luckily, if you’re taking classes to help you perform better at your job, your company may absorb some or even the entire cost. But be warned: if you decide on a full-time bootcamp, then that’s your life for the camp’s duration. Don’t plan on working a full-time job simultaneously.

Bear in mind that the time figures aren’t set in stone, nor are they the same for every bootcamp offered. For instance, one specific bootcamp offers part-time at six hours per week for 10-12 weeks, and full-time at 40 hours a week for 10-12 weeks.

Besides the full-time/part-time dichotomy, there are the questions of where you attend bootcamp and how you participate in it. Your choices are:

  • In-Person

    You physically attend the coding bootcamp. You take organized, structured classes at a given location. You have access to a teacher to assist you if things get rough. If you prefer structure and keeping your academic life separate from the rest of your life, this is the best choice, assuming you have the time to participate. Examples of in-person camps include, Betamore, Big Data Bootcamp, and The Data Incubator.
  • Online

    If you would rather learn at home and have the self-motivation and discipline to see it to completion, choose an online coding bootcamp. You will have access to all the necessary online course materials and instructors, and a large, supportive online student community. Online bootcamp offerings include Dataquest, Datacamp, and Statistics.com.
  • Self-Paced

    The last word in informal, flexible education, the self-paced model enables you to learn and work whenever you feel like it. You get assigned the curriculum, and then you decide how and when you will tackle it. Simplilearn is a good example of a self-paced education provider.

Post Graduate Program in Data Science

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Post Graduate Program in Data Science

What Exactly is a Data Science Bootcamp?

Considering that data science is the study of data using algorithms, scientific methods, and programming skills to extract meaningful insights and knowledge from any structured or unstructured data, then obviously, a data science bootcamp teaches you how to perform these tasks easily.

But seriously, if you’re looking for a career in data science, you need to gain as many data science tools and data science skills as possible. Data science bootcamps, supplemented with extra online courses, will get you where you want to be.

A data science bootcamp teaches you things like:

  • Cleaning and transforming data using some form of data frames
  • Importing libraries
  • Programming languages such as Python or R
  • Training and evaluating models
  • Using databases
  • Leveraging statistics
  • Learning how to apply the most important Machine Learning (ML) domains such as:
    - Awareness of big data toolsets
    - Classification
    - Neural networks
    - NLP/Naive Bayes
    - Regression
    - Supervised and unsupervised learning
    - Time series

The more intensive bootcamps, normally the full-time ones, offer more practice, more live instructor training and interaction, more coding, and more hands-on projects. This is hardly surprising, considering the intensity of full-time bootcamp training.

Data Science Bootcamp vs a Master’s Degree

While there is undoubtedly more prestige in getting your Master’s degree in data science, it’s not for everyone. Yes, when you complete your studies, you have a Ph.D. in data science, and that degree will open doors. But the amount of time and expense involved is a huge burden, and if you’re still paying off student loans from your undergraduate (Bachelor’s or Associate’s) degree, then taking on more debt could be problematic.

If you’ve already earned a Master’s degree, then going for a Ph.D. may seem excessive. However, if you’ve mapped out a career path that includes obtaining a Bachelor’s, then a Master’s in data science and its related fields of study, go for it.

For those who may not have even known that a career in data science was an option, the data science bootcamp is the perfect choice.

As a final note, bear in mind that merit or skilled-based hiring is slowly supplanting degree-based hiring. Why go through all the hassle of earning a degree when you can gain the specialized training you need though an online data science bootcamp?

Data Scientist Master's Program

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Data Scientist Master's Program

How Do I Pick the Data Science Bootcamp That’s Best for Me?

So you’ve decided to go the data scientist bootcamp route. Good for you! But what comes next? There are so many bootcamps to choose from. How do you find the best fit for you? Keep these simple tips in mind, and you can’t go wrong:

  • Create Your Career Goals

    Do you have a timeline? Are you looking to start a data science career immediately after you finish the bootcamp? Where do you want your career to be several years from now?
  • Figure out Your Budget

    Bootcamp prices vary, so you need to take stock of your finances and see what you can afford. Does the bootcamp offer financing options? And if so, are you ready to take on more debt?
  • Figure Out Your Schedule

    Are you working full-time? Are you going to have enough time and energy after a long day of work to devote to your new studies? Are there any non-work obligations that may prove to be an obstacle?
  • Figure Out Yourself

    Do you like getting taught in a slow, measured, gradual fashion, or do you prefer undergoing intense training for a shorter period, thereby getting it over with sooner?
  • Find Out Where the Bootcamp is Held

    If you’re going to attend the bootcamp in-person, it’s probably a good idea to make sure it’s somewhere close by. Many of the larger learning institutions hold bootcamps in multiple cities. Is one close to you?
  • Decide What Aspects of Data Science Appeal to you the Most, and Shop Around 

    Not all bootcamps operate the same way. For instance, some give more time to programming languages, while others barely touch the subject. Check out different curricula and see which ones give more attention to the things you especially want to know.
  • Read Testimonials and Other Online Resources 

    Many bootcamp websites have recommendations and testimonials from previous attendees. You can also check out entries on Reddit or Quora.
  • Check Out the Prerequisites

    Maybe the bootcamp you want has specific requirements you must meet before signing up.

Do You Want to Learn How to Become a Data Scientist?

We’ve discussed data science bootcamps and touched upon Master’s degrees, but you should consider a third option. Simplilearn has a comprehensive selection of online courses available for the would-be data scientist.

Begin with Simplilearn’s data science tutorial. This starting tutorial is a great way to ease into the vast and complex world of data science. After completing the tutorial, build on what you’ve learned by taking additional courses such as data analytics, artificial intelligence, and Power BI.

A data scientist can’t have too much knowledge or too many skills, and the previous courses will flesh out your data science skillset and prepare you for greater things.

Finally, you’re ready for the most comprehensive of Simplilearn’s data science courses, the Data Scientist Master’s program in collaboration with IBM. This program offers six key data science courses, providing you with over 30 in-demand skills and tools and more than 15 real-life projects.

You can get broad exposure to key concepts and tools from Python, R to Machine Learning, and more with the Post Graduate Program in Data Science in partnership with Purdue University in collaboration with IBM, and featuring the perfect mix of theory, case studies and extensive hands-on practicum.

According to Indeed, data scientists can earn an average of USD 121,684, hitting over USD 140K after gaining three to five years of work experience.

Simplilearn offers you a smoother, more cost-effective way of attaining your data scientist goals. Check them out today and take the first steps toward that new career!

About the Author

John TerraJohn Terra

John Terra lives in Nashua, New Hampshire and has been writing freelance since 1986. Besides his volume of work in the gaming industry, he has written articles for Inc.Magazine and Computer Shopper, as well as software reviews for ZDNet. More recently, he has done extensive work as a professional blogger. His hobbies include running, gaming, and consuming craft beers. His refrigerator is Wi-Fi compliant.

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