How to Pick the Best Data Science Bootcamp to Fast-Track Your Career

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Demand for data scientists is at an all-time high, leading to a rush to sign up for the best data science learning programs. For those looking to fast-track their data science learning, joining one of the top bootcamps is a viable career choice. However, one needs to figure out which bootcamp can actually lead to a high paying job.

You’ve decided that a data science bootcamp will help jumpstart your career. You are ready to invest the time (approximately 3 to 6 months) and money (up to U.S. $20,000+) to fast-track your way to a high-paying job. You carefully evaluated the advantages of attending a bootcamp (strategic training involving mentoring by instructors/guest lecturers, collaboration with cohorts, networking and career services) over self-taught online learning. But before you sign the dotted line, here are five critical questions you must consider to ensure your expectations are met:  

Do You Have the Prerequisite Knowledge To Do Well in the Program?

Three to six months is too short to learn all there is to know about data science from scratch. Therefore, before applying, you should look into what specific knowledge is required for the particular bootcamps you are considering, especially pre-course studies, to learn basic concepts. 

To increase your chances of being admitted into a data science bootcamp, you should at least come to it with foundational quantitative, programming, statistics, math, database, and machine learning skills, as well as business acumen. Some programs require a foundational background in data science and analysis, while many require a bachelor’s or master’s degree in science, technology, engineering or math. If you have a bachelor’s or master’s degree or PhD in a quantitative field, then you’re already halfway on your way to a data science career. However, if you don’t have a quantitative degree, you will need to sharpen your math skills, including linear algebra, calculus, statistics, and probability, before applying. 

Learn more: 9 Skills You Need to Become a Freelance Data Scientist in 2021 

Will Bootcamp Career Services Help You Get a High-Paying Data Science Job?

You will want to compare each bootcamp’s career resources. For instance, how much time each bootcamp spends on soft skills, interviewing and whiteboarding to help you ace your post-bootcamp job interviews. Do they maintain a significant network of employers for you to access? Are there any restrictions to career support? For example, do you need to pass a final exam to avail yourself of their career services, or do they require a certain percentage of your first year’s salary if you obtain a job through them? 

Most bootcamps will tell you that a high percentage of their graduates obtain high-paying jobs in the field. Some even proclaim a 100% placement rate. But that, unfortunately, is not always to be believed. For example, some bootcamps have been found to have dropped students whom they feel will not be able to find a job and do not include them in their placement numbers. 

As a prospective student, you will need to do your research about placement rates. You should scrutinize any placement numbers about the bootcamp you are considering in terms of: 

  • What percentage of their students were placed in actual data science roles? 
  • What percentage of students were placed within one to three months of finishing the program? (You should hesitate to join a bootcamp whose students take over four months to find a job.) 
  • What percentage of students were looking for a job after bootcamp? (Some placement numbers often include students who go back to their jobs before entering the program.) 
  • What is the median salary and starting salary range for students placed through the bootcamp? 

Finally, it is good to schedule an informational interview with employers who hire bootcamp grads to learn whether they are familiar with the program(s) you are considering and whether they regard its graduates as equally or better equipped for the job than their other hires. Have they rejected recent graduates of the bootcamps that you are considering? If so, why? 

Learn more: Are Graph Databases the Next Big Thing for Big Data Analytics? 

Does It Provide You With Networking Opportunities in the Field?

While a large part of what you learn will be in the form of lectures and interactions with your bootcamp instructors, more than half of your learning will be in the form of collaboration with your cohorts on the course materials and projects. Often your cohorts will become friends, coworkers, and collaborators. Hence, it would help if you looked for a bootcamp that consists of students with a wide variety of past educational and professional experiences. 

Another source of networking is the bootcamp’s alumni. Look for a bootcamp that has an active and collaborative alumni network that can provide you with jobs and access to new opportunities. In the end, what you’ll learn from a specific bootcamp will depend not only on the curriculum but also on the people you will be interacting with and the industry connections you’ll make.  

Are the Instructors Qualified To Teach All the Nuances of Data Science?

It is essential to determine who your instructors will be and whether they are qualified. Do they have the appropriate quantitative degrees? At the very least, you will want your instructor to have experience working with the technologies they teach. One way you can learn about their qualifications and experience is through their LinkedIn profiles. Does an individual’s profile list experience in the industry at well-known firms and show a history of career progression in data science? Has the individual written any scholarly peer-reviewed publications? 

Learn more: Data Is the New Oil, and That Makes It an Environmental Hazard

Where to begin your search for the right bootcamps?

Now that you know what questions to ask, it’s time to look for the best data science bootcamps. One source you can consider is SwitchUp’s 2021 Best Data Science BootcampsOpens a new window . They also have a list of the 10 Best Data Science Bootcamps based on hundreds of alumni reviews. These include: 

  • WeCloudData 
  • Propulsion Academy 
  • CodingNomads 
  • Practicum by Yandex 
  • Data Science Dojo 
  • Jedha 
  • Coding Temple 
  • The Dev Masters 
  • Metis 
  • RMOTR 

Conclusion

If you are planning to join a bootcamp to advance your career in data science and get more lucrative job offers, these five guidelines will come in handy. They can help you find the bootcamp that is best suited for you, fulfils all your expectations and is in line with your career goals as a data scientist or analyst. 

Do you think bootcamps can fast-track one’s career in data science? Comment below or let us know on LinkedInOpens a new window , TwitterOpens a new window , or FacebookOpens a new window . We would love to hear from you!