Data science is a lucrative career space. According to the BLS, the average data scientist earns $98,230 annually, with some high-earning individuals earning $165,230 annually. According to a McKinsey report, the demand for data science grew at a rate of 12% in 2016, with a shortage of 250,000 data scientists expected in the US by 2024.
These compelling figures are part of the reasons why some people opt to pursue a data science career. We have developed this guide to help you understand how data science boot camps can help you build and scale your career.
So let’s start with the basics.
What Is a Data Science Boot Camp?
Whether you are considering a data science transition, you will need the right set of skills to help you navigate the discipline. You can acquire these data science skills through various certification programs including a traditional degree or a boot camp. Each comes with its advantages and disadvantages. But for this article, we will focus on online data science boot camps.
A data science bootcamp is a short-term, intensive program designed to prepare you for a data science career. Data science boot camps come in all shapes and sizes to meet the diverse needs learners have.
These include part-time, full-time, self-paced, and instructor-led programs. Now, with advancements in technology, you can find these boot camps online to access at your convenience.
Let’s look briefly at each type of data science boot camp:
Full-time boot camps
These are ideal for learners who want the full intense learning experience. Learners in a full-time boot camp can dedicate up to 40 hours per week to learning. Due to the intensity of these boot camps, you can crush any ambitions of working, even part-time while learning. Flatiron School is an example of an institution offering a full-time online data science program. Flatiron School also offers a flexible, part-time data science boot camp.
Part-time boot camps
Part-time boot camps are ideal for those who want a flexible schedule to learn and work. They require about 20 hours per week, which is a manageable commitment for those holding full-time jobs. While they take longer to complete, part-time boot camps may be less expensive than full-time bootcamps.
The Georgia Tech Data Science and Analytics Boot Camp is a good example of a part-time program. Learners in the program attend evening and weekend classes over 24 weeks.
Do you love the freedom to learn on your terms? Self-paced data science boot camps could be the best fit for you. These programs allow you to learn at your pace and when you find the time. Some data science boot camps are also designed to target individuals of different backgrounds. For example, those who want to build on their statistics and programming background can explore the 100% online data science boot camp from the University of North Florida.
The bottom line is, having an aptitude for math and statistics makes it easier when learning in data science boot camps. However, you could come from any academic background or program, as long as you are ready to put in the work it takes to become a data science professional.
What to Expect from a Data Science Boot Camp?
Whether you choose a full-time, part-time, or self-paced data science boot camp, you can expect to learn similar curriculum:
Data cleaning and transformation
Machine learning (supervised learning, unsupervised learning, and deep learning)
Front-end web visualization
Business intelligence software
Big data analytics
Capstone projects and other hands-on projects
In addition to a curriculum, different programs offer support services to help you during and after the boot camp. BrainStation, for example, provides career services and accountability programs to support its learners as they build their data science careers.
Rutgers Center for Innovative Education also offers its students extensive career services. These services provided by Rutgers cover portfolio reviews, soft skills training, resume support, interview training, social media profile support, and access to an alumni network and skill development opportunities. The University of New Hampshire also offers student support programs for its boot camp learners. Those eyeing further education by pursuing a boot camp can go for options such as the SMU Continuing and Professional Education data science boot camp, which gives credit for boot camp learners who want to pursue a Master of Science in Data Science at SMU.
How Much Do Data Science Boot Camps Cost?
The cost of an online data science boot camp varies depending on the institution and the type of boot camp. In general, full-time boot camps carry a higher tuition than part-time or self-paced ones. You’ll find, however, that full-time and part-time boot camps are a lower tuition than traditional academic degrees, with a median cost of $11,900. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you cannot access financial aid, or take advantage of various financial programs and discounts for data science bootcamps.
Springboard offers a self-paced data science bootcamp, which you pay for only after securing a data science job. Programs like the Metis data science programs offer different financing plans for learners as follows:
Zero-interest installment plans
Financing plans through its lending partners
A $3000 scholarship for women, veterans of the U.S. military, members of underrepresented groups, and the LGBTQ community.
Some boot camps also provide income-sharing agreements to help you pay for your data science boot camp.
Benefits of Online Data Science Boot Camps?
Boot camps are one of the alternatives to fast-track your career without pursuing an academic degree. But why would you choose a data science boot camp over a traditional academic program? Here are the benefits of an online data science boot camp:
Online data science boot camps are highly flexible. They offer convenient access to your classes at a time most suitable to you. Part-time and self-paced programs are more flexible than full-time ones.
The flexibility of an online coding bootcamp does not stop here. Online boot camp instructors will typically adapt the curriculum to reflect changes in the industry, faster than academic programs can. The University of Pennsylvania College of Liberal and Professional Studies and School of Engineering and Applied Science is a good example of a data science boot camp whose curriculum changes often to reflect industry developments.
Faster Career Preparedness
Data science boot camps are intentionally designed to provide the required skills in a shorter time. These accelerated programs mean that you are ready for your next career path in a shorter time than it would take with an online or traditional academic program.
In addition, according to the self-reported data from bootcamp providers, graduates report an increase in salary within three to six months of graduation. Since most data science bootcamp programs provide access to career services and alumni, you have the opportunity to find a job in data science faster through networking directly with the bootcamp provider.
You Establish a Professional Network
Online data science boot camps provide access to other professionals on the same path as you. These could be your classmates, study groups, instructors, or speakers at these boot camps. Forming connections with these professionals broadens your understanding of the field. Your professional network could also be the link to your next job.
You Gain In-Demand Data Science Skills
Data science boot camps are highly flexible. Their curriculum evolves fast to match the changing industry. As such, completing an online data science boot camp means you are learning the most in-demand and critical skills for your data science career.
Some of the skills you learn in these boot camps include data science programming, data analytics, statistical programming, probability and statistics, statistical visualization, machine learning among others. Some data science boot camps are designed to offer you in-demand skills in the shortest time possible. This bootcamp program from IE Universidad offers an intensive two-day boot camp focused on R programming.
Bootcamp Graduation May Add Value on Your Resume
Increasingly high profile employers are turning to bootcamp graduates to find and hire rising talent. Disclosing your bootcamp educational experience and listing the projects you completed and skills you obtained from your boot camp will make a difference in your job search efforts. The New Jersey Institute of Technology provides a hands-on data science and analytics curriculum that exposes learners to real-world projects. If these projects are a match to a potential employer, they are more likely to hire you.
This means that, even as you complete your data science boot camp, you should develop unique projects based on real-world problems in the industry you want to work in. Highlighting these projects in your resume is proof that you can apply the skills you learned.
In addition to these general benefits, some programs are designed to benefit a certain set of individuals. Therefore, you want to look at the people who would benefit most from a program before you enroll. A good example is UNM Continuing Education’s online data science program which targets people with an interest in data science and data engineering, with knowledge of at least one programming language. The program offers pre-boot camp materials to those who don’t meet the prerequisites.
The Curriculum of Data Science Boot Camps
Data science boot camps are often designed with beginners in mind. These beginners may have a high aptitude for math, but lack the information technology skill sets required for a data science career. Most data science boot camps tailor their curriculums to these learners from the outset of curriculum design. While this does not mean that it won’t be hard work to learn, the process is easier than when you go at it yourself.
Let’s look at how a few data science programs structure their classes and curriculum: