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As Bootcamp Deadline Approaches, Sr. Data Scientist Discusses Value of Immersive Learning

By Emily Wilson • February 26, 2018

As we approach another Final Application Deadline (Monday, March 5th!) for Data Science Bootcamps in Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago, and New York City, we sat down with Metis Sr. Data Scientist Jonathan Balaban to ask him about the value of the 12-week program. In the following Q&A, he talks about his professional background, why he wishes data science bootcamps had been around when he was learning and pursuing a career, and what students will get out of their time at Metis. 

What's your professional background? What brought you to teaching bootcamps at Metis? 
I have a background in Operations Research, which, when I graduated was about as close to the unborn field of data science as you could get, and a decade of experience in consulting. I absolutely loved my time consulting, as I had the chance to work with, private, startup, and philanthropic clients. That whirlwind tour of industries gave me a strong appreciation for what data and science could and could not do. All the while, I adopted and applied new models and techniques as they arrived.

A few years ago, I learned of a brand new way for students and professionals to quickly train as data scientists: the bootcamp model. My first thought was “wow, I wish this was available when I started!” I was asked by a local school to guest lecture, then to teach an evening course, then to help pilot an immersive data science program from scratch. I joined Metis’s Chicago campus for our kickoff at this location early last year, and have been having a blast teaching our amazing students!

From your perspective, what are the benefits of enrolling in a data science bootcamp?
There’s NO faster, more curated way to become a data scientist. If you have the STEM background via academia or work experience, our prework modules prepare you to get the most out of the three-month intensive. And the curriculum is designed to maximize your learning and impact when you start your job. The university experience? It's ideal for certain roles, and some schools are very good at focusing on the practical, but let’s be honest: how much of what you learned in college is directly used in your daily job? Students at Metis build a portfolio of code, analysis, and models that’s fully designed to be shared with employers.

What should incoming students expect?
A challenging but fully rewarding journey through the world of data science. A diverse group of peers that are highly motivated to get the most from the immersive, but also to share their unique knowledge. Career support that’s tailored to the markets and industries you want to work in. Instructors with a wealth of data science knowledge, who are given dedicated time for research, conferences, and training that fundamentally enriches their students’ experience. And finally, membership into an international network (many of our grads work abroad as data scientists) of alumni who help, refer, and even hire each other!

You've taught at two Metis campuses. Did you notice that different markets have varying needs/interests?
Absolutely! Chicago and Seattle have their own culture, companies, and required skills. Our local instructors and careers managers have expertise for what’s desired in each region. A key Metis strategy is to partner with leading data science companies in each region. These partners hire our grads, attend our events, and give us feedback on which skill sets they most need. This informs our curriculum and as we help students market themselves. We also have senior data scientists visit and share their perspectives weekly.

The final application deadline is coming right up. Why do you think interested folks should apply now (as opposed to holding off until later on)?
Procrastinators never prosper :). But seriously, Metis has a collaborative admissions team that will provide feedback, curated prework modules to maximize your training experience, and the ability to tailor your start date and location. So, if you are not sure you’re ready, when or where you’d like to take the program, or have other concerns, start the application. Start the conversation. We’ll give you a roadmap to launch your new career!

The final application deadline for the next bootcamps in Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago, and New York City is Monday, March 5th! Apply now

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