To deal with the shortage of data scientists, a new “hacker bootcamp” is being offered for data scientists in New York this summer. “The Data Incubator” will run for six weeks during the summer; it is designed to bring together the brightest engineers and scientists and move them into data science careers.

Started by Michael Li, who previously worked for NASA and Foursqaure, the programme will be free for all those accepted. “We’re really trying to turn the educational model on its head,” said Li. “The idea that you should pay for your own training when you’re so close to being employable — I just don’t think it’s right.”

However, acceptance into the programme will not be easy. Currently sifting through more than 1,000 applications, Li compared the acceptance rate to Harvard’s, “We cannot accept 5.8 percent [Harvard’s rate], It’s just not possible.”

The programme is said to consist of crafting a portfolio project, where attendees will be asked to “gather and clean data, apply some meaningful machine learning methods and statistical analyses, and showcase or visualize the results in an engaging, digestible manner.”

Although there are other programmes that have a similar aim to to equip people with the skills to become a data scientist – Zipfian Academy and Insight Data Science, to name just a few – there is still a huge market for Li’s idea. With McKinsey Global Institute estimating that by 2018 the U.S. will face a shortage of up to 190,000 people with the right skills to make sense of big data, initiatives like The Data Incubator will continue to rise in popularity and importance.

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(Image Credit: Sebastiaan ter Burg)


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