Are data analytics bootcamps the next big thing?

by Andreas Rekdal
March 25, 2016

Believe the hype: data science is here to stay.

Since 2013,

has been offering a full-time data science bootcamp in New York. Tailored specifically for people with some experience coding and an aptitude for math, the program expanded to San Francisco last year, where it’s about to commence its second class. Now, the company has its eyes set on Chicago.

This week, Metis announced it will be offering a part-time course in machine learning, taught by machine learning consultant Jeremy Watt, who holds a PhD from Northwestern and has authored an upcoming textbook on the subject.

The 36 hour course will start in July and take place over six weeks. The twice-weekly three-hour evening sessions will take place at ’s offices. (Dev Bootcamp and Metis are both owned and operated by Kaplan, of test prep course fame.)

Metis co-founder and GM Jason Moss (pictured right) said Chicago is a natural fit for the company’s next move.

“It’s got all of the characteristics we’re looking for” he said. “It’s a very happening, technically sophisticated market, and like in many markets there is an embrace of data science, but employers are struggling to find people for those roles.”

The company also has some longstanding connections to Chicago. Its bootcamp curriculum was developed in partnership with

— a Chicago-based data consulting firm.

Moss said launching a part-time course is also a good way for the company to get a feel for the market before considering a Midwest expansion of its full-time bootcamp.

Like a developer bootcamp, Metis emphasizes hands-on experience. Students work with messy, real world data, learning the tools and skills required to turn raw data into insights. Over the course of the 12-week, full-time program, participants split their time between pair programming, lectures and individual and group projects. During that time, participants will complete five projects that serve as a portfolio to present to potential employers.

Compared with the full-time boot camp, which is more tailored toward people looking to make a drastic career change, Moss said the part-time machine learning course is a good option for techies and statisticians looking to broaden their horizons or gain new skills to further their careers. Moss estimates that between one-half and one-third of participants in the company’s part-time programs are sponsored by their employers.

“The percentage of people who are working with data of some kind in their current jobs and want to get better at it — that’s an enormous market,” he said. “There’s lots of companies out there that are looking to invest in their teams, and will gladly pay $2,500 for you to get better at using algorithms, D3 or using Spark to access Big Data.”

Images via Metis.

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