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Booz Allen takes data science training online

Thor Olavsrud | Oct. 21, 2014
Aiming to make data science training more accessible, Booz Allen Hamilton introduces a hands-on online training course complete with gamification elements.

The self-paced course offers more than 40 hours of content featuring galactic-themed gamification elements that teach data science principles while guiding students through increasingly advanced, scenario-based challenges.

Students face 32 distinct "missions" in which they code in Python to transform raw information into business insights. When they complete a level, they earn points, awards and badges that they can share on social media. Organizations can also deploy leaderboards that show participants' progress through the missions and their efficiency at resolving them (based on things such as how many hints they had to access to solve the problem). At the end, participants receive a certificate signifying their completion of the course.

"We initially created this training internally," Guerra says. Clients who saw it asked that it be made more broadly available.

"This way of learning complex techniques is one that's well suited for these types of problems," Guerra says. "We really need to narrow the skills gap, and we think this will help build a base of data scientists that can then be deployed into the enterprise."

He adds: "The goal of this is not to make piles of money. It's to educate a workforce. We see the coming growth of analytics, and workers have to be prepared for that."

Explore Data Science is available in both individual and group pricing. Guerra notes that Booz Allen Hamilton is starting to partner with academic institutions on the learning front; he expects the offering to expand over time.


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