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Cornell Tech-funded startup launching bootcamp for data scientists

Jaikumar Vijayan | May 2, 2014
Advanced academic backgrounds in statistics, mathematics, and other science and technology fields usually provide the raw analytical skills required for a data scientist's job. But even with such skills, some additional prep work is generally needed to handle such a job in private industry.

"All our graduating fellows are looking to take positions as data scientists and quants in industry," he said.

Several companies, including Foursquare, Mashable, Truveris, Flatiron Health, which specializes in oncology-related data analytics, and online marketplace Etsy have already agreed to hire graduating fellows.

Truveris, a provider of analytics and reporting services to the pharmacy benefits industry, handles data pertaining to roughly one in 10 of all prescriptions filled in the U.S. The company helps insurance firms and others in the healthcare industry sift through mountains of prescription data to help drive better efficiencies and cut costs.

Finding people to do the complex analytics can be challenging said AJ Loiacono, co-founder and executive vice president of Truveris. So far, the company has had a fair degree of luck finding people through universities and word-of-mouth, he said.

Loiacono said he's impressed that the program focuses on the analytical and technical side as well as the applied programming and pragmatic skills. "We could try and get someone up to speed any time in house. But it is not a recipe for success," he said.

San Francisco-based Zipfian Academy, meanwhile, offers a crash course for people with quantitative backgrounds who are interested in a career in data science.

Unlike Li's bootcamp, Zipfian's immersive data science training program costs a cool $16,000 for 12 weeks. But it offers a $4,000 reimbursement to graduates that accept a position through its hiring program.

Zipfian also offers scholarships and payment plans to help program participants pay for the course. Among the companies hiring from Zipfian are Facebook, Khan Academy and Chartio.


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