During the past years, the world has experienced a boom in data accumulation. Big data and data science are the new frontier for innovation and productivity. McKinsey estimates that the US will need approximately 200,000 data scientists and 1.5 million managers capable of transforming data into usable information in order to cover industry and government needs by 2020. The European Union expects 100,000 data-related jobs by 2020. Mexico will experience the same need, and it is urgent to create agents capable of understanding data and its potential and having the capabilities needed to process it and transform it into actionable information.
In light of this context, we co-organized the Data Science and Open Data Workshop for Beginners on the 11th of August 2017. This was part of the Labora program, founded by DEMOS (C Minds by PIDES and Dev.f), the National Digital Strategy Coordination and the Open Data Institute with support from the British Embassy in Mexico for the first generation of entrepreneurs. Labora is a platform for civic and social entrepreneurs that offers cutting-edge tools and connects entrepreneurs to a world-class network of companies, mentors and investors, with the aim of accelerating impact through data-led innovation.
Participants from over 14 government agencies, 2 universities, 17 civil organizations and 1 international NGO came together to answer questions we’ve all had at one point or another: What is data science and how can I use it? What could I achieve with a data team? What can I do with the open data produced by the public sector? How can we create data visualization and interaction tools? What is machine learning and how is it used?
These questions were answered throughout the day with a variety of talks and workshops given by topical experts. The day was divided among the following activities:
Talk n1: The Data Revolution and Basic Concepts by Andrea Barenque
Workshop n1: Tools of Trade for the Data Scientist by Christine Cook
Workshop n2: Common Sources of Data by Christine Cook
Workshop n3: Data Visualization 101: Tools and Best Practices by Alecs Garza
Talk n2: What’s next now that I have data? Machine learning and cases of use by Brian Salomaki
Talk n3: Successful Case Study by Alejandro Maza
One of our objectives at C Minds by PIDES, and particularly of our Academy for Resilience branch, is to connect citizens with the growing needs of the present. Although we cannot create data scientists in just one day, we consider it important to lay the foundations of data science and start spreading the word about the potential of data in our organizations and economy.
This workshop was the first of many that will seek to foster a data culture in Mexico and prepare employees for the country’s growing data science needs. Keep up with us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to be the first to know when we have a new one!