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NYC data science bootcamp prepares students for in-demand career

Irmak Sirer lectures during Metis's Data Science Bootcamp.

Irmak Sirer lectures during Metis's Data Science Bootcamp. Photo Credit: Meredith Deliso

Can you explain what the Monty Hall problem is? Know how to write code? Taken a stats class? If you've answered yes, data science might be up your alley.

The emerging field is hot: LinkedIn named statistical analysis and data mining one of the 25 hottest skills that got people hired in 2014, while McKinsey predicts that the U.S. could face a shortage of 140,000 to 190,000 people with analytical expertise by 2018.

Kaplan is looking to help meet that demand -- and get future data scientists in the field fast -- with its new bootcamp, Metis, a 12-week program comprised of lectures, hands-on work, networking and career support.

"As more and more data has become available, employers are struggling with, how do I extract value from this?" said Jason Moss, co-founder of Metis. "Over a short period of time, we can help people accelerate their careers as data scientists and become prepared for jobs in that field."

Indeed, data scientists often have advanced degrees, but Kaplan is looking to fast track those candidates with the necessary skillset and knowledge.

Metis launched last fall and currently is in the middle of its second bootcamp. Applications are now being accepted for its spring bootcamp, held April 6 to June 26. Early applications are due Feb. 16. Tuition is $14,000.

The application process is fairly inclusive -- no degrees are required.

"We have intentionally avoided that ... because you can get that knowledge through a lot of ways," Moss said. "Hungry individuals, we experience, many of them are self-taught."

At the same time, the program is competitive. People with a background in statistics and programming and who are strong communicators are good candidates. The current cohort of 21 students includes people with backgrounds in chemistry, marketing, linguistics and computer science.

The bootcamp is held at WeWork's NoMad facility on Madison Avenue. Throughout the 12 weeks, students learn such skills and areas as web scraping, regression and unsupervised machine learning while also working on five projects where they can apply these skills, for a mix of education and practice that aims to help graduates stay ahead in an ever-evolving field.

"Technologies change so fast now, an important skill to try to teach is adaptability," said Metis lecturer Irmak Sirer of Datascope Analytics. "You have a foundation to learn from scratch."

In addition to the lectures and project time, students also can take advantage of networking opportunities and get help from a talent placement team during and after the bootcamp. About half of the 15 students from the first cohort have found jobs since graduating in December. Among them is Alex Block, a recent graduate of Union College with a degree in computer science who was having trouble breaking into the field until he did the bootcamp.

"I felt like I was a more complete candidate than I'd been before," said Block, who recently started as a solution engineer with IBM Watson. "One of the big things for me was just the confidence that I would have because I had this portfolio of projects, which was really valuable."

Metis will hold an open house Feb. 3, 6:30 p.m., at 79 Madison Ave., 3rd Fl. For more information, visit


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