News & Blog

“Beyond Big Data” Week at The Data Lab

Posted on February 26, 2016

This week was a busy one at The Data Lab. We hosted our first CTO Away Day, and a very popular Masterclass with Michael Li, one of the worlds leading Data Scientists; all of which was followed by another great edition of the Scotland Data Science and Technology Meetup.

Activities began on Tuesday, when Michael Li, founder of The Data Incubator in New York. The Data Incubator runs a fellowship identifying the top 2% of STEM PhDs looking to work with partner companies, which range from larger firms like Goldman Sachs or Genetch or to smaller companies like Betterment or Yelp.

When hiring data scientists, people tend to focus primarily on technical qualifications. It’s hard to find candidates who have the right mix of computational and statistical skills. But other soft skills are important too. Michael discussed the key attributes The Data Incubator's partners look for in data scientists, and how they identify those attributes. Around one hundred attendees enjoyed his talk, followed with an interesting Q&A, and a networking lunch.

CTO Away Day - "Beyond Big Data"

The Data Lab's first CTO Away day took place on 23 and 24 February in The George Hotel in Edinburgh. It all started with a networking dinner hosting our group of CTOs and a few other guests. After dinner, guests had the opportunity to hear from Tim Harford, The Undercover Economist. Tim is an economist, journalist and broadcaster. He is author of the million-selling “The Undercover Economist”, a senior columnist at the Financial Times, and the presenter of Radio 4’s “More or Less”. Tim talked about a few case studies that illustrated the potential of Big Data, but also its limitations. This generated an engaged and very interesting discussion between attendees.

The next day, we had a very productive day of insightful discussion during our "Beyond Big Data" workshop. The main topics included Education and Skills, Best Practice and Futures. For each topic we had a couple of guest speakers, followed by a panel discussion, and finally group work around each topic. Many great ideas came up during the event, and we hope to see some of them implemented soon.

This was just the first of a series of events that The Data Lab will continue to organize, with the aim of driving discussion and innovation in the field of Data Science in Scotland.

Upcoming events

Some of the main activities we have coming up in the short term include Data Talent Scotland, a collider event bringing together 150 postgraduate data science students and 200 data enthusiasts, 11 universities and 50 businesses from across Scotland. This event will connect new data talent and education with industry, providing businesses with a fantastic opportunity to access the best of Scotland’s data science talent and education.There are opportunities to sponsor, exhibit or attend the event. For more information visit www.datatalentscotland.com or get in touch.

Another activity within our skills and talent development remit, is an intensive Data Science Summer School in Edinburgh during June 2016 with modules on Data Visualisation/Verbalisation, Advanced Python and Machine Learning aimed at Data professionals working in Scottish organisations. More information on the summer school is to come soon, so keep an eye on our blog, subscribe to our mailing list, and follow us on Twitter.

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