Possibilities of Data Science by Vance Matthews

by tuftsigl
Jul 27

The 2016 Session 2 Data Science Students, Teacher and TA on top of Lion’s Head overlooking Cape Town

I did not know what to expect when I first embarked on the iXperience program in South Africa. This two-month program teaches you a particular skill, then throws you right into the industry after the course to practice what you’ve learned. I decided to take the data science course, and it has been the most intellectually rigorous experience I ever had.

I came in knowing very little about data, but by the end of the course, I

  1. Built accurate models to predict the likelihood someone has parkinson’s based on their vocal frequencies
  2. Built a twitter bot that ranks the sentiment of the top 10 box office movies, and suggests what top ten movie you should see.
  3. Worked with a 15 person team on an iOS and web application and created the backend server

On top of that, I’ve built countless visualizations and met some of the brightest students from all over the world—and it has only been one month. During my month here, I’ve also been experiencing some of what South Africa has to offer. The course has planned excursions ranging from shark cage diving and hiking trips to surfing lessons and visiting wildlife reservations. On my own time, I’ve explored deeper into Cape Town, learning about its complicated history related to apartheid and its current political state as well.

While I am here, I hope to dive deeper into the history of the Mother City and gain a deeper understanding of its rich culture and background. Currently, I am working at Ker and Downey Africa, an African Travel Agency, and I am building models to show the factors that lead to a successful sale. Along with that, I am restructuring their databases and helping develop a backend server to streamline all the data the company has into one place.

This has truly been an unforgettable experience so far, but it is only half way over. I look forward to what the next four weeks bring.