The field of data science is rapidly growing and so is the demand for skilled professionals in this area. There have been numerous large scale investments like the Chips act, especially in technology defining industries that are enablers for growth in the Data and analytics field. Glassdoor reported Data science jobs as the top 5 jobs in America in 2022 and yet there is a talent gap around ability to leverage and act on data as a business differentiator. This makes it highly critical to educate and inspire students to consider this field for future studies.
With this goal in mind, Women in Big Data (WiBD) NW chapter, conducted the first ever Data Science Varsity (DSV) program in partnership with Oregon State University, University of Portland and supported by Intel Corp. WiBD NW aspires to engage with local educators, attract the new generation of talent to Data Science and technology fields and establish a deeper collaboration with industry partners through networking. The 3-month long Data Varsity program was designed to advance students in their technical acumen of data skills and leadership through a data challenge. There were 4 teams involved.
The participating students were mentored by experienced leaders at Intel as they completed this challenge. They then presented their learnings and their experiences along with submitting the projects and the solutions they were working on to a variety of industry leaders on April 28th.
All members of the WiBD nonprofit community are volunteers with the goal of paying it forward through such initiatives. It was fulfilling to see students developing interest in this field, learning new coding skills with little to no prior experience and delivering results in a highly competitive environment. Participation from executives and leaders from other companies made this event all the more special. A huge kudos to Janet George, Corporate VP DCAI Intel Corp for being our opening speaker and kicking off the event. Link to the recording.
Over 500 volunteering hours, coupled with passion for data and drive to grow the future leaders in this space, the team successfully delivered the varsity program and is looking forward to another one next year. This is our way of paying it forward by opening up possibilities for our students to grow and harness the skills one varsity group at a time driving inclusive education for our next generation.