Excel. Probability & Statistics. R. Tableau. Data Mining. SQL. These make up the essential toolbox of a data analyst.

Students across the country are mastering these tools and more through Level, a 2-month data analytics bootcamp that began January 24. The program is running simultaneously at Northeastern University’s campuses in Charlotte, Silicon Valley, Boston and here in Seattle.

From 9 to 5, Monday through Friday, Level students take over the Vashon classroom at our 225 Terry Ave. N location. The morning focuses on lectures and class with expert instructors, in the afternoons students work together to tackle real-world experiential projects. They present their findings and progress daily. It’s a cycle that will prepare them for a career in data science.

Whether in between jobs or looking to transition careers into an in-demand field, the Seattle students came to Level with a variety of backgrounds – Bachelor’s degrees in Microbiology, Economics, Physics, Mathematics, Communication and Media Studies, Social Sciences and Mechanical Engineering.


Analytics for the Office, Not the Classroom

Key to the Level experience is deep integration of local employer partners into the curriculum. RivalIQ, Project Caspini, and Moz are the three Seattle companies sponsoring projects this cohort. These projects will present actual business problems that students must work together to solve, providing valuable experience for the students and tangible results for the partnering companies.

In addition, a host of companies are providing leading experts to infuse the education with direct-from-industry context and enhance the professional development emphasis of the final weeks of the camp. Slated to guest lecture over the next few weeks are:

  • Brian Trinen, Sr. Manager Enterprise Analytics, Nordstrom
  • Ben Jones, Director of Product Marketing of Tableau Public
  • Julie Koesmarno, Senior Program Manager, Microsoft, MS SQL Girl
  • Josh Maher, President of Seattle Angel
  • Patrick O’Hagan, Director of Market Planning, and Laurence Norton, Director of Business Intelligence Strategy & Solutions, Starbucks
  • Jim Knapik, Data Science Technology Leader
  • Nick Dimitrov, Tech Principal, Developer Relations and Business Development, Amazon Game Studios (and a Northeastern Alum!)

The industry integration was present from day one when a trio of regional experts participated in a panel Q&A with the eager new students.

VOR_9436Jim Knapik, Data Science Technology Leader and Co-Lecturer of Level, T.A. McCann, Founder of Rival IQ, and Ben Jones, Director of Product Marketing of Tableau Public on the industry Q&A with Nick Ducoff, Vice President of New Ventures at Northeastern University and Founder of Level.

The panel discussed the paths they took that led to an analytics career and described a fast-paced, constantly evolving field that has created a high-demand for knowledgable data analysts.

“Every problem has more data than you would have thought about, it just keeps growing,” said Knapik.

When describing what quality they look for in hiring, the panel described an ability to take initiative, inquisitiveness and resourcefulness.

“Confidence and humility are key,” said McCann “You have to believe in yourself that you can get it done, but you can’t be cocky. You have to be able to ask for help.”

Meet Level’s Seattle Instructor: Rutu Mulkar

Despite the increase of machine processing and demand for skills-driven learning, the core value of analysis will ultimately lie in the sound judgement of an analyst to evaluate the data credibility and tell its story, according to Ducoff.

“As more and more people, like each of you, are equipped with skills. It’s going to come down to, what decisions can I make based on this data,” Ducoff told the cohort. “It becomes a very human driven process.