4 NOVEMBER 2014 Consulting®
ShortTakes Trends, Views and Analysis
Data Science Download
Booz Allen Principal says data scientists are critical to a company’s overall success
Last month, Booz Allen Hamilton
announced the release of its Explore Data
Science online training program, a self-paced, hands-on course geared toward
all levels of data science proficiency.
With more than 40 hours of content,
the program features galactic-themed
gamification elements that teach common
data science principles.“In today’s highly
competitive marketplace, being able to
effectively compile, manage and analyze
data is critically important to a business’
growth, strategic development and overall
success,” says Booz Allen Hamilton’s Peter
Guerra, a Principal in the firm’s Strategic
Innovation Group. Guerra, who leads a
team of data scientists within Booz Allen,
sat down with Consulting to discuss
Explore Data Science and the demand
he’s seeing for data science expertise.
Consulting: What was the thinking behind
the launching of Explore Data Science?
Guerra: About a year ago, several of us at
Booz Allen Hamilton decided we would sit
down and completely rethink how we train
our staff around data science. We were seeing a clear demand—across all industries—
for data science expertise, but it far exceeded
the available supply of trained professionals.
By introducing training like Explore Data
Science, we’re providing companies and individuals with a resource, while empowering
an increasingly data-driven workforce. In
addition, we had noticed that a lot of the different training programs that were out there
weren’t really providing the right tools.
Consulting: How did Explore Data Science
come to be?
Guerra: We initially developed a training
program and launched it internally, and it
just took off. We have over 700 of our staff
that are either going through or have already
gone through it over the last six months.
We’ve gotten overwhelming positive feedback from them about how engaging it is,
and how they are able to iteratively learn,
specifically learning as it pertains to their
client challenges. So, we’re thrilled.
Consulting: So, that was internal. But this
training product is also being offered ex-
ternally, as well, correct?
Guerra: That’s right. So, we started showing this to our clients, and they were really
excited about it. Even though a lot of them
have their own training programs, they
were very interested and they started asking us if they could buy the training from
us. So that’s what we just announced a few
weeks ago, that we were making Explore
Data Science available to anybody who was
interested in it.
Consulting: What’s the overall goal of the
training program? Are you selling an off-the
shelf solution or an advisory engagement?
Guerra: The ultimate goal is to help broaden
the skill sets some people have, as well as
to broaden the common base of knowledge
around how to do very advanced analytics.
And to answer the second part of your question, what we’re selling is access to the Ex-ploreDataScience.com Web site for anyone
that wants to learn these data science concepts. Some of it is resulting in an enhanced
Peter Guerra of
Booz Allen Hamilton