Hacking data science learning with David Venturi
January 25, 2021
David Venturi is an educator and curator of data science curriculums. After majoring in Chemical Engineering & Economics, David pivoted into programming and data science and fell in love with online education. He created his own Data Science Masters' curriculum, replicating the experience from top universities - his story went viral and David started creating courses at Udacity and DataCamp.
Today, David is building out his vision for education in the digital age with Not a Real Degree. His mission: take his curated data science curriculum, update it for 2021, then add a vibrant community.
Benefits of online vs. traditional learning
In 2015, David dropped out of school to create his own data science master's program made up of online resources. In our conversation, he outlined some reasons of why he chose to dive into online education in the first place. "It's more efficient, you can consume information in bite-sized chunks and do it from anywhere and anytime. It's also way more cost-effective". The curriculum he built for himself initially came to about $1,000 compared to 10x - 100x in tuition fees at universities he picked his courses from.
David highlighted the availability and selection of content, as well as the ability to incorporate latest edtech inventions, like interactive quizzes, autograding, engagement software. "Deepnote is a screaming example of this, I'm excited to see what will be possible when I use it in my program", David said. He pointed to the real-time collaboration feature in Deepnote that helps learners engage with the tutor and each other directly within the development environment.
Challenges of online education
David also talks about the challenges of online education. "It's not for everyone, as a student, you need to want to learn and be disciplined". He noted that a curriculum with a clearly defined starting and end point makes it much easier for students to stay disciplined.
In our interview, David also shared his ambition of building a communtity around his next curriculum, to fight the online fatigue and keep learners motivated and engaged.
"You need to want to learn and be disciplined."
Advice for data science self-learners
We asked David for advice for fellow data science self-learners. His #1 tip is to get online and learn in public. "Don't do it because of the traction, rather approach it as something that can inspire confidence in yourself and create exposure with future employers or clients." The medium is irrelevant - a ton of people have success with Youtube and vlogs, you can capture your thoughts in a blog or a social media post.
"When it comes to specific resources, I've spent about 2-3 months curating a list for the data science curriculum that I'm building right now." David's Not a Real Degree curriculum contains courses, books, individual blogposts and career resources. The curriculum is available online, and there's no application process. "The only cost is for the online courses themselves, which comes to a couple of $100s, depending on the time of your program completion", David said.
"Don't do it because of the traction, but as something that can inspire your confidence."
References mentioned in the podcast
Learn more David's course: This is Not a Real Data Science Degree
People to follow:
- David Robinson, Principal Data scientist @ Heap, formerly Stack Overflow & DataCamp
- Michael Chow, Creator of Siuba
Recommended Python library: Siuba, a library for flexible data analysis over multiple data sources