Africa’s largest institution devoted to data science, The Explore Data Science Academy (EDSA) has opened registrations for the July 1 intake of its 12 month, full-time data science learnership as well as its on-line courses.
Ambitious, smart learners who would like to kick-start their careers in data science – the ‘sexiest’ career choice of the 21st century- need to apply now for a slot in the programme.
Shaun Dippnall, co-founder of the EDSA, explains: “To date our cohort intakes have been in January only, but demand for data science skills and the calibre of candidates we select is such that we are now able to include a second cohort mid-year.”
Four hundred 400 places are available, 150 of which are fully-sponsored with the remaining 250 open to learners who can organise their own funding. For these students the fee for the year-long course is R60,000 - EDSA has a Money-Back Promise for these students if they do not get a job earning at least R240,000 per year within 6 months of completing the course.
EDSA also has an on-line option where students spend a few hours a day over a year learning valuable Data Science skills. Dippnalls says: ‘We have 150 learners on our on-line course at the moment - these are typically employees in companies who want to upskill to turbo-charge their careers. We see a strong growth in these numbers as we appeal to a broader audience of learners.’
Applications for the 12-month data science learnership are open to all. Applicants for the sponsored learnership should have a matric and be between 18 and 35 years of age. They must pass an online assessment and thereafter attend a data science boot camp and an interview with EDSA faculty members.
The July cohort will be hosted at the EDSA’s Braamfontein campus. “We opened our first campus in Cape Town but, with most big businesses located in Gauteng, a Johannesburg campus became necessary. We now have the breadth of faculty to be able to teach in both centres,” says Dippnall.
The numbers speak for themselves. In just three years the Academy has grown from 100 learners in 2018 to over 500 in January 2020. The mid-year intake will boost the total this year to over 900.
Dippnall says that the EDSA has a winning formula. “Our inclusive recruitment process is based on both attitude and aptitude and we select mainly from previously disadvantaged communities. In the 12-month data science learnership we teach critical, high-demand skills in a framework that includes problem-solving and teamwork as well as technical skills.”
The results have been spectacular. So far, 95% of learners that start the course, graduate and of those, 93% are placed in employment within an average of 45 days, and earning annual salaries of R360 000 a year.
Earlier this year the EDSA announced that it aims to have trained 5000 data scientists and the majority placed into jobs in South Africa by 2025.
The EDSA’s goal, through its sponsored learnerships and self-funded courses, is to address both South Africa’s chronic youth unemployment crisis - currently at 53% - as well as provide relevant skills to meet the ever evolving demands of the digital economy.
The selection process is challenging but well-worth the effort in the end. “This is a great opportunity to get in on the ground floor of a fantastic career in data science. So to every ambitious, talented young person out there, my message is this: get onto our website and apply. It could well change your life,” concludes Dippnall.
Learners wanting to enrol should go to www.explore-datascience.net