How the Data Team prepares the Curriculum

CodeClan class with an instructor helping out students.

The curriculum for our immersive courses is tailor-made for the industry. Looking for an insight into the ways we get the feedback from industry and how we apply that to our Professional Data Analysis course? Meet Stephanie Boyle, Head of Data Delivery here at CodeClan.

  • How does the team prepare the curriculum for the Professional Data Analysis course?

The first step is getting feedback from the industry. We do advisory boards, then we feed back to the team and then we just sit and have discussion about what’s feasible, it’s pretty straightforward. 

The Professional Data Analysis course is a bootcamp so you can’t change the curriculum all the time, it would be hundreds of hours of work into a revamp! Tech changes so fast, that if all we did was keep up with the bleeding edge, we’d never have a course. BUT certain parts of the course do get updated consistently.

  • How do you get this feedback from the industry? And how do you apply that to the course curriculum?

Our advisory boards are filled with people from the Scottish data community, people that volunteer their time to come and talk to us. Some of them are our industry partners, others work for partner companies, some of them are people who love mentoring in the community and a lot of them just know CodeClan and want to help. 

How we organise these advisory changes from year to year, in 2020 for example, it had to be on zoom obviously. But at the last 2021 Data Summit we had a nice lunch. 

In terms of how we apply the feedback we get from the industry, the idea is that we want to prepare our students for a job- not to know everything. We want our students to know how to structure projects and this comes from the industry, like, are they using GitHub? What databases are they using? So by constantly asking our network what’s happening and we can apply that to our course. 

  • What skills do you consider to be the most important to launch a career in data? Do you need a lot of Maths?

Obviously you need to do programming, and I know that sounds funny. But the way the world is going now, you’re not going to be able to work if you don’t know some coding. 

But I would say data literacy is probably the most important skill; You need to be able to look at numbers and make sense of them and put them in business contexts. You need to have a good understanding of how they relate to each other, how to turn data into coding problems… 

And do you need maths? I mean, you do need to be numerical, but what I mean is, you don’t need to be a natural math whiz, like a lot of people aren’t, but you can learn it! It doesn’t need to come naturally to you, but you need to be able to understand some mathematical concepts, like percentage changes and point increases.  

Read our blog: ‘How much Math do you need for Data Analysis?’

  • What do students struggle with the most during the immersive course? 

At the beginning is definitely the confidence  they  struggle with the most! It’s a bootcamp, and bootcamps are intense, which is why they’re not for everyone. But students tend to compare themselves with other people- they compare themselves to the instructors, other students, senior developers, etc. And we always say compare yourself to past you- four weeks ago you couldn’t do any of this. 

People get impostor syndrome, and sometimes need encouragement and just a wee reminder of all they’ve achieved since they entered CodeClan- like you had no idea of how to code and now you’re building databases from scratch.

Find out more about some of our most recent graduates CodeClan experience.

  • What do they tend to enjoy the most? 

The dashboard project! We build a shiny dashboard app and students really enjoy working together, creating something for a week.

It’s very satisfying to see the finished product and they’re working with real data- like from Public Health Scotland for example. 

  • And finally, what would be your advice for someone who wants to get into data analytics?

I’m going to be honest- the competition is very hard at the moment for juniors in the UK! But if you’re in Scotland, there’s a lot of jobs and a lot of big companies that are now recruiting data experts, there’s a massive skills shortage.

The  best advice I can give is to do projects, and get them on GitHub, share them with everyone you know, try to get a network, go to as many data events as possible, the data community in Scotland is very tight and everyone is always happy to help! If you have your projects on GitHub, this is showing you can write a SQL query, and you can do fun projects, they don’t need to be serious. 

Find out more about our Professional Data Analysis course.

Join us at an information session or taster session to learn more about our data analysis courses, we also offer data short courses.


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