Bruce McKenzie

My Future Goal is to Become a Leading Data Scientist: A Conversation with Bruce 

What makes you tick in the daily pursuit of your goals? For Bruce McKenzie, an aspiring data scientist, it is data. He believes that data has the potential to drive positive change through data-driven insights, and he is committed to honing his skills.

In January 2023, Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT) Kenya entered into a partnership with DataCamp. The partnership aimed to provide scholarships to Kenya’s most underserved youth, who are interested in learning and strengthening their skills in data analytics. Through DataCamp’s online platform, DOT Youth have had access to free, engaging and exciting data-related courses. Approximately 100 youth have benefited from the DataCamp Donates program, including Bruce. In this conversation, he shares his learning experience with us.

What is your connection with data?

Growing up, I was always fascinated by numbers and patterns. As I progressed in my education, I discovered my passion for data analysis and its potential to solve real-world problems. This led me to pursue a degree in statistics at Moi University Eldoret, where I further honed my skills in data manipulation, visualization, and analysis.

When did you get the DataCamp scholarship and what motivated you to apply?

I received the DataCamp scholarship in March 2023. I was motivated to apply because I had heard great success stories from previous scholars, and I recognized that DataCamp’s courses could help me bridge the gap between my academic knowledge and real-world data analysis skills.

How was your learning experience? What was exciting about it?

My learning experience with DataCamp is truly exhilarating. The platform’s interactive approach to learning allowed me to practice coding in Python and R in real-time, making the learning process engaging and enjoyable. The most exciting part was seeing immediate results by earning XP bonuses and progress as I completed each module.

Tell us more about your experience. What have you learned?

During my time with DataCamp, I delved into a wide range of topics, including data manipulation with pandas, data visualization with matplotlib and ggplot, and machine learning techniques like regression and classification. Additionally, I learned valuable soft skills, such as problem-solving, critical thinking, and collaboration with peers in the DataCamp community.

How are the skills and knowledge acquired helping you in your current venture/career/personal life?

The skills and knowledge I acquired through the DataCamp scholarship have been instrumental in my current role as a data analyst at a local tech startup. I can now confidently clean and analyze large datasets, create insightful visualizations, and build predictive models to support business decisions. This has resulted in more data-driven strategies and improved efficiency in our operations.

Is there anything else you have gained during the DataCamp scholarship?

Apart from the technical skills, I also developed a strong network of like-minded professionals in the data science field. The connections and collaborations made during the scholarship have opened doors to new opportunities like volunteering in data analytics workshops and further learning.

Did you experience any challenges during learning? How did you address them?

During my learning journey, I encountered occasional challenges, such as difficult coding concepts and time management since I had to balance my course work and the DataCamp modules. To overcome these hurdles, I sought help from DataCamp’s community forums and utilized the platform’s built-in hints and solutions. I also set aside dedicated time for learning each day to ensure steady progress.

What are your future goals, and how has the scholarship enhanced this so far?

My future goal is to become a leading data scientist in Kenya, using data to tackle pressing issues in healthcare, agriculture, and education. The DataCamp scholarship has enhanced my capabilities and confidence, bringing me one step closer to achieving my aspirations.

Would you recommend this program to others, and why?

Absolutely, I would highly recommend the DataCamp scholarship to anyone interested in data science or data analysis. The interactive learning experience, quality course content, and supportive community makes it an invaluable resource for aspiring data professionals.

Finally, in your view, what is the future of data and the underlying opportunities for young people in Kenya?

The future of data is incredibly promising. As the world becomes more data-centric, there is a growing demand for skilled data professionals across various industries in Kenya. Young people who equip themselves with data analysis and data science skills will have a competitive edge in the job market and the opportunity to contribute significantly to the nation’s development. With data, we can make informed decisions that drive positive change and improve the lives of people in Kenya and beyond.

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