Kristina Mkara

DataCamp Scholarship Beneficiary

Meet Kristina, a Young, Aspiring Data Scientist and AI Expert

Kristina is one of our Digital Jobs Level 2 participants, who after successfully completing DOT’s data analysis with Excel course, received a scholarship to pursue advanced data analytics courses with Datacamp. What was merely an aspiration, is gradually becoming a reality. In this conversation, she shares how she has grown in leaps and bounds during her learning experience.

What is your connection with data?

My passion and curiosity for analyzing data began when taking the data analysis with Excel course offered by DOT Kenya. I was amazed by the numerous career opportunities presented by data and digital skills, including data science, data analysis, business intelligence analysis and data engineering —which I had never heard of before.

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

I received the DataCamp scholarship on March 15th. Initially, I had no intentions to apply after completing DOT’s Excel course. Coding didn’t captivate my interest. Fortunately, after a conversation with my uncle he encouraged me to pursue the opportunity. He became my accountability partner, core motivator, and helped me embark on the journey of becoming a data scientist and AI expert! Also, during the orientation session with DOT Kenya’s data analysis facilitator, Boniface, I was really motivated by the enthusiasm and the zeal of the other scholarship recipients to learn.

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

The DataCamp learning platform has so much to offer, ranging from technical and soft skills. This aspect has really stood out for me. Something else that is exciting about the platform is the constant updates on new courses and  additional sections. These updates make my learning journey so interesting.

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

In the beginning, I felt intimidated by the thought of coding, but the short and well-illustrated videos in each chapter boosted my confidence. Now, I have gained knowledge on the syntax of codes in the Python language and the logic of its operations as I am taking the Data Analyst & Scientist with Python tracks. Through their theory courses like “Data Literacy Professional”, I have learned how to effectively communicate insights from data and also strengthened my problem solving skills . I am now able to think analytically and this has boosted my confidence.

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

One interesting thing that I learned from the platform was about ChatGPT in a course called, “Introduction to ChatGPT.” I gained knowledge about what it can do, how to write effective prompts, and the ethical issues surrounding generative AI. That knowledge has been very helpful since I use ChatGPT every day. Additionally, using the knowledge gained from the Python tracks, I have attempted a data cleaning project provided on the platform. This experience has filled me with excitement for the career ahead as I continue to build my portfolio.

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

Yes! Resilience has been the most significant skill I have acquired in my learning journey. Some courses have really challenged me, but I have learned not to give up. Time management has also been a crucial skill in my learning journey, especially with the encouragement from my uncle to create timelines for achieving my weekly goals in the platform’s courses.

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

The biggest challenge I faced and have overcome is time management. With the help of my uncle, I created a timeline using Google Sheets, where each sheet contains my weekly goals, consisting of the courses I aim to complete. This experience taught me a lot of grit and demanded that I spend each second wisely. 

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

I desire to be a data scientist and AI expert who is flexible to work and apply their knowledge in different fields and the scholarship from DataCamp is making this aspiration a reality. I have had the opportunity to work on data sets from different industries, and it has been an eye-opener for what I can achieve with a lot of practice.

Would you recommend this program to others, and why?

I would definitely recommend it to others. In fact, when I told my uncle about it, he signed up with them. He has really enjoyed the learning experience, and he is enhancing his skillset with the courses available. Additionally, I would suggest this scholarship to anyone who desires to have a career in the technology industry, anyone who seeks to bolster their resume with a diverse range of both soft and technical skills, and anyone with an interest in exploring the revolutionary world and trends of the tech industry. The opportunities provided by the DataCamp scholarship can be beneficial and rewarding for individuals looking to excel in the tech.

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

In my view, data will pave the way for exciting new career paths. I highly encourage young individuals in Kenya to invest in learning these digital skills because they will become invaluable assets across various industries. It’s essential to hop on the digital train now to stay ahead and thrive in the evolving job landscape! 

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