Democratizing Data Science with Algoritma

Asia Blockchain Review
August 23, 2019

Asia Blockchain Review recently spoke to Nayoko Wicaksono, CEO of Algoritma, a data science education center with the vision of democratizing data science skills across the domains of data visualization, regression, data modeling, machine learning, and statistical programming literacy. Wicaksono talked about helping more than 100 companies deliver data science training for their employees, the company’s plans for data science consulting, and his thoughts on reinforcing skills for workers in the digital era.

Asia Blockchain Review: How is Algoritma democratizing data science? What are your long-term goals?

Nayoko Wicaksono: We democratize data science through our monthly code-along workshops, where first-timers are introduced to the world of coding and data analysis. The outcome is to get them interested in data, and eventually, those who are serious and committed will take our Academy, which is quite intensive as it is a 3-4 month program. We also partnered with educational institutions like Ngee Ann Polytechnic to train their trainers and deliver our courses through the university. 

Our aim is to get people employed in the data science field and improve the livelihood of our students and family. Industry 4.0 is coming, and it’s not waiting for us to be ready. If we don’t hurry to upgrade our skills, we will be left behind. 


ABR: Can you tell us about the training that you provide? What are the most popular areas of training?

NW: We do a 3-4 month Data Science boot camp, where we teach students the programming languages R and Python. The first specialization they learn is Data Visualization, then Machine Learning, and finally, Data Analysis.


ABR: How are you working with companies to deliver data science training? Can you share some success stories with us?

NW: We help companies like BCA and Indosat to build their internal capacities by replicating our proven Academy for their own training campuses. We have done multiple batches with them and continue to deliver training and talent for them. We have also worked with other prominent clients with training customized according to their needs, solving major problems by training their team and building projects together.


ABR: Can you tell us about your plan to carry out Data Science Consulting in Q3 2019? What is the inspiration behind this program?

NW: Throughout our engagement with clients, we have many who say they need immediate help. The thing with training is that it takes time to get these capacities and projects ready. Therefore, our consulting services can bridge this gap in readiness to work the problem immediately. Alternatively, some clients prefer not to internalize these capacities, as it is not their core focus. Instead, they want to outsource to us to build their solutions.


ABR: Can you tell us about the landscape of the Indonesian digital industry and tech startup environment?

NW: The Indonesian digital industry is thriving. People are becoming more digitally savvy and literate. This means that there is more digitized data available. The tech startup scene itself is booming due to a positive outlook on economic growth, which in turn, attracted more investors to the sector. 

The only downside is that there is a growing “valuation bubble,” in which some startups do not have the correct units of economics to survive, in the event of a downturn. Savvy investors are starting to realize and understand this, but there are still many newbies out there that have jumped on the bandwagon without fully understanding the game.

ABR: What is the roadmap of Algoritma going forward?

NW: Algoritma will continue to build partnerships and branches to expand further across Southeast Asia and democratize skills so that the workforce is ready for the automation of the mind that is coming to this region.


ABR: Why is data science important and how can it help transform businesses?

NW: How does YouTube recommend videos on your home screen? How does Google Maps give you the best routes to avoid traffic? Have you ever shopped online and found related advertisements on Facebook and other websites for a week straight?

These are all applications of Data Science. It is becoming a very important tool weaved into our daily lives, and soon, we will not be able to live without it. As it was when humans harnessed fire in prehistoric times, today, we too are harnessing the power of AI to make work based on non-meaningful, repetitive tasks obsolete. In the business world, AI is successfully adding value to all business models by using statistics and deep learning to make better decisions, improve efficiency, and even improve customer relations. The possibilities of utilizing data in companies are vast, provided that they have both questions to solve and data to analyze.

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