Summer Camps and Leader Boards

My name’s Alexander Chituc, and I’ll be your foreign correspondent in Brussels, regularly reporting on the diHub and the data science community here in Belgium. I’m an American, I studied philosophy at Yale, and I’m one of the seventeen boot-campers for the di-Academy.


Of the hundred or so applicants who applied for the Di Hub’s Data Science Boot Camp, only 40 were selected for the five-week Summer Coding Camp. Most of us had little to no experience coding in Python and R – or in my case, coding – and the Summer Coding Camp was to serve two purposes: first, to narrow down this pool of applicants to the twelve who would eventually be selected for the boot camp, and second, to catch us up as quickly as possible with the coding skills we would need for our training to become data scientists.

I had already expected that there would be a lot to catch up on. I have a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, and my elective coursework was in psychology and writing. My coding experience consisted of one semester in college where I took a class in Object Oriented Programming in Java, seven years ago. Suddenly, I found myself in a room with a couple of Master’s in Statistics, several Master’s in Business Engineering, a few digital marketers, and a lot of data enthusiasts with backgrounds in computer science, all competing for twelve spots.

The Di Hub was open to all of us as a place to study during the camp, providing coaches to answer any questions we might have. Each week of the camp covered a different topic. The first week covered SAS, the second Python, the third R, the fourth statistics, and the fifth SQL. When we began the first week, I was relieved to see just about everybody struggle as much as I did. This didn’t surprise me: all training in SAS comes directly from the company, so regardless of your background, it was no natural that none of us knew how to code in it. It was by far the most intensive week of summer camp, and in the following weeks, many of us were still working on it it, preparing for the certification exam on September 16th, which only half of us passed (I’ll leave it up to you to guess whether I was one of them).

The second, third, and forth weeks we learned using Data Camp’s platform. We were assigned 17 courses to complete on their website: three in Python (at the time, their Python content was admittedly lacking, but they’ve recently added several more Python courses to their website), seven in R, and seven in statistics. During the fourth week, we were given the option of following the courses in R on Data Camp, or to do instead a separate module in SAS. As far as I know, everyone chose to do statistics in R. Doing work in SAS, after all, didn’t count for the leader board.

I should explain the leader board. It began as a joke, Nele announced it that Friday afternoon on Slack. After finishing the day’s coding, we were going to celebrate the completion of our second week, and before this celebration, Nele would be announcing our leader board. Suddenly, all of us became aware of the feature available to groups on Data Camp: a leader board that ranks all of the members of the group by experience earned completing exercises in their courses.

I noticed that I was, at the time, ranked at number twelve, and I was determined to make it into the top ten by the time the day was over. Between exercises, I compulsively checked the status of the leader board, figuring out just how many exercises I had to complete before I would pass number eleven, which I did, and then to pass number 10, which I did. That afternoon, Nele announced the leader board, and on the board were written only six scores. The top six, in descending order were Liza, Goran, Olivier, Agustina, Ruben, Victor, and you can imagine my disappointment.


The leader board was a source of healthy competition, granting bragging rights and a way to measure ourselves against each other and judge our prospects for being selected. It became a little more serious, however, when it was announced that there would be a job fair on September 9th, where we would all present ourselves to companies looking to hire data scientists, and finding a company to sponsor you would guarantee your seat in the boot camp. The order in which we were presenting was determined by your leaderboard ranking.

It was an intense five weeks, and we all learned much more than we could have on our own. I’ll have to devote an entire post to the job fair later on, but I’ll leave off this one by thanking all of the great coaches we had during the summer camp: coaching Python, Elie Jesuran from Keyrus, coaching R, Dominique De Beul, Eric Lecoutre and Pieterjan Geens from Business&Decision, and coaching SQL, Erwin Gurickx from Teradata.

Job @ Medialaan: Data Quality expert

Are you passionate about Data Crunching and keen on having business impact?

We are looking for a talented Data Quality Expert!

You will be part of our dynamic Research & Marketing team and report to the CRM manager of our central unit.

The Central CRM unit is a department in the organization that gives strategic and operational advice in how to build a trustworthy 2-way relationship with our customers. Our unit is charged with supporting a wide range of internal users and we help them to take important business decisions and to steer the strategy of the company.

Your Challenge:

Set up a Data Governance program together with all stakeholders (IT, Marketing, Sales…) that describes the establishment and deployment of roles, responsibilities, policies, and procedures concerning the acquisition, maintenance, dissemination and disposition of our data.

You main tasks are:

  • Identify, assess, fix, document, and communicate potential quality issues in the way data are collected, stored, processed, or used.
  • Understanding the data, looking for discrepancies, inconsistencies, data redundancy and taking steps to solve data deficiencies.
  • Be responsible for the enrichment of our data to create added value.
  • Continuous Monitoring output data quality through KPI dashboards and reports and make recommendations based on the outcome.
  • You are the person that leads all data quality related projects, which includes writing business requirements, managing the scope, budget and risks etc.
  • You have a crucial role in helping the organization to understand the value and impact of good data quality.


Additionally you will:

  • Setup business and validation rules together with stakeholders that govern our data.
  • Be responsible for business processes that create or change data.
  • Automation of solutions for data quality issues associated with all sorts of data (customer data, mobile data, online data, financial data etc.).
  • Design, implementation and testing of (automated) DQ processes; for example data cleansing operations or deduplication.
  • You contribute to the continuous improvement of our Data Governance methodology to keep it tuned with technology evolution (unstructured data, cloud, data privacy, …)
  • You act in a cross-functional team and work closely with our IT department.


Your profile: 

  • You have a passion for information management and you are challenged by the data struggle many companies are facing at the moment. You have good analytical skills and you are able to communicate both in business as well as in technical language.
  • You have at least 3 to 5 years’ experience as an analyst in a Data Quality and/or Business Intelligence environment.
  • You possess a basic understanding of data models and architecture, data governance/data management concepts, approaches, methodologies and tools.
  • You are good in translating analytical results into business concepts.
  • You have strong programming skills, preferably in SQL.
  • Knowledge of Tableau is also a plus.
  • You have strong communication skills and like to take initiative.
  • You like to work independently, to take ownership and you are accountable.
  • You have a solid understanding of the business and the importance of Data Quality.
  • You have excellent communication skills.
  • You are an objective and diplomatic person that likes to work in a team.
  • You are solution-minded.


Intrigued? Please send your motivation letter and resume to Maybe you can join our new CRM unit and build a great data story at MEDIALAAN.

Big Data and Ethics Meetup – Call for ideas/speakers.

ethicsPierre-Nicolas Schwab, the Big Data / CRM manager at RTBF (French-speaking public television) will organize in December a conference on ethical aspects of Big Data in the broadcasting industry. Although this conference will be reserved for members of the European Broadcasting Union (, Pierre-Nicolas would be interested to share views with Hub’s members on the topic of Big Data and Ethics.

I think Big Data and Ethics is a topic of importance that we’ve insufficiently covered until now during the diSummit nor our Meetups. I’d like our community  to contribute to this topic through the organization of a special meetup on November 17th. I am asking interested members to contact me if they want to contribute to this event in the form of presentation.

Specific topics could be:

  • Good and bad practices as far as data usage is concerned
  • Examples of Big Data cases that triggered negative reactions
  • The consumer’s perspective: does sharing data with third parties add value for the customer or for the firm?
  • Implicit limits existing in your industry as far as the use of customers’ data is concerned
  • Paradigm shifts and possible unethical changes caused by Big Data modelling in your industry
  • Changes brought by IoT and possible threats to privacy and ethics
  • Measurement of intrusiveness / perception of intrusiveness by users
  • Forward-looking cross-industry trends that may have a negative impact on customers’ perceptions of Big Data

I welcome expressions of interest for this topic and would be glad to organize a preparatory meeting with interested speakers. Pierre-Nicolas has already proposed to host this meeting at RTBF to have fruitful discussions.

Thank you in advance for your answers.


Previous post on this topic:



DALDEWOLF is proud to present its new offer, tailored to the needs of startups.  Five 30-something lawyers are out to assist new businesses and entrepreneurs with every legal need.

We can keep up with the dynamics of any new venture. We help identify the legal issues, solve all problems and answer all questions – from the basic ones (common to all companies) to the most specific ones (flowing from their niche activities – quite disruptive at times).

We warmly invite you to read more about our project, our offers and our profiles on our website

 dal 1 “The enthusiasm of starters is addictive”
 dal2 “We feel we are part of the project, by warning against legal pitfalls”
 dal3 “Reliable legal assistance from the start makes a difference”
 dal4 “We make sure the legal foundations of our starters are solid”
 dal5 “From start-up to scale-up, we have your back”


Avenue Louise 81 Louizalaan – 1050 Brussels – Belgium

T + 32 2 627 10 10   F + 32 2 627 10 50


Sept 8th 18:00 – Start of Data Science Antwerp

  • Prof David Martens, Vincent Van Look & Michaël Peeters are initiating this new meetup location for the data science community at the University of Antwerp.
    Bart De Wever will do the opening speech.Agenda :18.00 – 18.15  Introductie van Antwerp DSC18.15 – 18.45  Bart De Wever (mayor Antwerpen)

    18.45 – 19.15  TextGain: Real-time text mining applications: finding customers, cyberbullies and jihadist  by Guy De Pauw, Tom De Smedt and Walter Daelemans

    19.15 – 19.45  City of Things: Data Science with Internet of Things Data by Philip Leroux

    19.45 – 20.15  Telenet: Deriving insights for improved viewing experience through audience analytics by Kurt Vanmechelen

    20.15- 23.00   Networking

    Register her for this meetup:

    Each month we organize a Meetup in Brussels focused on a specific DataScience topic.

Next Executive Session: What about a debate on Big Data & Ethics ?

Pierre Nicolas Schwab -EBU_Big_Data


Next Executive Sessions :

After the interesting talk of Stephen Brobst CTO#4 we now want to organise a debate on Big Data & Ethics. Pierre-Nicolas is proposing the following format: Short presentations by each participant representing the vision of his/her company followed by a debate. Any suggestions ? Who wants to participate ?


Philippe, Puis-je te proposer que tu organises un atelier de travail avec une dizaine de responsables Big Data sur l’éthique et le Big Data ? 
Il faudrait limiter l’audience à des décisionnaires Big Data qui puissent vraiment représenter le point de vue de leur société.
En termes de structuration :
 – 10-15 min (TED format) de présentation de chaque société sur les enjeux éthiques, sur la manière dont les algorithms sont conçus pour tenir compte de ces aspects éthiques, sur les enjeux et limites du Big Data, ce que les entreprises s’interdisent de faire en termes de collecte de données (la “ligne rouge” à ne pas dépasser)
 – un atelier d’échanges / débat


Here is some inspiration on the topic.

The RTBF’s big data expert Pierre Nicolas Schwab reflects on how to develop algorithms for PSM which match their values and mitigate the potential flaws of artificial intelligence. He invites EBU Big Data Initiative participants to join the RTBF workshop addressing this issue this December in Brussels.

“Most large companies are investing massively in Big Data technologies to leverage the value of their data. While many still consider Big Data as an inescapable business trend, concerns are growing regarding the impact of Big Data on our daily lives.

A ‘man vs machine’ Artificial Intelligence (AI) milestone was reached in March this year when the deep-learning algorithm AlphaGo defeated one of the world’s best players at Go, Lee Sedol. In an article I published before the game, I was wondering how advances in AI were changing our lives. Cathy O’Neil, a Harvard PhD mathematician, expressed similar concerns at the USI conference in Paris in early June and will be releasing her book “Weapons of Math Destructions” in September. This book elaborates on the concerns she has expressed on her blog about ill-based decisions triggered by algorithms and how big data “increases inequality and threatens democracy”. The title may be provocative but promises to go beyond the filter bubble effect made popular by Eli Pariser.

Because algorithms are only as good as those who build them, we need to open up the models, and not only the data. Those models need to be subject to criticism, peer-review and third-party scrutiny. This will avoid the use of biased or even dangerous algorithms (e.g. the French universities selection algorithm scandal revealed earlier this month) and will increase people’s trust in organizations which use algorithms. To illustrate the latter, the French fiscal authorities are now forced to render public the criteria that play a role when submitting a tax payer to a control. This exemplifies that a change is ongoing and, as PSM, we must embrace and support it.

Not only must we avoid replicating flawed models (in particular recommendation algorithms that trap users in “filter bubbles”) but we, as public organizations, have duties towards our democratic societies and their citizens. That’s why we need to (1) engage in a global reflection on how our algorithms need to be shaped to reflect our values and (2) pave the way for better practices that will inspire other organizations in different industries.


Hackathon – Aug 30-31 – Consumer Goods

Screenshot 2016-08-16 15.41.34.png

Dear Data Science Community members,

Hope you are ALL doing great! With this message, we are pleased to inform you of the upcoming Consumer Goods Hackathon, which will take place on Aug 30th– 31st in our innovation campus in Strombeek-Bever.

Together with several other large non-competing companies, we are organizing a 2 day digital disruption hackathon for consumer goods. Deloitte is leading and currently AB-Inbev, ING, Eggsplore, bpost and P&G are joining from large companies. Other companies are still considering to join.

The large companies will share their challenges in disruption on business models and approaches, 2. production processes and 3. packaging. Start-ups/SME’s will share and collaborate (in teams) on novel disruptive solutions. If desired, the larger companies can work own projects with interested start-ups /SME’s after the event. 2D sketching, 3D printing and film/animation support will be provided on site for the teams to build their proposition.

Participation to the event is free of charge. This is the website with further details, with the specific business challenges for each of the 3 topics and for registration: consumergoodshackathon .

For practical reasons, it’s required that participants register individually and specify which challenge they would like to work on. (click challenges to see the full list).

It would be great if you could spread the word and pass on the website address to specific start-ups in your network which you find relevant for the defined spaces.

Let me know if you have further questions or want to talk this with the broader team.

Thanks in advance and looking forward to your feedback.

Best regards.

Benjamin Bollot @P&G

Job – Base 3 – Business Intelligence Consultant / Data Analytics / ETL / DWH


Hello Philippe,

at Base 3 we’re on a course for growth and looking for people to be a part of it. We’re hiring 12 people in Data Analytics. Mostly around Microsoft technologies (SSIS,SSAS,SSRS,…) and SAS. But we’re open to other technologies too. Diversity is important to us as is personal attention.
So a job description can be found on
I’m off course open to explain more in a first conversation.


Base 3 – Business Intelligence Consultant / Data Analytics / ETL / DWH

We are growing our business and looking to hire 12 data inspired professionals.

What makes a great Base 3 Consultant?

Our consultants produce business value for our clients through the use of business intelligence, advanced analytics or big data techniques.

What makes them great is that they have a real passion for data that works infectious on the people around them. They’re strong communicators and work together with our clients sharing knowledge and ideas along the way.

What does a Consultant do?

There is a huge diversity in the type of roles and projects our consultants work on. Always assessing and adapting to the need of the customer.

A grasp out of the different things you could do throughout the day

  • Interpret data, analyze results and provide ongoing reports and clear visualizations.
  • Develop and implement data collection systems and other strategies that optimize data-driven decisions.
  • Acquire data from primary or Secondary data sources and maintain databases/data systems.
  • Identify, analyze, and interpret trends or patterns in complex data sets.
  • Filter and “clean” data, and review computer reports, printouts, and performance indicators to locate and correct code problems.
  • Work closely with management to prioritize business and information needs.
  • Locate and define new improvement opportunities.


What does Base 3 have to offer?

Besides the possibility to work on fantastic projects for great customers, we offer

  • A competitive salary with great benefits including a company car, group and health insurance.
  • 32 days holiday.
  • The possibility to build your skills and expertise.
  • A company that values long-term relationships with staff, customers and partners. Relationships based on honest collaboration, mutual trust and respect.

Feel free to contact us if you’d like to know more about our company, culture, colleagues,…

The Company

Founded in 1996, Base 3 has 20 years of experience in the data analytics market in Belgium.

Our consultants have a passion for data. They collaborate with our customers to improve their data-driven decisions. To produce business value, they use business intelligence, advanced analytics or big data techniques. Through their expertise and talent, they produce premium deliverables.

Our customers are our biggest source of inspiration. Their data-related questions and assignments are the challenges that excite our consultants.

When passion meets purpose ….

Our Values

Our long-term relationships with staff, customers and partners are based upon honest collaboration, mutual trust and respect.


Make sure that you are a member of the Brussels Data Science Community linkedin group before you apply. Join  here.

Please note that we also manage other vacancies that are not public, if you want us to bring you in contact with them too, just send your CV to .

For further information or to apply for this vacancy, please contact Steven Boen and include your CV.

Summer Data Science activities in Belgium.

summer edition

We wish you happy holidays, in case you get bored check out our educational channel on youtube.

The European Data Innovation Hub is active during the summer.
Here is a short update from what to expect in the coming weeks:

Thank you for supporting the European Data Innovation Hub, we had a great academic year.

Philippe Van Impe

Please forward the information about the data science bootcamp to your peers and friends.