Boot Camp Graduate: Agustina Perez Iriarte

Allow me to introduce Agustina Perez Iriarte, one of our seventeen boot camp graduates from the di-Academy. I met Agustina at our summer coding camp, and I sat down with her to discuss her time before the boot camp, her time during it, and her plans afterward. Having arrived in Brussels last February, Agustina is from Buenos Aires, Argentina. Though she had studied literature, her first job out of college required that she learned to code. “I really had to do a lot coding at the job, and I realized that I was good and I was enjoying it” she said, “so maybe this is the kind of job I’d like to do.” She began some training on web programming and web design, receiving two certifications from the Universidad Tecnolólogica de Buenos Aires.

In 2010, Agustina began working for American Express in Argentina. Her boss was interested in doing more work with data, and she volunteered for the job. Though not as a data scientist, for the next four years she worked with data, and she was eventually drawn to data science as a career. “I knew I wanted to do some work with data,” she told me, “and I wanted to do something creative, and I think that data science has the two mixed.”

A natural autodidact, Agustina found MOOCs to be central to developing her technical skills, finding the courses of Andrew Ng and Peter Norvig particularly influential. “I think that I’m mostly self-taught,” she told me. “I’m curious, so whenever I start learning something, I feel that I have a gap and I need to learn something more. And I jump into that, and then I find a gap there and I need to learn something more. I never stop learning.”

***

Agustina met her husband, Jonathan, in Argentina. After completing his degree in physics, he wanted to take a few months to travel, so he left for South America for three months to do volunteer work in exchange for food and housing. Jonathan began his trip in Equator, however, he loves tango, and couldn’t think of a better place to end his trip than the dance’s birthplace. Two weeks before the end of his trip he arrived in Buenos Aires. Sharing his passion, Agustina met Jonathan dancing tango.

Jonathan is Belgian, and he works as a data scientist for Carrefour. Agustina learned about the di-Academy’s boot camp when he mentioned to her that the company was looking for future employees to send to the boot camp. The more she learned about it, the more interested she became, as he explained to her the goal of the program was to combine academic knowledge with real business cases. Her work on MOOCs had given her lots of theoretical knowledge about data science, but what she found lacking in the material she had learned was the practical aspects. “You don’t have the real experience,” she said, “You’re working with prepared data on real known cases, and I wanted to know what the real story is when you work there.” The community aspect of the boot camp was also central to her interest. “Whenever I worked on MOOCS, I was the only one passionate about data, I didn’t have people that shared the same interests as I did. So I said okay, a group of freaks like me all joined together by the same passion,” she told me, “I’m in.”

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Two freaks in their natural habitat

During the first week of the boot camp, the founder of the European Data Innovation Hub and the Brussels Data Science Community, Philippe Van Impe approached her, and asked her what what type of job she was looking for. After showing her startups.be’s website, he asked if she would be interested in working with them. She agreed, and two days later had an interview with Karen Boers, the director of the group. “She’s one passionate woman.” Agustina said, “She spoke for forty minutes nonstop about what they do, and I was extremely convinced I wanted to be part of that.” Her internship mostly consisted in helping startups.be manage their data, cleaning it and restructuring it, and performing analysis, all to get a better picture of what’s going on with startups in Belgium. “I like being part of the start-up environment,” she said. “As a data scientist, normally you think that one way is to work for a big company that has resources, but we discovered with a little company, with a start-up, you have the same resources and the motivation to really have a say, because you’re not part of the ten-data-scientist team. There’s one person there just to try to make the most of it.”

Since the boot camp graduation on December 20th, Agustina has finished her three-month internship, and those of us here at the di-Academy were thrilled to find out that Agustina is in the process of signing a contract with startups.be to join their team full-time.

Nurturing your Data Scientists : 70 years of accumulated experience at your service!

The Data Science community is proud to announce the entrance in of a startup dedicated to data scientists coaching and nurturing: WeLoveDataScience

Data scientist… Where are you? Do you really exist?

That’s the question many managers do currently face. Data Scientists is a scarce 5-legs sheeps: difficult to find, difficult to hire and difficult to keep.

 

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WeLoveDataScience is a brand new business unit, hosted at the European Data Innovation Hub, dedicated to searching, selecting, training, coaching and nurturing data science talents. The Belgian market does not propose enough candidates: we will take care to train next-gen data scientists for you.

Whatever your projects are, we propose to prepare for you the data scientist(s) you need, following these 7 steps:

  1. Together we prepare a detailed job description corresponding to your real needs: is this about data analysis, basic queries, reporting, data mining, big data or new technologies?
  2. We identify candidates on the market in particular through close collaborations with Belgian universities (Ghent, ULB/VUB, UCLouvain…)
  3. You hire the right candidate!
  4. He/she assists a 12 weeks data science bootcamp , including: high-level overview, data science for business, technical stack (SAS, R, Python…), introduction to specific technologies/topics (NoSQL or graph databases, social network analysis, text-mining..)
  5. Then he/she works for you at our offices during 4 tot 6 month, coached by one of our expert. On the job coaching on real projects: your projects but also hackathons, technology workshops, meetups…
  6. After those 10 intensive months, (s)he is ready to work for you on site. (S)He will demonstrate his/her knowledge by giving a course on a specific topic and/or writing entries in specialised blogs, giving a presentation at a conference…
  7. We assist you in yearly evaluation and follow-up.

Our intentions for 2016 are to help companies create and develop data science teams and to build a data science culture… And WeLoveDataScience: this is 70 years of accumulated experience at your disposal!

Want to know more? Visit: www.welovedatascience.com , send an email to info@welovedatascience.com or simply fill in this contact form. We will visit and explain what we do and brainstorm about your specific needs.

 

Top 5 presentations of DIS2015 (Data Science Innovation Summit).

Dear friends,

March 26th will be the milestone of our community.

We had 68 speakers at our Data Innovation Summit with over 500 attendants. Check our new DataScience video channel with all the presentations. Pictures of the event are available on our facebook page. Over 600 people replied to the datascience survey.  Read Ward’s analysis of the satisfaction survey.

Here is the top 5 of the presentations:

  • Kris Peeters: The people aspect of Data Science (view)
  • Elena Tsiporkova: Data Innovation Lab (view)
  • Toon Vanagt: How Open Data allows faster innovation (view)
  • Hans Constandt: The disruptive Role of startups in Data Innovation (view)
  • Steven Beeckman: Government and Data (view)

Thank you for participating to the Data Science Survey. The results are still available to all participants. Here is a summary done by our experts:

  • Data Innovation Summit Dashboard by Dieter and Nicholas (view)
  • Data Innovation Survey results – In Neo4j by Rik (view)
  • The question “Are all Data Scientists nerds?” – By Nele (view)
  • Data Innovation Survey 2015 – preliminary analysis by Ward (view)

The plan is to bundle these in a e-book, if you want to be part of this book you only need to submit your analysis. We are still waiting for a team that wants to link this survey with another existing survey. Winners of the best analysis will be announced during our Banking meetup on May 20th.

Thank you for all for making this summit a success.

Philippe Van Impe

Join us on our next meetup:

Brussels Data Science Meetup

Brussels, BE
1,161 Business & Data Science pro’s

The Brussels Data Science Community:Mission:  Our mission is to educate, inspire and empower scholars and professionals to apply data sciences to address humanity’s grand cha…

Next Meetup

Data for Good & Kaggle competitions

Thursday, Apr 23, 2015, 6:30 PM
86 Attending

Check out this Meetup Group →

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Startup Launch – Predicube – MORE EFFECTIVE ONLINE ADVERTIZING

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  • Stop sending all your money to facebook and google, spend it more wisely and get far better results from a Belgian #datascience startup offering a more secure and safer solution for Online advertising.
  • Invest in more effective targeted online advertising while respecting consumers’ privacy concerns

 

 David Martens  crowdPhilippe Degueldre Prof. Foster Provost    Book-cover

Nice crowd yesterday for the on  the top floor of the  Boerentoren (KBCstartit) for the Launch of Predicube, a startup founded by David Martens.

We had 3 presentations:

  • Welcome and introduction by David Martens
  • Philippe Degueldre, director business intelligence at Pebble Media
  • Prof. Foster Provost, Professor at NYU’s SternBusiness School and Co-founder of several big data companies

70% of every euro that is redirected from print to online advertising currently floats out of the local economy

 

Online advertising is big business, but spamming consumers with random ads has proven not to be the best way to optimize advertising returns: people only click on ads that are relevant to them. Hence, media companies and advertisers have been exploring targeted advertising strategies to boost online ads’ click-through rates (and revenues) based on an analysis of people’s Internet surfing patterns. An approach that conflicts with consumers’ stringent privacy concerns?

Not anymore, thanks to Belgian tech starter PrediCube – a spin-off from digital research center iMinds and University of Antwerp, and supported by the Start it @KBC incubator. PrediCube uses big data analytics to make sure consumers get to see those ads that are truly of interest to them, thereby increasing click-through rates up to 300%, while putting its unique ‘privacy by design’ strategy center stage.

Analyzing and predicting consumers’ online behavior to increase click-through rates up to 300%

Online adverteren is big business. Online advertising is big business. In Europe alone, online ad spending topped €27 Billion in 2013 (a YoY increase of 11,9%). Yet, while this big market potential offers a great deal of opportunities, the shift to online advertising also comes with a number of important concerns. The authors of the book Het nieuwe TV-kijken1 found, for instance, that 70% of every euro that is redirected from print to online advertising currently floats out of the local economy – right into the hands of a few big international players such as Google and Facebook.

Trying to counter that drain of resources and valuable consumer data, PrediCube now brings to market a solution that can be used by local media advertising companies to predict consumers’ interest in specific ads – based on an analysis of their online behavior. Result: targeted online advertising campaigns that are much more efficient and generate higher revenues.

“Using PrediCube, we have been able to increase targeted online ads’ click-through rates up to 300%. In other words, we are now able to match ads with the right consumer profiles up to 3 times more accurately. Moreover, we want to significantly increase the inventory’s volume based on socio-demographic criteria (such as age and gender). Thanks to PrediCube we will be able to do this in the very near future. It goes without saying that this approach will positively impact our business and product offering,” says Philippe Degueldre, director business intelligence at Pebble Media, managing online advertising for 80 premium websites – such as VRT, Telenet, RTBF, Viacom, Elle and LinkedIn.

Strong focus on ‘privacy by design’

Dealing adequately with consumers’ privacy concerns is a major focus area for the PrediCube team; hence they are investing a great deal of effort in their ‘privacy by design’ approach.

“PrediCube works by means of cookies,” explains Prof. dr. David Martens, co-founder of PrediCube and Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Applied Economics, University of Antwerp. “First of all, web pages that use the PrediCube customer behavior prediction tool will ask users’ explicit consent to use those cookies. If the cookies are not accepted, no behavior tracking will take place.”

“Secondly, a number of privacy safeguards have been put in place,” David Martens continues. “Users are automatically ‘forgotten’ after 30 days, their online behavior is only tracked on premium web pages – not across the whole of the Internet – and their data is never sold to other parties.”

PrediCube: bringing together the best in research and entrepreneurship

PrediCube builds on the outcomes of the DiDaM project, a collaborative research effort under the banner of iMinds Media. DiDaM investigated ways of analyzing media users’ Internet sessions in real-time and identifying patterns to help advertisers integrate relevant ads into web pages (also in real-time). Objective: providing consumers with just those ads that are relevant to them. DiDaM’s research findings and the expertise from the Applied Data Mining research center of the University of Antwerp together laid the foundation of PrediCube. The PrediCube team can also count on the support of the Start it @KBC incubator – providing them with business guidance and office space.

 

About PrediCube

PrediCube is a new tech startup that uses advanced big data technology to predict which online users are interested in a product, allowing targeted advertising on premium websites. Or how a spinoff company of University of Antwerp and iMinds is ready to go head to head with Facebook and Google to compete for online advertising budgets. PrediCube results from an iMinds Media project that ended in 2014, investigating the potential of data for improved advertising (together with partners Concentra, Pebble Media, AdHese and KU Leuven). PrediCube has been co-founded by prof. David Martens, who heads the Applied Data Mining research group at the University of Antwerp (faculty of Applied Economic Sciences), and whose research focuses on the development and application of data mining algorithms. PrediCube was founded in October 2014, and is part of the Start it @KBC incubator. Current customers include Batibouw, Engels Ramen, Verandaland and Triple Living.

Contact

Press coverage about this lauch:

Congratulations Bigboards elected startup finalist Showcase at Strata + Hadoop World

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We deliver to the Data Scientists and Big Data engineers the best learning experience and the most productive development platform.

Daan & Wim

 

The Bigbards Team