By: Alejandro Serrano, deputy news editor
The second term of Northeastern University’s (NU) Level Analytics Bootcamp program will commence this month in Boston’s Financial District. The post-graduate education program is an extensive two-month, full-time course that culminates in a certificate.
Additional programs have been expanded to Charlotte, N.C., Seattle, and Silicon Valley for this term.
“At the moment [I found Level], I was looking for a job, but I had a sort of skill gap. I have a bachelor’s degree in economics, but did not have many skills with data programs,” Antonio Serbiá, University of Puerto Rico 2012 graduate and first-term Level student, said. “It was a good learning experience. The skills taught are important because they are things employers are looking for in a data entry level.”
Level is an eight-week data analytics boot camp, said Neel Desai, Level Education’s head of employer relations. The first term of the program launched last October and ended in December.
“We are excited to see where we go now and listen to the feedback we get,” Desai said. “Those who take the course – students – provide a lot of feedback in terms of instruction and projects, as well as our employer partners in what exactly they are looking for in data analysts…lastly how can we, our students, help them to ultimately make it beneficial and add value to both of those sides.”
The idea for the program was developed by New Ventures, a team at NU’s Global Network that focuses on developing business ideas, education boundaries and diversifying revenue streams, according to Nick Ducoff, New Ventures’ vice president and Level founding director. New Ventures started developing Level in the second half of last year.
“What we (New Ventures) do is continue to push Northeastern to the frontier of higher education,” Ducoff said. “We had seen similar things [to Level] happening in the for-profit space, and said ‘boy Northeastern can do this better; we have all the ingredients to do this better.’”
Other companies that have similar boot camp programs include Metis, based in New York and San Francisco, Galvanize, with eight campuses across the nation, and General Assembly with a campus in Boston. The main focus of these programs is data science.
What makes Level different is the experiential learning and relevance to industry, Desai said. The program may as well be a full-time job. In the second half of the program, students are paired with an employer to tackle an actual problem the employer is facing, using the skills taught in the first half to find a solution.
The course begins with introduction to data analysis, progresses to data programs and culminates in data visualization, according to Level’s Boston curriculum.
“In my old job I was doing a lot of sales and market analysis, and I had to report on that,” said Nichole Cohen, first-term Level student and class of 2003 Northeastern alumna. “I wasn’t so confident in those skills of mine, so I thought Level would be a great option. It is very intense, the first part of everyday was lecture and some afternoons there were guest lectures…[by] having industry professionals come in you learn about all different parts of data analysis.”
The demand for two-year master’s degree education is going down due to expense and time constraint according to second-year economics major Mikal Khoso, who started a co-op at Level this January.
“People want to re-skill, people want to operate their skills and people want to transition in their careers, but people want to do that dynamically and quickly, and two months is a lot better than two years,” he said. “It’s cheaper and experiential…these things all make a difference.”
Photo courtesy of Nick Ducoff