I recently interviewed Derek K Degbedzui about opportunities and challenges facing the Data Science industry in Ghana.
And how his startup Notitia is addressing these issues.
1. Hi Derek, could you tell us a bit about yourself ?
How did you get into data science ?
When I started in data science, I had virtually no experience and I was stuck in a number of materials while studying for my master’s degree in Management Information Systems with no career prospects.
I struggled to break into the field for months and was just as frustrated as anybody else.
With a lot of hard work, persistence, and experimentation, I was finally able to prove naysayers wrong, crack the code, and land my first job in the field.
I developed my data science job search strategies over time and eventually became a known name in Data science in Ghana as one of the young people helping students particularly to find interest in Data science opportunities. Along the way mentored and guided hundreds of aspiring data scientists across all levels especially in our universities.
Once I made the transition into data science, I knew I had to share my knowledge to help others start do the same and even do better . It became my mission to help others succeed where I struggled. I worked with number of students on campuses through Ethical AI club and it’s been fantastic.
With both job seeker and hiring manager perspectives in mind, I worked tirelessly to distill my years of knowledge into the battle-tested Notitia intelligent platform . And since its inception in COVID-19 era in 2020, Notitia platform is positioned to helping aspiring data scientists from my homeland Ghana and the African continent at large to get jobs and develop faster on it.
I believe that it shouldn’t be so difficult for curious, hardworking, committed people like you to find a job that you love, and that’s why I started Notitia Intelligent Mentoring Program- so that you don’t have to go through months or years of heartache like I did or others so that you can have an exciting, fulfilling career and live the life you’ve been dreaming of.
Data science Superpower: Actuarial studies, Strategic thinking, project management and commitment to implementing ideas.
Favorite Algorithm: Deep Q Reinforcement Learning: I believe that this algorithm has potential to help is leverage the the true machine learning concept.
#1 Favorite Book: Better Angels of our Nature by Steven Pinker
Motivated By: Constant learning. I strive to be the best I possibly can be so I can make lasting, positive impacts in domains like softwares and Acturial studies
When not working you are: Reading, chatting and doing Disk Jockeying
Favorite Movie character: Jack Ryan from Tom Clancy’s books.
2. Can u tell us more about your recent startup venture, Notitia ?
What role do you play in Notitia ?
We want to fix the broken system created by today’s education and recruiting systems—it really shouldn’t be so difficult to have a career that you love. That’s why we started Notitia Ubuntu Launchpad: we think you deserve career training that actually works and gets results fast without breaking the bank.
So abandon Reddit, stop sifting through 10,000 Google results and throw out that student loan application: the Notitia Ubuntu Launchpad program is the absolute best and most comprehensive job search resource out there for aspiring data scientists.
With this Launchpad from Notitia, you will learn:
- Defining your goals and mastering the mindset for success
- Developing and mastering the technical skills
- Creating your standout portfolio projects
- Crafting the perfect application
- Landing interviews at your dream company
- Acing phone screens, coding challenges, and on-site interviews
- Effortlessly negotiating your dream offer
How it Works - 3 Core Pillars of the program:
Step-by-step online course specifically engineered to land you job in data science
Clear action plans, templates, and guides that break down, in detail, the exact steps for you to follow.
- Winning Slack community with over 1000+ like-minded, dedicated data scientists
- Supportive peers, students that have “done it”, and our expert team is there to support and guide you. Ultra-active, 100% response rate
- Get unlimited 1-on-1 support with our expert mentors during on daily basis
- Weekly workshops to learn new skills and keep you up-to-date with the best data science and job-search techniques.
The Mentoring is the most important feature of the program as Mentors as expected to sign a contract with mentees and then invest in the mentee until he or she gets a job. As per the agreement the mentee will pay 5% of his or her first 6 months’ salary as the reward to be mentor.
The platform however charges one-time payment of 1,800 cedis or a monthly amount of 400 cedis for six months.
Real-world applications of data science skills
Learn what they don’t teach in school - spotting risk vs reward, choosing models that will be effective in production, and dealing with ambiguity as a data scientist.
Becoming a leader that moves up quickly
Learn how to consistently earn yearly promotions and speed up your career by becoming a leader that inspires and empowers others.
Overcoming fear and frustration
Learn the secrets to never getting nervous in interviews and how to overcome failures in your job search by using them to fuel your future growth.
Mastering the job search and launching your career
Learn how to break into the field of data science and get your career started with actionable, practical advice that you won’t hear anywhere else.
Navigating your career and delivering value in industry
Learn how have a successful career by solving difficult problems, delivering business value, communicating results, and becoming an authority in industry.
Mastering focus and productivity
Learn how to evaluate what is important in your career, prioritize your time, and optimize your productivity, relationships, income, and happiness.
3. What are some of the problems affecting AI in Ghana, and how does Notitia address them ?
The biggest challenge is the few talents in the country finding opportunities around. This is mostly because we continue to make AI and Data science look academic while we allow the real-world people like businesses to suffer.
We need to create enough use cases to such industries and surest way of doing so is to build portfolios. Building the right portfolios to the specific industry needs is one we need to spend time on.
So, as part of Notitia Launchpad we developed a course named portfolio development course.
This course will among other things include:
- Learn the 4D Data Science Lifecycle and how to use it to create massive impact as a data scientist
- Learn the DNA of standout portfolios and projects (and why choosing the right names for your projects is make-or-break)
- Clear list of “do’s and don’ts”
- Create your own data science project to include in your portfolio (designed for beginner OR advanced users)
4. Do you have any final message for aspiring Data Scientists in Africa, or African AI
We need to do a lot more as expectations is high.
We need to overcome challenges by developing relationships.
Networking is the most effective strategy for job search. Find people with similar interests and talk to them.
Do it offline on meetups and conferences, do it online on social networks.
Actively use LinkedIn:
- Every time you meet somebody, ask their LinkedIn profile
- Connect to everyone you know
- Connect to people you don’t know: people from the same city, same university, same field
- Engage: share content, talk to your connections
- Don’t simply cold-send your CV and ask for a referral.
- Get to know your connections, ask what they are doing, tell them about yourself, share something you did recently — a project or an article.
Do it, and the job will find you itself.