May 12, 2023

Breaking into Data Science: Francis Akrong’s Journey with the DataCamp-Ishango.ai Scholarship

Share a bit about your background. Where did you grow up, and what were your early interests?

I grew up in Cantonment, a suburb of Accra, Ghana, that is located close to the airport. As a child, I was always captivated by the roar of jet engines passing overhead and would often spend hours watching planes take off and land at the airport. This developed into a lifelong fascination with planes and aviation.

How did you first become interested in data science?

In 2014, I met a data scientist while visiting a friend at a banking institution. I was impressed by the data scientist’s ability to skillfully manipulate data in order to help the organisation make better decisions. This encounter sparked my interest in data science and its ability to extract valuable insights from complex data sets. I went on to pursue computer science and management information systems at KNUST and GIMPA, respectively.

What are your learning objectives, and what do you hope to achieve through the DataCamp-Ishango scholarship?
My learning goal is to develop a strong technical foundation in forecasting models and trends for global data, particularly in the social sciences (economic trends, psychological behaviours), finance (customer behaviours when using credit facilities, adoption of digital banking solutions, and what constitutes satisfaction and service quality in developing countries). By the end of the 1-year DataCamp scholarship, I hope to have developed a strong understanding of data science principles and techniques. I want to be able to apply them to real-world problems and complete several data analysis projects that demonstrate my skills in data interpretation.

How do you believe the DataCamp-Ishango.ai scholarship will help you achieve your goals?
I believe that the DataCamp-Ishango.ai scholarship will help me achieve my goals by building my knowledge and skills in machine learning and data science. I am particularly interested in learning more about industry norms and best practices and the most recent tools and methods used in data science, AI, and deep learning. I hope to develop my expertise in using tools including Excel, PowerBI (data visualisation), Python, R, and SQL to manipulate big datasets and gain insights. I also want to improve my grasp of research design to provide creative responses to business issues. Lastly, I want to become familiar with legal requirements, ethical standards, and security measures for managing projects involving sensitive data.

What has been your experience with the scholarship so far?

The DataCamp-Ishango.ai scholarship has been a game-changer for me in terms of my ability to use SQL functions effectively. I have been able to master complex SQL functions like the case statement, nested sub-queries, and Windows functions. More importantly, I have been able to apply this knowledge to real-life data sets, allowing me to answer complex business questions and make recommendations that are grounded in data-driven insights.