Varsity partners with German Institute to train locals on data science

From right, Mt Kenya University (MKU) Vice-chancellor Prof Stanley Waudo, ICT Secretary Dr Kate Getao, MKU Board Member John Gicharu and Founder Data Analytic Institute Dr Emily Kesse during the launch of Data science project. [Photo: John Muchucha, Standard]
Mount Kenya University (MKU) has partnered with a German institute to train small businesses on data collection and usage.

The team will tour Nairobi, Nyeri, Uasin Gishu, Nakuru and Mombasa counties to create awareness on the impact of data science on businesses.

“A lot of businesses don’t yet have a data science mindset. And even the people who are giving money to run projects in companies are not yet bought,” said Dr Emily Kesse, a spokesperson for New Data Analytics Institute, a German-based non-profit organisation. “In each of these counties, we will bring data science awareness. So we will teach the basics of data science,” said Kesse.

Ms Kesse regretted that save for Strathmore, there are no other academic institutions in Kenya training locals on data science.

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Build algorithms

And most corporations are not putting money into this area. She said, most universities teach Information Technology (IT) which she insisted should not be confused with data science. She described data science as a mixture of IT, statistics and Mathematics. “You use statistics to build algorithms and you package them as software,” said Kesse.

The training in each county will be done in two-and-half days and will involve discussion on how people can scale up their business using data science. The trainees will also be taught how algorithms are built. “This is a pilot project. We begin it in Kenya, we can also go to other countries,” said Kesse. The Economist described data as the new oil. The titans in this “digital oil,” said The Economist, are Alphabet (Google’s parent company), Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft. “They are the five most valuable listed firms in the world. Their profits are surging: they collectively racked up over (Sh2.5 trillion) $25 billion in net profit in the first quarter of 2017.”

Kesse said the dividends for those engaged in data science are massive.

mkuMount Kenya UniversityGerman Institutedata science