Boston Data Festival: Data Science Day
Post by Alyssa Wu ’17
On Saturday, September 24th, I attended the Boston Data Festival: Data Science Day. Concentrating in business analytics, I wanted the experience of being immersed in workshops of experienced analytics experts and to take the learning outside of the classroom. Attending one of three days of the Boston Data Festival not only gave me an insight into how analytics is actually used in multiple companies, but also presented career opportunities for me. At the Boston Data Festival, there is a career fair. Here’s a pro tip: submit your resume as soon as you choose to attend because employers are looking to hire! A week before the data festival, I received a call from a recruiter for the analytics team at CVS Health asking to interview me at the data festival. This could not have come at a more perfect timing because for the last few weeks, I have been applying and interviewing for full time jobs, and one more opportunity just easily presented itself.
The big day: The data festival is located at the Microsoft New England Research and Development Center, a very casual and innovative atmosphere. At the data festival, there were a number of experts who gave talks and technical workshops on a variety of interesting scenarios. During the workshops, I noticed that I was probably the youngest person in the room. Initially, I was a little intimidated, but during Q&A, I realized that the attendees had just the same type of questions that I did: what is your business model? How exactly does your company make revenue from providing seemingly free analysis to consumers? And more. One of the workshops I attended was “Buy or Wait? Consumer-friendly Airfare prediction” given by the chief data scientist of Hopper. Hopper analyzes flights to make airfare predictions and shared some of the predictive analyses that his team uses to make these predictions and suggestions on their mobile application. During this workshop, I learned not only how some of the analysis works to predict airfare, but also more about the airfare industry. Did you know that tickets aren’t actually priced individually? They’re shifted throughout multiple fare price “buckets” or “shelves” depending on the number of potential customers looking at it.
I learned so much from how different analyses are performed to how different industries operate. Thank you to the Undergraduate Professional Accelerator Fund for giving me these wonderful insights into analytics in the real world!