February 02, 2015
Booz Allen’s online training program “Explore Data Science” is a finalist in the 18th annual SXSW Interactive Innovation Awards, part of the South by Southwest Interactive Festival. The self-paced, hands-on course teaches common data-science principles to students at all levels of data science proficiency.
Explore Data Science is one of 5 finalists in the “Responsive Design” category, a new award designation introduced this year and awarded for “excellent digital design, creating the best-integrated interaction in terms of content, aesthetics and functionality.”
“Explore Data Science” offers more than 40 hours of educational content to users, featuring galactic-themed gamification elements that guide students through increasingly advanced, scenario-based challenges. Faced with 32 distinct “missions,” users with basic proficiencies in programming are able to transform raw information into business-critical insights; and when a level is successfully completed, participants earn points, awards and badges that are shareable on social media. More importantly, however, successfully finishing missions allows users to develop or increase competency in the core tenets of data science. For example, analyzing a densely forested planet’s wildlife to identify the most dangerous plants and animals introduces players to data organization techniques as well as algorithms for pattern learning – integral tools for improving business outcomes.
Explore Data Science is the latest effort on behalf of Booz Allen Hamilton to support data science education and awareness. In 2013, the firm launched its Field Guide to Data Science, an industry resource of best practices. The new Explore Data Science training program complements those teachings by enabling future, or current, data scientists to practice, test and grow their capabilities in a simulation-based environment. The techniques learned in the Explore Data Science training program can then be easily translated into daily business operations.
The SXSW Interactive Innovation Awards embraces the evolving and broadening scope of the digital industry by reflecting its increasingly diverse ecosystem of platforms, software, apps and devices. Out of hundreds of applications received, this year's 70 finalist spots were selected by a panel of judges comprised of industry peers and experts.
"We are truly honored and humbled by the caliber of this year's Innovation Award finalists," said Mason Stewart, SXSW Interactive Innovation Awards Coordinator. "SXSW Interactive is driven based on the values of innovation, inspiration and creativity, and these finalists embody these principles to their core."