When I heard about the Gold Scholarship Programme Opportunities Fund*, I was determined to make the most out of this opportunity and began to look into some career development events that I wouldn’t usually be able to attend. I had recently sparked interest in the field of data science and machine learning, and when I came across the Open Data Science Europe Conference 2019, I knew that this experience would be invaluable to me. I was able to successfully apply to volunteer at the conference, which gave me free entry on the final day. The GSP Opportunities Fund enabled me to cover the cost of travel and accommodation for the conference which I was extremely grateful for.
Open Data Science (ODSC) organise a number of worldwide conferences throughout the calendar year, where world leaders in data science from both academia and industry present a selection of talks and workshops throughout the week. It is aimed primarily at professionals and postgraduate students. Since I am interested in both of these facets, I thought that this would be an excellent opportunity to obtain a preview into how an event like this functions.
For my volunteering responsibilities, I was primarily working on reception: signing attendees in and acting as a general help desk. In doing this, it not only enabled me to attend the event for free, but gave me the opportunity to volunteer again at future events. Volunteering at the event was a very rewarding experience and it also allowed me to gain an appreciation for the diversity of attendees that the event was intended for. This is an opportunity that I hope to continue to make use of in upcoming years.
The talks that I attended covered topics ranging from: using AI to automate flight, to how data science is used in quantitative finance. Something that I gained an appreciation for was just how many careers can be linked to data science. I was also able to attend some workshops that helped me to develop my practical skills in Python and deciding on an appropriate machine learning framework. I feel that these workshops were invaluable to me in developing my data science knowledge and it allowed me to see how these skills may translate directly into various industrial settings. On top of this, there were also various networking events that I was able to attend, providing me with the opportunity to learn more about a career in data science from leading experts in the field. This particularly helped me to identify potential career paths in this field and what I might be able to expect from such careers.
Due to the donors supporting the GSP Opportunities Fund, I was able to attend this conference without the financial disincentive of accommodation and travel expenses, with which I probably wouldn’t have been able to attend. The opportunity presented me with much more than I had anticipated and I am incredibly grateful to have been provided with this opportunity.
*The GSP Opportunities Fund provides Gold Scholars with an opportunity to apply for funds to support their participation in personal development activities. If you would like to find out more, or donate to the Fund, please take a look at our webpage, or please contact Molly Southwood, Deputy Director and Head of Alumni Engagement.