May 7, 2018

iX Teacher Spotlight — Andrew B. Collier — Data Science 2018

"I love the pace of change in Data Science. There’s always something new and I enjoy the challenge of keeping up with the evolving technology."

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A Data Scientist with years of experience in academic and commercial environments, Andrew currently runs his own Data Science consultancy based in Durban, South Africa. When he's not working on Game Design, and Data Analysis (predominantly in R and Python), he's running marathons or hanging out with his family, perfecting his rendition of 'Baa Baa Black Sheep' for his little one.

Andrew Collier

 Andrew B. Collier, iXperience 2018 Data Science Head Teacher

What are you working on now?

I’m currently working a large spatial optimisation project for a leading security company in South Africa.

What do you enjoy most about the Data Science industry?

I love the pace of change in Data Science. There’s always something new and I enjoy the challenge of keeping up with the evolving technology.

Other things I enjoy doing:

  • transforming raw and messy piles of data into a tidy and workable data set;
  • separating signal from noise in large volumes of data;
  • teasing subtle scraps of information out of smaller datasets;
  • making sense of analytical results within a business context;
  • communicating illuminating results in a clear and intuitive way...
  • ... with attractive visualisations and insightful discussion; and
  • doing all of this in plain English, accessible to both Physicists and Grandmothers.

Why did you decide to get involved with teaching and how do you continue to keep things fresh?

I started off my career as an academic. Also 75% of my family are teachers, so it’s in my blood. With regards to keeping things fresh, the Data Science field is changing rapidly, so I try to incorporate topical issues (like Machine Learning and big data) in my teaching.

What are you most looking forward to about iXperience this summer?

Spending four weeks talking about something I’m passionate about, sharing my knowledge with interested students and guiding them in creating something new and applicable.

What skills will iX students have after graduating from your class?

Students will be able to competently perform a range of analyses, transforming data from a raw state into something useful. We'll cover everything from elementary statistics to advanced Machine Learning.

What’s one piece of advice that you have for the iX class of 2018?

Use UNIX. Learn to love the command line.

What would students be surprised to learn about you?

I've worked on all seven continents! I know all the lyrics to 'Baa Baa Black Sheep' (I have a two year old daughter). I also run my own blog, which you can visit here.

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