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Jonathan got his start in data science programming species distribution models for research projects in Zimbabwe. He then detoured through an Electrical and Computer Engineering degree at the University of Cape Town before moving back into the data world as a Data Science Educator with Ixio Analytics. He is currently working as a consultant for various firms in Zimbabwe and South Africa, and also works part time as a data scientist for Zindi. You can see some of his personal projects on his blog.
Jonathan was born and raised in Harare, Zimbabwe, and his work today covers a broad range of data-centric projects. He's worked on a new method of more rapid machine learning with unlabelled data, classifying images and so much more. He's exactly the kind of intrepid data explorer that makes him one of the best people to learn data science from today. He'll be teaching the second iX Remote session Data Science course.
Jonathan Whitaker, iXperience 2020 Data Science Session 2 Head Instructor
Besides getting ready for new competitions at Zindi, I’m working on taking some of the winning submissions to past competitions and building them into useful solutions. Examples in the pipeline include a bird call identification app and a dataset of predicted historical air quality for cities across Africa.
I view Data Science as a set of tools that can be applied to many different fields. I enjoy seeing new places where these tools can make an impact.
I’m looking forward to the class time. Nothing quite matches the immediate feedback and interaction you get when teaching in real-time.
Many components of the Data Science workflow are getting automated or replaced as new methods become available, but the core skills of asking good questions, testing your hypotheses, dealing with unusual data and knowing how to share results are always going to be necessary.
Knowing how to do some useful things. Knowing how to look up and learn many more useful things. And hopefully all the core skills mentioned above.
Find excuses to write code. Automate simple tasks, make dumb games, solve maths problems, bore your friends and family with graphs and simulations on random topics. Practice is how we get better :)
I’m a bit of a hobby collector. The basics like music, art, birdwatching, rock climbing, hiking juggling, photography... But also lock-picking, entomology, arachnology, printer disassembly, 3D printing, electronics, Rubik's cube speed-solving, amateur microscopy…
Pratchett for light (re-)reading, the Bible for faith, some decent field guides to identify the plants and animals on the island…
‘Rocket Man’, just that one song, was my most listened-to genre of music over one semester at UCT. It’s pretty indelibly burned into my brain :)