Data in the United States was a $170 billion market in 2018, and as large as that number is, it is continuing to grow at very steady rates and is expected to be a $270 billion market as soon as next year. With those numbers in mind, it doesn’t matter what sector of business you’re in: a firm grasp on how to maximize data collection and properly utilize data analytics are paramount for advancement in any sector of business moving forward.
Data analysis continues to evolve, and in addition to a variety of analytic tools that can be mastered to improve your skill sets, data competitions are becoming more and more common as ways to hone skills, and ways to get noticed in the rapidly growing (monetarily, too) data analytics space. Here is some more insight on data competitions, and a few that can help you become the go-to person for data analysis at your place of employment.
What Are Data Competitions
Set up by many different organizations, data competitions are, in a sense, the data scientist’s version of a remote convention. Organizers create practical and forward-thinking data problems and invite analysts to test their skills against like-minded individuals. These competitions are great for boosting skills and motivation, as well as opportunities to network. Here are 5 popular competitions worth checking out in 2020.
Kaggle is to data competitions what Bitcoin is to cryptocurrency. There are plenty of other options, and all pretty similar, but this is the kingpin when it comes to popularity. With Kaggle, data competitions can be hosted by local individuals to keep the competition as small as two or three people. As far as practicality, Kaggle is also heralded as having some of the most realistic competition scenarios, with everything from cancer prediction to improving traffic flows with stoplight programming. Professionals recommend Kaggle as a great starting point for those new to data competitions.
As competitions tend to be for the most driven analysts, the aptly named DrivenData is becoming a favorite medium for frequent data competitors. One of the reasons for its allure, is the fact that many of the scenarios are relative to nonprofit organizations and the scenario data is used to develop predictive analysis for social good!
In addition to hosting large-scale competitions, Topcoder also offers on-demand services from designers and technologists to create scenarios for you to use for your team. Their main competition is the Topcoder Open, dubbed “The ultimate program and design tournament” which had participants from 31 countries compete in 2019. In the data science inner-circles, if you are able to say you placed in a high percentile in the Topcoder Open, you’ll most likely have your next drink bought for you.
Iron Viz is a bit more granular than others, as it focus on visualization processes and takes place on the somewhat-underutilized Tableau environment. Participants work their way up in a tournament-style competition, ultimately ending in an in-person final at the Tableau Conference.
Tianchi Big Data Competition
Tianchi cultivates brains from all across the data competition space to come up with industry-focused competitions and problems, unique to your company’s industry (construction, healthcare, etc.). Competitors in the Tianchi contests also tip their hats to the amount of feedback and takeaway data that participants are allowed to transfer to their personal computers.
This list is not exhaustive, and similar to Iron Viz, there are many smaller-scale competitions that may serve you better in honing certain skills on certain platforms. Regardless of your platform, your competition in the job force is attending these, so you should be, too!