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Building to One million Nigerian Data Scientists in 10 years

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Data Science Nigeria is a non-profit organisation that aims to educate Nigerian youths in the knowledge of AI and related fields for socio-economic development in Nigeria. Data Science Nigeria (DSN) mandate is to lead the revolution by educating and equipping young Nigerians Artificial Intelligence (AI) skills to enable them to become more productive to the country and industries in the world at large.

DSN believes that building a local data science/AI ecosystem producing data scientists will help position Nigeria to become an outsourcing hub for international data science projects, thereby providing job opportunities for millions of youths across Nigeria.

How it’s Going Down

In a keynote presentation at an AI Summit in Lagos, Dr. Olubayo Adekanmbi,founder Data Science Nigeria and convener, reiterated the vision to raise one million high-qualified, data scientists in the next 10 years

 

Adekanmbi-Olubayo image

Dr. Adekanmbi desires every Nigerian child under the age of 10 to understand the concept of AI, its applications and builds the necessary skills so that Nigeria becomes the talent pool for the rest of the world by 2025. He states how Data Science Nigeria is working towards that goal.

The first step is by creating an AI preparatory book that will be distributed to Elementary school children for free. This way knowledge on data science is prepared in a simplified manner for children who will become data scientists in the future.

The second step is to build a system that will allow that knowledge to be passed and this will be done by working with various state Governments, Dr. Adekanmbi reveals at the event the ‘train-the-trainer’ program where teachers will be equipped on the knowledge of AI, to be able to facilitate teaching young children in classrooms the rudiments of AI.

Benefits and Impacts

The DSN boot camp trains intelligent students from all over the country with help from international AI experts equipped with problem-solving skills through the use of data analytics and technology.

Data Science Nigeria also runs Artificial Intelligence Hackathon after the boot camp, to test the knowledge of various participants on the training they had received, and a winner gets the opportunity to study abroad for a Master’s Degree in Artificial Intelligence.

The knowledge gained will then be taken back to different schools and communities. This way DSN intends to spread knowledge among the teeming youth population which they can use to capitalize on the technology development in Nigeria and help them prepare for industry jobs.

Data Scientists for the Future

The DSN boot camp is supported by local and international companies such as Microsoft, Facebook, Terragon Group, Axa Mansard, Bluechip technologies and other technology organizations aimed at creating as many AI Data scientists as possible in Nigeria.

Bluechip Technologies Limited is one of the local and enlightened companies supporting DSN on the possibilities of teaching artificial intelligence to young Nigerian youths and how they could leverage their knowledge to become technology entrepreneurs.

Data Science Nigeria is also seeking professional data scientists either in the industries or in academics to mentor young Nigerians. This programme requires the volunteers to invest at least an hour every 30 days to prepare, guide and inspire aspiring local data scientists. This will help complement the local boot camps, data competitions, and student exposure to projects.

The Data Science goal towards a million has already kick started and with the AI team reaching more than 24 cities in Nigeria. In which the highest operations has taken place in Lagos, Owerri, Abuja, Abeokuta, Sokoto, Ado- Ekiti, Port-Harcourt, Jos, Kano, Uyo and other cities.

And in the last two years of DSN operations, the organization has reached over 10,000 students from initiatives; such as the 1st intercampus machine learning competition involving 95 universities across Nigeria, AI Summer School for kids, AI-oriented Hackathon and learning based Kaggle competitions with Lagos state being the top state from which participants originate from.

Conclusion

Data Science Nigeria is one of the Nigerian non-profit organizations preparing the Nigerian youths for the new AI revolution, with its goal to raise 1 million data scientists in ten years to come and with the strategies set down, we can rest assured of a future where the knowledge of Data science is rampant among the youths.

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