Frequently asked questions about DSR

Data Science Retreat is a three month, in person, Berlin based data science program.  The program is designed to help professionals transition into data science.  It is split between two months of teaching from industry experts and one month of project work.

We use a 30-minute interview to decide if​ Data Science Retreat is right for you.  The interview is a conversation where we will discuss your education and experience, as well as your understanding of Python, data science and machine learning.  You can apply for the interview here.

Data Science Retreat is unique in allowing participants to focus a third of their time on a single portfolio project.  This project is a chance for participants to apply what they are taught in the first two months of the program.

Data Science Retreat culminates with a public demonstration day – an opportunity for participants to present their work to the Berlin data science community.  

Data Science Retreat is for you if:

– you have the motivation to learn data science

– you want to learn as quickly as possible

– you have started to learn Python

– you have worked with data

– you have started getting an understanding of machine learning

Our participants tend to fall into one of four categories:

– academics – 3+ years as a post-doc

– industry insiders – 3+ years in industry

– data analysts

– software developers

We also have brilliant graduates that don’t fit into any of these classes.  The best way to find out if Data Science Retreat is for you is to schedule an interview.

Data Science Retreat is full time.  Because many of our best teachers are working as data scientists, classes are often on the weekends.  

We accept people who are employed, but the employer must give the participant the space to focus on learning data science.

Data Science Retreat is an advanced program, meaning all participants start with a working knowledge of data science.  

Online courses are a valuable step in anyone transitioning into data science.  One of the issues with online courses is knowing which one to pick.  Another is that you can’t ask questions.

Data Science Retreat offers a curated teaching curriculum, which is updated regularly with the knowledge and experience of our expert teachers.

The small class sizes are an excellent format for participants to ask questions from experts.  Participants find they learn a lot from other participant’s questions.

The capstone project we’ve seen from MOOCs only walks half the path: you will be given the question to work on and the data, and all participants will work on the same set of problems.

This is not at all what people do at Data Science Retreat. You need to practice your creativity with data, find your question, and build a data product.

During the first two months of the program classes run five days a week throughout the week (including weekends).  Because many of our teachers are working full time they can only teach on the weekends.
The last month of the program is project work – most students work on campus, others work from home.
Classes run from 9:30 to 17:30, with a break for lunch.  The structure of a class depends on the topic and the teacher.  The ideal class with alternate between theory & practical work.  Some classes are all theory – others are all practical.

50% of the tuition fees are paid before the retreat and remaining 50% within two weeks from the start of the retreat. We also offer an income sharing agreement – see our Financing page for details.

Minimum requirements
– four core CPU
– 8 GB RAM
– 256 GB SSD

Recommended requirements
– eight core CPU
– 16 GB RAM
– 512 GB SSD

A GPU can be useful for some classes but is not required. Most students will use AWS or Google Cloud for their project work.

We recommend a UNIX based operating system – either macOS or Ubuntu 18.04.

Windows can be a challenging development environment in data science.  If you insist on using Windows you can use the Windows Subsystem for Linux to run UNIX programs.

Python is our language of choice (Python 3 – don’t use Python 2!).  We recommend the Anaconda distribution of Python, which provides precompiled libraries commonly used in data science and virtual environment management.

We know the most important thing for many participants is getting a job in data science.  Our program is designed to support this goal.

One example of this are the two mini-competitions we run.  These give students the ability to practice an exercise that is often used by companies in their hiring process – a take home assignment.

We also dedicate time to practicing answering interview questions and being able to communicate clearly what data science is to non-technical colleagues.  We also offer assistance designing your CV, cover letters & Linkedin profile.

Our network of teachers and graduates also offer an organic and unique source of job opportunities to our participants.  Many of our participants are hired through these connections.

Berlin is one of the few cities that can be mentioned in the same breath as San Francisco, London & Tel Aviv when it come to a tech scene.  Berlin has a vibrant startup & meetup scene, and has offices from tech giants such as Amazon, Microsoft and Google.

Berlin has a unique and world class cultural scene, ranging from the Pergamon museum to the infamous Berghain techno club.  The city also has a rich political history, including one of John F. Kennedy’s most famous speeches.  

Berlin is affordable, with reasonably priced housing and a range of international cuisines. For many of our participants Berlin is a strong reason to come to DSR – many end up calling Berlin home.

The course is taught entirely in English.  You can get around Berlin without knowing any German – but a little goes a long way!

Housing is cheap! It’s easy to find rooms in a shared apartment for $500 (EUR 450); and a studio or small flat for $726 (EUR 658/mo).

There are many resources but you should try the woloho.com newsletter, Craigslist Berlin, WG Gesucht, and/or Immobilienscout. Another great resource is Toytown Germany (forum for expats). You can also try AirBnB for temporary housing while you look for something permanent.

The options you have for a visa are specific to your country.  

In general, participants either come on a three month tourist visa or a six month working visa.

We have helped over a hundred students with their visa process – in all cases the sooner you start, the better.

To join our next batch