This community is building Indonesia's data skills
Entrepreneur Fajar Jaman is working with civil servants and startups to boost data science skills in the country.
Data Science Indonesia is a community working to advance data innovation across the nation. Pulse Lab Jakarta caught up with Fajar Jaman, one of the founders, to learn more about the network and its plans for the coming years.
What inspired you to establish Data Science Indonesia?
When I was working in Teradata, I was tasked to explore open data opportunities and to map the market in Indonesia. I was lucky to have my work align perfectly with my passion. I had a dream to initiate a community for data professionals who want to contribute to social projects.
I realised this dream in May 2015. We started with 30 members predominantly drawn from tech organisations, but now our community stands at 600 people including scientists, artists, civil servants, academics and students.
How does the network function? And how do you choose your projects?
To become the centre of excellence for data science in Indonesia we developed three streams of activities, namely education, socialisation and advocacy. For example, earlier this year we organised Data Science Bootcamp, a six-month training programme for professionals including instruction in the basics of data science from experts in the telecommunications and consulting industries, as well as a course project or internship.
In terms of socialisation and advocacy we are active at events like Asia Open Data Hackathon with government agencies from Thailand and Taiwan, SciFi IoT Hackathon with Makedonia and Dattabot, and Data Science Weekend with UII, Google, Cloudera and many more. We also publish articles and work with media partners to promote the discipline.
To date we have collaborated with Perludem, Amartha Finance, Hivos, WikiDPR and Jakarta Smart City and will collaborate in the near future with Cloudera, Google and other public and private sector organisations. We recently signed an MoU with TELKOM as an official community partner. Through these partnerships, we are able to explore and utilise data or platforms for the purposes of data science education and social research.
What is your most interesting project at the moment?
We host one big event each year. And this year, in collaboration with many public and private sector partners, we will organise Data Science Weekend from 3rd to 5th December 2016 in Yogyakarta.
There will be more than 30 speakers at Data Science Weekend as well as concerts, an exhibition and a camp & jam among other activities. The exhibition will showcase data products and projects and we invite everyone to submit their data innovations. We will showcase the best 20 data-driven projects in the form of visualisations during the exhibition.
What does the future hold for data science in Indonesia and for Data Science Indonesia?
In the next one to two years, there will be a big demand for data scientists in Indonesia, especially from sectors such as banking, telecommunication and digital start-ups. It is an exciting time for aspiring data scientists. As DSI, we would like to develop more data science talent to realise this opportunity.
Regarding Data Science Indonesia, we are considering several organisational models in order to ensure the sustainability of the community. The first model is a platform to connect industry, projects and data science talent from across the region. The second model involves the development of a data platform to host shared data from the public and private sectors, which will have a similar concept to Kaggle, to democratise access to the data; however the platform would only be accessible to curated members of DSI to facilitate their training and exploratory endeavours.
What advice would you give to organisations who want to become more data savvy?
Well, our advice is to start small, with an impactful business case, before exploring bigger data problems. It is good practice to develop the skills of a team in-house and to familiarise them with the data exploration process.
Fahmi Ramadhan is communications assistant at Pulse Lab Jakarta.
Image by Data Science Indonesia