How Colaberry Uses Data Science To Address The Skills Gap

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The Colaberry School of Data Analytics provides pathways into data analytics careers through training, mentoring, and job placement at scale through its platform. Colaberry programs were created with the goal of training individuals from typically underrepresented backgrounds and helping them to begin careers in the data science field.

The idea to create Colaberry was planted in 2012. I was watching a program on military veterans who shared their experiences about coming back home from service to an economy that offered little in terms of job prospects. I was able to immediately empathize with them as I had been in a similar experience a decade before. When I first came to the United States in 2001, I struggled to find a job and my career future felt uncertain. It was largely thanks to the guidance of supportive mentors that I was able to acquire the job preparation and professional skills I needed to grow in my career and secure a comfortable life for my family. While watching the episode, I felt inspired to “pay it forward” and help others achieve their own American Dream. I gathered together with like-minded individuals I had met over the course of my career to create Colaberry, a mission-driven business which trains thousands of people from diverse backgrounds, including veterans, refugees, and low-income earners from underserved communities.

We chose to provide training in data skills for several reasons. It was a natural choice because our team has substantial expertise in data science, data analytics, and data engineering. Additionally, this field offers many opportunities for individuals willing to acquire the necessary skills, due to substantial job growth and a scarcity of talent. These jobs can provide salaries starting around $50,000/- with a promise of continuous career advancement. Lastly, data is only useful when it is interpreted by humans. Organizations rely heavily on humans with various experiences to interpret the data in different ways. Increased diversity in data analytics allows organizations to harness better value of data.

However, as most of our trainees have limited or no background in technology, learning the skills required for these jobs can initially be challenging. Typically trainees start the program with high enthusiasm, thinking that it is easy to learn data science skills. However, with in a couple of weeks they realize that acquiring these skills is not as easy as they thought and their enthusiasm may go down; they may start doubting themselves and even consider giving up. We had to think outside of the box to develop strategies to address these challenges.

As a company that focuses on data, we have used data science to benchmark successful trainees and provide guided learning for trainees to succeed. Colaberry has gathered various objective and subjective data points over a period of four years from more than 2,500 trainees and more than 1,000,000 hours of accumulated individual training hours. In the following section, I will focus on discussing about just one of the data points that has a game-changing impact on success of the trainees.

Based on the data, one of the key attributes that can predict success is the consistency that students exhibit throughout the program. One simple data point we use to measure consistency is the students’ login rate to colaberry.com, which is highly correlated with their overall performance. The diagrams below illustrate the login rates of six different students over a period of twelve weeks and the impact on their efficiency and program completion.

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High login rate: The data in the above diagrams illustrates that the higher the login rate, the higher the student efficiency and course completion percentage. Trainees who login six or more days per week into the Colaberry platform and complete their tasks on time have high completion rates and high efficiency ratings. However, even for trainees with a high login rate, a trainee with consistent login rate has higher efficiency (94%) compared to a trainee with a less consistent login rate (89%). These trainees have high chances of learning during the training process and succeeding in their careers.

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Average login rate: These diagrams illustrate that an average login rate of two to six days per week results in average efficiency. It is interesting to observe how the efficiency of trainees is impacted significantly by the consistency. The trainee with greater consistency has higher efficiency (79%) compared to the lower efficiency (60%) of trainee with less consistent logins. These trainees can be nudged and guided to succeed in their careers.

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Low login rate: The data in the above diagrams unequivocally illustrates that the lower the login rate is, the less that efficiency and completion rates will be. These trainees have no chance of completing the program on time and thus has no chance of starting a career in this industry.

The trainees can be provided this data in real time, which allows them to understand the impact of their behavior on their performance. This understanding can further guide trainees towards making better decisions, altering their behaviors for better performance and positioning themselves to succeed in the training and ultimately their careers.

Colaberry’s platform uses data science to analyze numerous data points such as demographics, logins, access time, access type, activities performed, accuracy, collaboration, and participation to provide real-time guidance to trainees, instructors, mentors, and program administrators. This data-driven guidance empowers the trainees to learn new skills faster and more effectively and allows them to transition confidently into new careers. Colaberry is proud of what it has achieved until now, having successfully trained more than 2,500 people for high-demand jobs such as data analyst, data developer, business intelligence developer, report developer, business analyst, data scientist, data engineer, project manager etc. Our goal is to positively impact the lives and careers of 100,000 people and make the American dream more accessible for all.




Ram Dhan Yadav Katamaraja, is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Colaberry.

The GradsofLifeVoice Forbes team provides thought leadership, research and expert commentary on innovative talent pipelines and related issues such as the skills gap, income inequality, workforce diversity, and the business case for employment pathways. We seek to change employers’ perceptions of young adults with atypical resumes from social liabilities to economic assets. This post was originally featured here.


Business Case, Education, Technology, Workforce Development,
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