A Tour of Conference Programme - Interview with Aleksandar Linc-Djordjevic

Danica Bozin, Serbia

Marketing Manager at Data Science Conference / 4.0
Physics student

Recently we did an interview with our Programme Coordinator, Aleksandar Linc-Djordjevic, currently working in NCR as a Data Analyst. There was a lot we were interested in, but we settled for a few key questions. This is a comprehensive guide to the conference, everything from the big picture to practical details, we cover it here :)

What is the goal of the conference?

Aleksandar says that the main focus is to promote and popularise Data Science in Europe. He goes on to say how delivering high quality program is another major point and that we also do it because we like it and it’s fun. By taking part in organizing the Conference you get to speak with data scientists from all over the world and that’s truly inspiring, said Linc.

The program content has been improved over the last year and on 18-19 September you’ll be able to hear 56 talks, divided into 7 tracks: ML & AI, Big Data, Open Data, Data Science in 4th Industrial Revolution, Data Monetisation, Business Intelligence & Data Science Education, as well as 6 top-notch Keynotes, led by Hadley Wickham from R Studio.

Moreover, a lot of exclusive content has been added to the Conference, from 3 Workshops, 130h of Tech Tutorials to 4 Panel Discussions & an UnConference zone which provides great value to our guests and makes us quite unique. Our interviewee adds that the UnConference zone is a big opportunity to build great connections with all the data scientists and enthusiasts that are attending the Conference. There’s also a Business in Data part which we can’t provide much detail to at this moment but will be mentioned in the post event report.

Aleksandar would also like to take this opportunity to thank the Program Committee memebers and its president, Leo Mrsic, who did such a great job in helping the Conference be at the level that it is. A huge thank you goes to Ivan Lukovic, Boris Delibasic, Igor Ilic, Igor Andjelkovic, Zana Pekmez, Bojan Sovilj and Milos Milovanovic, who were all part of this team.

Why would someone approach a speaker or a panelist?

There are many reasons to do it, but let’s state just a few. Linc points out that if you chech the biographies or LinkedIn profiles of our speakers, you’ll find that they have a vast amount of experience and that they are basically on par with, for example, ODSC in San Diego. “That’s a huge thing!” - he says. You can’t miss asking any question you need answering whether you’re a beginner or a senior, someone will be able to give you a good reply.

Aleksandar was really excited about this question, so here’s a quote from the interview: “Not to forget, I had that privilege to speak with all of them, so I can give you small hint - don’t ask them just about some technical thing, ask them how and why they became data scientists, what is the funniest thing that happen to them, or maybe what motivates them to continue to be data scientists! You will learn a lot by approaching them like this and you’ll see why they are called the magicians of 21st century.”

What to expect when attending a Technical Tutorial?

“If you look at other Data Science Conferences you will see that Tech Tutorials (or Tech Training) are always an extra paid activity. Though, it is not always possible to make it a part of the ticket price - we believe that this kind of Conference needs to give every attendee the possibility to attend at least one Tech Tutorial.”

This year, a total of 17 free Tech Tutorials will be organized this year, covering topics ranging from basic to advanced, from programming to math and how to monetise your data. They will be held by experts in the field who work on solving these problems every day.

As the programme manager, Aleksandar is proud of the progress and the direction the Conference is taking. Remembering that last year we had 2 tech tutorials, he promises that next year we will organize more than 50 Data Science Technical Tutorials, which is going to be the biggest number at any event in the world!

Why should people apply to workshops?

Workshops are designed to show you how Data Science is done inside a company. Whether its a about a tool or a framework in which they operate, you get to see what’s it’s like being one of their employees. At the same time, you get the hands-on experience of what it’s like working on their problems with data sets they provide, by being guided by experts.

Additionally, our interviewee says that 5 people out of 30 got a job by attending workshops last year. “Not a bad metric at all.” - he says.

How should an attendee prepare for the Conference?

This is a difficult subject to speak of, as everyone may want something different from the event. But there are some general rules that apply to most. Aleksandar adds that the program has been improved in another aspect, in the schedule you can now find the type of talk which can be Tech, Business or Academic, and 3 levels of talks - Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced. Choose the ones that apply to you the most.

“Basically, with this division you just need to be realistic about what is your level of knowledge, it is possible that something you initially thought doesn’t fit you - ends up in fitting perfectly. That is why it is important to read talk names and especially talk descriptions in the first place.” - he adds, and goes on to say “But one good Recommendation system would solve this issue, right? :)”

This is where the interview (mostly) ends, but it’s where all the fun begins. For all the attendees, tech tutorial applications are going to begin soon, but for everyone interested in applying to a worksop, the applications are open until 31 August, don’t miss out!

To conclude, this is a two day event with a 3 day pre-event which you can attend. But what happens when this is all over? When we go back to work for the next 360 days, how do we use all that we’ve learned, heard and all the people we met during this very short but intense period?

In closing, Aleksandar gave us an advice: “Stay in touch, communicate and continue to develop yourself. Be proactive and use every connection you made. Let the data be with you.”

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