Last year, I managed to make it to the crème de la crème AI event in Nigeria, Data Science Nigeria AI Bootcamp 2019. I was at position 60 out of the top 150 participants selected from the qualifying Kaggle competition. I wrote articles on how I qualified and my experiences at the Bootcamp.
But here is the sour part; Only 3 of us qualified for the Bootcamp from my school, with 2 other non-students from the same city. That makes us 5 participants from the whole of Abeokuta! I could still remember promising to change the embarrassing fact come next year.
Last month, 1095 data scientists (my community members, inclusive), participated in this year's Data Science Nigeria AI Bootcamp qualification hackathon.
It was 3 long weeks of exploratory data analysis, preprocessing, and aggressive modeling with 42 members of my communities, AI+ Abeokuta and AI+ FUNAAB, participating in the qualifying competition.
After the validation, 38 out of the 42 participants from our communities were selected amongst the total 479 data scientists to attend this year's DSN AI Bootcamp. 28 of us made the top 250, with 9 out of the top 20 participants being our community members. Position 21 guy is also our community member.
Having the highest selection rate in this year's Bootcamp- a stark contrast to our measly number last year- is an attestation to the African proverb that says,
"If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together."
It is also a huge testament to the insane amount of work we put in to achieve this, even with Covid19 spoiling our plans for physical meetups. And it a testimony to the collaboration between AI+ Abeokuta and AI+ FUNAAB, the elaborate, data-driven (with surveys) preparation, the virtual classrooms in designated Whatsapp groups, and the peer-to-peer mentorship pairing.
A big shoutout to all of our tutors and organizers, for making this a huge success. Cheers to helping each other grow!
A special appreciation to Data Science Nigeria for this initiative to grow the AI talents in Nigeria. Cheers to unearthing 10 million AI talents in Nigeria within 10 years!
At the subsequent Bootcamp, AI+ Abeokuta won the “AI City of the Year” Award for being the city with the largest number of participants.
Also, I was one of the two nominees with the highest number of votes (which means 1st runner-up) for the Mr. Algorithm award which is an award in recognition of the most outstanding male in the Data Science Community who not only strives to be the best in Data Science but also invested in helping others through knowledge sharing.
I did not win the final voting process, but the fact that I made it that far spoke volumes in the testament of the enormous amount of work we’d put in, in spreading love and happiness via Artificial Intelligence in our communities.