The questions in this section refer to the main course "Machine Learning"
How much free-time do I have?
The short answer is that it really depends on you! The course we are going through, is estimated to take a total of 55 hours over a course of 11 weeks. The recommendation by Coursera is to plan 7 hours per week (incl. buffer), i.e. a total of 77 hours. At DSBC we will cover the course content in 2 weeks with the weekends being free and Fridays being lighter in content and serving as buffer. If you do the math, you will get to 7.7 hours per day. However, you can expect this to go down to about 6 hours per day for several reasons:
We are a group that fosters peer-to-peer learning (adhering to Coursera’s Code of Honour. We do not share solutions, for example).
The tutor who is physically present can answer any questions you might have and rephrase some of the concepts presented in the course to facilitate understanding.
In a course that spans over 11 weeks with 7 hours a week, a significant amount of time will be spent on review and getting back into the matter. With the DSBC being a lot more intense, this time is basically saved.
Overall, depending on your pre-knowledge and your ambition, you can probably spend as little as 5 hours per day for 5 days a week and finish the certification with a decent amount of free time. If you want to spend more time, a tutor will be around guide you.
Will I be a data scientist after this course?
The course is a great way to kickstart your journey on becoming a data scientist. Having completed the course you will be able to take on basic data science tasks in industry. However, it takes broader and deeper knowledge to take up dedicated data science positions. For example, fluency in a more common and powerful programming language is a must (e.g. Python) as well as further models (e.g. decision trees) and hands-on experience (e.g. data cleansing). What is also recommendable is to work on concrete end-to-end projects (e.g. a Kaggle competition). While recruiters tend to look out for more formal qualifications such as degrees and certificates, your future superiors will be looking out for more hands-on project experience. We will discuss careers options and strategies in the Friday talks, too.
What can I do in preparation of the course itself?
You can already browse through the course content and familiarize yourself with the topics covered. There will be some pre-work assigned as preparation for the course, i.e. installing the software and the introductory content of the course. Rest assured that this will be very basic. In terms of pre-knowledge, high school mathematics is sufficient to get started with the course. If you feel that is too long ago, you can brush up on vectors, matrix operations, and regression ("curve fitting"). Do not worry if you struggle there. We will summarize and review all that at the beginning of the course.
What are the pre-requisites, really?
If you have done high school maths and do not shy away from further maths, you will be absolutely fine in the course. Previous participants found themselves needing some time to get familiar with mathematical notation rather than the concepts. In terms of coding skills it is helpful if you have worked with at least simple commands before and are somewhat familiar with what coding is and how it is generally performed. Other than that everything will be covered in the course itself. There will be enough time to cover topics in greater depth or spend more time for reviewing if need be.
Who else is at the coworking space? When will I meet my class mates and my instructor?
Remote&Digital is the island‘s prime partner for digital nomads, freelancers and digital entrepreneurs. They have two locations, La Casa and Sunset Hill. The co-working space is frequented by up to 40 members at a time. The community is primarily English speaking and from all around the world. Some startups choose to occupy one of the team spaces there, while the majority of the „coworkers“ are individuals seeking a community in a relaxing yet productive environment. There are regular social gatherings (e.g. evening drinks, music by the bonfire etc.) as well as occasional expert talks and workshops.
You and your classmates will be part of this community and have an opportunity to contribute to it with your background, expertise and story if you wish to. Once the class is set, which is targeted around two weeks in advance of the course, DSBC will put you in touch. If any participants are confirmed ahead of time and from the same country, for example, we‘ll put you in touch earlier. Rest assured that any sharing of your data will not happen without your prior consent.
How do I get to Koh Phangan?
You are most likely to fly into Bangkok’s main international airport “Suvarnabhumi” (airport code BKK). From there the most common option to get to Koh Phangan is by a combined flight and ferry ticket that takes you from Bangkok’s second airport “Don Mueang” (airport code DMK) to Surat Thani airport, then by bus to the ferry terminal, to finally reach Koh Phangan by ferry. You can expect the entire single journey to take 6-8 hours for 1500-2500 THB 50-70 USD). Alternative routes go via Koh Samui (island next to Koh Phangan with an airport but typically higher flight prices) or via train from Bangkok (much cheaper but also much longer).
What else happens on Koh Phangan?
Koh Phangan is famous for its nightlife, e.g. the infamous „Full Moon Party“ that happens every month as well as for the many yoga retreats with some world famous yogis residing on the island. You can sign up for week-long retreats or get a taste in the many drop-in classes that are offered for small fees. There is also a thriving meditation and healing scene that is definitely worth to check out!
The Full Moon Party happens on the South Eastern side of the island, while Sunset Hill is in the calmer Northwest and La Casa in the South West. The Nothern part is also where many diving schools are located - another popular activity on - or rather - around the island. One of the most frequented diving islands, Koh Tao, is right next to Koh Phangan, sharing some of their diving destinations without having the hassle of the crowds opting for Koh Tao.
Other than that Koh Phangan is very much like your typical Thai island experience: White sandy beaches, tourists from all over the world, plenty of small shops for food, beach gear, souvenirs, Seven-Elevens, tattoo and massage parlours, sea food restaurants, beach resorts, bars with fire shows and beach dancing.
What kind of laptop do I need to bring?
There are no special needs in terms of the laptop to bring. In terms of hardware you will need internet connection (duh!) to download/stream the course contents. The data sets we are handling are not very large, so there are no special requirements in terms of drive space or RAM. As a rule of thumb, a laptop that was top-notch not longer than 7 years ago, should be absolutely fine. In case anything goes wrong, substitute laptops can be arranged. In terms of software, we will use a numerical computing software such as MATLAB or Octave (free) as per the recommendation by Prof. Andrew Ng, the virtual instructor of the course. These software and associated programming language are easy to learn and allow you to implement elaborate mathematical functions with simple commands without having to get into the intricacies of syntax and general programming paradigms. This is also the reason why no programming skills are necessary for the course. Note that this course will not replace a course on the programming languages that are more commonly used by data scientists such as Python or R.
How is the COVID situation?
This of course changes by the week but generally Koh Phangan has lower restrictions than other provinces since it has only 20'000 inhabitants and they are rather spread out. Restaurants and bars have rarely been closed and we don't expect this to tighten in the foreseeable future. Bigger parties might happen but there is always a risk that they are not fully compliant with local regulations, so we do not condone to participate if this is the case.
As for the entry restrictions as per Feb 1, 2022 the so-called "Test & Go"-scheme will be reinstalled, meaning that any fully vaccinated traveller may enter Thailand without quarantine (however, with mandatory PCR-tests in the days following your arrival. These tests have to be pre-booked and pre-paid). In the case of tightening restrictions, it is very likely that the so-called "Sandbox"-schemes will be reinstated, meaing that vaccinated travellers may enter certain areas and serve their quarantine time there. These areas will be entire islands where Koh Phangan is part of. Effectively, the only difference is that you will have to stay in a government approved hotel (so-called SHA+ hotels) but are free to move around the sandbox, i.e. island.
We recommend regularly checking the official page of the Tourism Authority Thailand (TAT) for the most up-to-date information.
What overall budget do I have to plan for two weeks on Koh Phangan?
You can stay directly at La Casa or Sunset Hill to make most of your learning and community experience. However, you might want to choose to live somewhere else. There are many decent option from as low as 10 USD (single bed in a shared apartment) to any luxury stay nearby, according to your budget and needs.
Similarly for food, decent local cuisine is very cheap yet super tasty. A full meal at a very simple „restaurant“ (think street food corner) costs you around 2 USD. Take that plus maybe a nicer meal and snacks and you‘ll land at around 12 USD per day.
Other expense include scooter rental to get around the island, Thai SIM card and expenses for the many activities on the island (nightlife, sports, outdoor etc.)
Follow this link to find a good general breakdown of costs. Overall you can expect to pay around 400-800 USD for two weeks in the island depending on your needs and overall budget.
When are the payments due? What is the cancellation policy?
The tuition fee of 400 USD (for the full 2-weeks course) is payable upon admission to the course. and due latest by November 18, i.e. one week before the start of the program.
The cancellation policy is as follows:
For cancellations received 30 days or more before the camp, 100% of the paid amount will be refunded.
For cancellations received 8-30 days before the camp, 50% of the paid amount will be refunded.
For cancellations less than 7 days before the camp, no money will be refunded.
Will there be more courses like this in the future?
DSBC is still a young venture that is dependent on their participants' feedback to design better future courses and camps. Our camps are very much intended and implemented according to the „Lean Startup“ methodology, where in the beginning it is much more about learning and development for the new product or service rather than making money with it straight away. As such we are working hard to offer more camps according to your needs. If you like the concept but the timing isn't right for you, for example, please do share this feedback with us!