UC Berkeley Expands Analytics Program for Women and Minorities

UC Berkeley is expanding its Step Into Data program in an effort to attract more women and minorities into data careers.

The Step into Data program uses a combination of in-person and remote learning to reach people who are under-represented in Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), and Data Analytics. In addition to new locations across the United States, the program is expected to rapidly expand to other countries including The Netherlands, France, Georgia, and India.

This is a significant step into providing students with tools they can use to secure employment after graduation. According to UC Berkeley, employment of computer and information research scientists is projected to grow 15 percent from 2019 to 2029. 

The program has been made possible thanks to the four-year public/private partnership between UC Berkeley Haas School of Business – Fisher Center for Business Analytics’ Program Director, Gauthier Vasseur, and Pyramid Analytics (Pyramid), a pioneering decision intelligence platform provider. The Fisher Center’s Alliance for Inclusive AI (AIAI) program provides data and analytics workshops to improve inclusivity and accessibility to analytics

The Step into Data workshop provides hands-on experience with the Pyramid Decision Intelligence Platform. AIAI programs often feature learners who have plateaued in Excel or basic business intelligence (BI) tools and want to learn more. They are walked through the rapid process of preparing and analyzing data on Pyramid’s governed self-service platform. Learners in these workshops can experiment with problems from school or work and strategize solutions using Pyramid. Even when the programs are over, participants can continue to learn and refine their data science skills – accessed via the dedicated Pyramid server at UC Berkeley. 

Some of the key points of the Step into Data program include: 

  • Pyramid Analytics supports Program Director Gauthier Vasseur’s 15-hour Step into Data workshops through the Fisher Center’s Alliance for Inclusive Artificial Intelligence (AIAI) initiative and Data Wise Academy
  • The Pyramid Decision Intelligence Platform is at the core of the curriculum.
  • Pyramid Analytics provides free licenses to program participants. 
  • AIAI provides opportunities for women, minorities, and other people in underserved communities by providing access to data literacy training, and education.

“Data is not important. It’s what you do with it that makes it meaningful,” said Vasseur. “Used in the right way, it has the capacity to change the world, helping reimagine new solutions to the biggest problems we face today. The technology is all there. The problem is far more profound: An economy where people of all ages and backgrounds are held back from using data by a lack of skills.

Students receive an array of benefits from the UC Berkeley-Pyramid workshops including developing valuable analytics skills that often provide opportunities for professional advancement. Feedback from learners who have taken the program is consistently positive and many report that they now have the skills to apply decision intelligence to solve problems and drive positive change. Diversity in data and analytics enriches all aspects of the data value chain, bringing different perspectives to problem-solving and decision-making across the business.

“I am passionate about using my platform to spread the world about data analytics, empowering people to make faster, more informed decisions with data,” said Gauthier Vasseur. “At the core of this work is creating a more diverse and equitable business analytics space. [Diversity, equity, and inclusion] (DEI) is not just something we should do; we must do it. The data analytics chain is still too dominated by the same social groups, with the same limited perspectives when reading an algorithm or a piece of analysis. Diversity of thought brings with it fresh insights, skills, and approaches – driving new and innovative ways of doing things across the business.” 

Vasseur has an extensive background in data, having spent a decade in Silicon Valley with technology companies including Brio, Google, Hyperion, Oracle, and various startups in the space. At The AIAI, Vasseur is a champion for efforts to create a more inclusive space for business analytics, helping connect the benefits of the technology with underserved communities around the world.

For more than a decade, Vasseur has worked with business teams and students around the world to help them master data and analytics. He is a leading voice at UC Berkeley for data analytics, building ties with universities, professional associations, and Fortune 500 companies.  


Decision Intelligence is the Next Big Data Analytics Innovation

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is an increasingly important analytics technology. However, AI is pretty much limited to highly-trained practitioners, and until now, there has been no easy way to integrate the essential AI components of Data Prep, Business Analytics, and Data Science. For Omri Kohl, Chief Executive Officer, and Co-Founder of Pyramid Analytics, the benefits of technology should be available for all. “Business intelligence and analytics is a revolutionary and essential field in today’s economy and it should not require a background in data science to make the most of it.”