Bas Hagoort on Riverwise’s new computer talent program

Riverwise, a strategy consulting store from Rotterdam at the intersection of growth strategy and data, is introducing a data talent program this year. A full-year training program to become a data scientist, where talents themselves work on tasks for clients – supervised by experienced consultants. We discuss what this program entails, with Bas Hagoort, Director at Riverwise.

So first of all; why a computer talent program?

We started the program from two perspectives. First of all, we talk to many talented starters who are still looking for the right career start, and who go around with questions like what can I do, what do I want and is counseling something for me or not? We wanted to offer them an alternative to the direct career start as a strategy or data consultant.

In addition, we see that the companies where we work are struggling to attract good data science talents. And also to offer them good training and guidance at the beginning of their careers.

That is why we have devised this data talent program, where talents start with us, receive training and guidance from us, but immediately start working with companies around us.

Who is the program for?

We are creating a class with about six high potentials at a time – the first one starts this summer. It is suitable for beginners with above average results and a university master’s degree in your pocket. Background in data is an advantage, but not a requirement. More important is zeal, courage to really discover what you can do and ambition to make a real impact.

What do you mean by ‘making a real impact’?

What we notice in our daily practice is that the problem for many companies is not so much the computer science itself, but its translation into the organization and business goals. There are often enough good people around, but often at a distance and difficult to communicate with the rest of the organization.

We often see the most beautiful data models with our customers, but at the same time we see that they are hardly used in the rest of the organization.

In our current consulting work, we already notice that our added value lies in creating this context. We have the computer skills in house, but we also know how to make it work in a business context. This is exactly what we are going to offer with the data talent program. After a year, you will be a full data science professional – but you will also be able to translate this into actionable insights for the company.

The effect is that you not only deliver great numbers and reports, but that you improve the company’s course and result.

Data scientists who know how to gain business influence. How will you do it?

Most importantly, we believe that young professionals grow fastest through learning by doing, honest feedback and real responsibility quickly. This is also reflected in the program. It is not a non-binding internship, but independent tasks from the start at companies where something is expected.

The education starts with a two-week crash course, where we teach essentially in computer science, after which you immediately start your own task with the customer. In that year you have to do 2-3 different projects in 4 to 6 months with different customers. This can vary from making price or churn models to predictive modeling of eg maintenance costs on a large property portfolio, the variation is large.

On Friday you will work in our office, you will receive feedback from experienced consultants and you will receive all types of training all year round. In addition, experienced consultants are also available during the week to help you if you get stuck.

What kind of training should we think about?

We train you to become a strong data professional who knows how to bridge the gap between analytics and business. To a professional who knows where his / her talent lies and which career path suits him or her. The training courses are therefore based on four pillars: 1. Computer Techniques & Modeling, 2. Business Applications, 3. Business Essentials and 4. Personal Development.

For example, you learn to code in different applications (R, Python), you immerse yourself in machine learning, artificial intelligence and predictive modeling. But you also learn how to visualize data, how to convince the organization to act, how to approach a strategic issue in a structured way and where your own strength lies.

Want to know more about the Riverwise program? See the available Data Talent Program.

After one year, you will be a full-fledged data professional. Also?
For you as a young professional, it really is a kickstart to your career. You have evolved into a full-fledged data scientist, you have grown as a business professional and you have come to know new companies that you had not previously considered. This gives you a much better idea of ​​where your talent lies and which organization is right for you.

After a year, it is therefore up to the professional to choose what he or she wants; work in one of these companies, consulting in or maybe something completely different. Of course, we hope that a number of talents will also choose us, but the choice is really theirs. No bindings.

Finally, what is your dream with this data talent program. Where do you hope to be in a year?

In a year’s time, we hope that the 3rd team of 6 people will start again, so we have helped a total of 18 talents to develop into full-fledged data professionals. And we hope we have delivered great projects that have had a real impact, and have helped these companies attract new talent to continue in that direction. Because in the end, that’s what it’s all about. Gain influence.

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