At KAPITA, the event witnessed the announcement of a new independent and nonprofit initiative called iDATA, short for Iraqi Data Analysis to Action,that will be dedicated to activating the role of data and creating a data enthusiast community in Iraq.
The event saw cross-disciplinary attendees as people with different professional and academic backgrounds were welcomed to the event. This fact is especially important when it comes to data science as rich and different domain knowledge is expected for people who wish to extract knowledge out of data and for those who wish to pursue data science as a career.
During the event, the initiative founders Mohammad Jamal (R&D Manager at KAPITA) and Riyadh Radhi (Data Science Associate at KAPITA) talked about the main building blocks for the iDATA, the target audience and parties that might be interested in becoming a member of iDATA’s community, and the main goals of the initiative.
Mohammad mentioned: “Finding the right data or any data at all has been challenging in Iraq and now many companies are in need of data analysts. We hope through this initiative, we build a community that is data oriented that can fill the gap.”
Riyadh added: “The iDATA initiative is not business oriented. The main objective behind iDATA is to equip the Iraqi youths with a new set of skills in data science. These skills can be applied in various technical and social fields in Iraq, which in return will raise awareness among the public community about the importance of data and its applications.”
The session started with a talk by the founders of the initiative highlighting the importance of building data oriented mindsets in Iraq, the difficulties and pitfalls that we need to overcome, and the future vision of iDATA. These talks were followed by interaction time with and between the audience to answer questions regarding the current state of data science in Iraq and globally, appropriate ways to learn data science, and ways to utilize the right data tool for the right tasks. Lastly, the event concluded with networking opportunities and possible cooperation between the attendees.
The main aim of iDATA is
Support individuals by providing data analysis training through a series of workshops, bootcamps, and meetups.
Improve and boost individuals with existing data science skills through applied projects, competitions, and hackathons.
Offer help in bridging the community members with relevant jobs in the private sector through sharing job opportunities and internships.
Build analytical mindsets and raise awareness about the importance of data in decision-making.
Contribute to society by communicating insights on a broad range of social and environmental themes through the community members’ projects.
As a result, a large number of parties could potentially benefit from and contribute to iDATA efforts and programs to change the data science scene in Iraq. However, the initiative is especially crucial for:
Individuals with interests in starting their journey in data analysis.
Data analysts who wish to be more involved in the field and learn more advanced skills.
International NGOs and donors who aim to create job opportunities and support youth skills.
Institutions and organizations that wish to establish in-house or outsource data science teams.
Setting these goals, iDATA’s mission is to create a data-driven community by providing a supportive space for Iraqis to grow through education, hands-on projects, and networking opportunities. Additionally, iDATA envision making data science simple, accessible, and beneficial across Iraq.