Congratulations to the 2,000+ participants in Round 1 of the inaugural TEXATA 2014 Big Data Analytics World Championships over the weekend. We hope you enjoyed the great challenge – it was fun, fast, rigorous and time-intensive 4-hours! Feedback was very positive on the questions and the overall educational experience. We also picked up some helpful improvements for Round 2 and future years. Well done to the global Question Design Team whom did an outstanding job with the wide-range of practical and technical topics that we’re representative of real-world Data Science and Big Data Analytics in business and industry. It’s always hard in Round 1 of an inaugural competition to design an independent challenge – and we look forward to making future TEXATA Rounds bigger, better and bolder.
10 Facts and Figures from TEXATA Round 1
- 2,143 Participants Logged Into Round 1
- United States had 42% of the Top 100 Performance Results after Round 1. India had 13% in Top 100.
- Average Time was 204 minutes among Top 100 (240 minutes total available)
- 27 Females in the Top 100
- 48 Cities Represented among Top 50 Performers (London and New York had 2 Each)
- Two Age-Brackets performing very strongly in Top 100 – 27-32 years and 33-39 years
- Top Companies – KPMG, EBay, McKinsey, Microsoft, Cognizant
- Current University Students took 44% of the Top 36 Participants at Round 1 (70% post-graduates)
- Top Universities – Stanford University, Rice University, University of London
- Students backgrounds – Computer Science, Statistics or Bioinformatics (among top performers)
General Feedback from Round 1
1. Big Data – Make It Available Earlier
A handful of people had difficulty rapidly downloading the Amazon s3 dataset (i.e. 98% of participants were able to successfully download the data). In the future, we are going to try to allow people to download the data beforehand to avoid this situation and allow 100% of people to enjoy the TEXATA event. We also choose a public data set for Round 1 to give everyone every possible chance.
2. Round 1 – Not Enough Time?
Everyone was under immense time pressure in Round 1. We need to make the challenge hard. With international elite professionals, talented students, universities and business represented from 100+ countries – the timeclock needs to be an important differentiation mechanism. The world’s best and brightest data scientists and big data practitioners are capable of producing outstanding insights under time-pressure because that is an important part of performing in a modern results-orientated world. This was the inaugural year TEXATA has been run, so assuredly in Round 2 and future years people will know what to expect – time-pressure drives excellence! Big data analytics is still an emerging and challenging discipline – our belief is that data scientists in business and industry will be one of the most important groups of professionals over the next 100 years. We try to write questions and case studies that let data scientists commit to making clear, focused, value-adding and commercially-minded decisions under time-pressure that can really help business, industry and communities accelerate.
3. Great Questions
We had overwhelming feedback that for a Round 1 Qualification Round, the questions were spot on. They weren’t too niche-oriented, nor did they require too much domain-specific knowledge. Overall, Round 1 covered a wide-range of topics, concepts, ideas and technical areas. With more time, I’m sure many people would have performed even better.
4. Happy with Time Zones
Almost everyone was very happy with the timezone – except maybe Australia, New Zealand and some Asian Countries which started the test at 2:00am in the morning. Round 2 will be the same start-time worldwide. Nonetheless, in 2015 we’ll revisit this to see if we can improve and equalize the timezones and analyse whether another timeslot is preferable (remembering that 100+ countries participate simultaneously, someone needs to wake up at 2:00am!).
5. Getting Ready for Round 2 – Financial Services Case Study
Successful participants progressing to Round 2 will enjoy access and working on a special real-life business problem of Thomson Reuters (http://www.thomsonreuters.com)– so get your financial services, transactional and big data analytics hats on. The style will be similar to Round 1 – be ready to deliver creative business solutions.
We will release all the questions and solutions from Round 1 at the completion of the 2014 World Finals to give all participants every opportunity to become better equipped for TEXATA 2015.
Good luck on 1st November 2014 to all Round 2 Participants!