Get to know a Data Angel

Even better become one!

What are Data Angels? How can I become one? These questions have been swirling recently so we thought we would take a moment to share more about how Data Angels play into the data ecosystem in LA.

Data Angel, noun

Definition of Data Angel

  1. A human being believed to possess data super powers, willing to deploy them for social good
  2. A person of exemplary conduct and value
  3. A collector of good karma points

She wrote code like a Data Angel.

The Mayor’s team sent us a Data Angel.

I know I’m no angel, better yet, I’m a Data Angel.

The City of Los Angeles recently launched a new volunteer corps through which data scientists can engage with the City. The first cohort completed is projects in January 2019 and we’re thrilled to continue with this program in Spring 2019. The program is a Mayor’s Data Team initiative that matches civic tech data enthusiasts with city programs requiring data analysis and research.

We are actively recruiting volunteers for our Spring cohort and you can apply here. Applications are due by March 9, 2019. Spring cohort starts end of March, 2019.

The results speak for themselves — over a course of 12 weeks, 10 volunteers from the Los Angeles data community donated roughly 720 hours of their time to City data priorities. They scraped and mined text data, used natural language processing, put together databases stitched out of discrete data-sets, made story maps, shared their code on GitHub, and participated in weekly stand-ups and biweekly hangouts.

The Data Angels played an essential role in helping shape the City’s policy discussion on how to expand equity-focused initiatives that lift all Angelenos into an economy of the future, that works for all of us!

Data Angels in the first cohort had varied backgrounds. Many of them were people of color and women, some worked as data scientists in startups as well as established companies such as Red Bull, others were going through a career transition and used this opportunity to put their newly acquired data skills to good use.

Each project incorporated an equity lens and included policy recommendations. Data Angels learned about City priorities and left the program with a better understanding of how their local government works. Many said they would recommend the Data Angels program to their friends and colleagues. Some decided to continue volunteering with the second cohort starting in March 2019.

Here’s what a few of them had to say about their time in the program:

Jai Bansal

What you do: Data Scientist at Red Bull

What brought you to Data Angels: I was looking for volunteer opportunities where I could give back to the community and also apply data in a meaningful way.

Interesting fact: I love roller coasters but am terrified of heights.

My experience volunteering for Data Angels: Volunteering for Data Angels was a great experience. The work was interesting and I enjoyed collaborating with the other volunteers.

Insights about city gov: It was cool to learn about some of the city of LA’s priorities and how data is being utilized to solve problems.

Adrianna Leung

What you do: Engineer at a biometric company

What brought you to Data Angels: Chief Data Officer Sari Ladin-Sienne’s keynote at DataConLA.

Interesting fact: When I am not working with data, I enjoy scuba diving and underwater photography.

My experience volunteering for Data Angels: It’s been a very rewarding experience for me. Everyone I worked with was very friendly and helpful. I gave back to the community without a huge time commitment.

Insights about city gov: The city is doing a lot of interesting analysis to help make LA a better place for everyone.

Hassen Morad

What you do: Currently studying analytics and visualization

What brought you to data angels: Chief Data Officer Sari Ladin-Sienne’s keynote at DataConLA.

Interesting fact: Enjoys playing soccer and practicing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

My experience volunteering for Data Angels: Working with other group members was a valuable part of my experience, offering a glimpse of life in a collaborative work environment.

Insights about city gov: It was incredibly enriching to analyze data that directly contributed to shaping LA city policies.

If you have stellar data skills (data cleaning, analysis, Python, R, Tableau, story telling) and want to earn good karma points, apply to join our Spring cohort!