An Introduction to Machine Learning Competitions

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An Introduction to Machine Learning Competitions

Compete, practice, and earn with these 3 competition platforms

Photo by Serghei Trofimov on Unsplash

One of the most important aspects of learning data science is actually putting your learnings into practice. Data science is, in my opinion, something that is best learned by doing.

If you are learning data science outside of formal education or work experience it can tricky to find places to practice the skills that you are learning. Machine learning competitions offer one, very effective, platform for the practical application of data science techniques.

Participating in data science competitions can help you to learn, earn money and can also provide a portfolio of projects that could help you to land your first job in the field.

Participating in machine learning competitions either as a beginner or a more advanced practitioner provides a range of benefits including;

  • Building a portfolio of projects where you can showcase your skills.
  • Benchmarking your skills against others in the field.
  • Using your skills to solve close to real-world data science problems.
  • Learning new skills.
  • Potentially earning money, with some prizes as high as $200,000.

There are several websites that host machine learning competitions. The majority have a similar format. This typically includes the availability of a wide variety of competitions ranging in skill level, and both no prize practice problems and competitions with financial rewards attached.

The competitions themselves often take the form of providing a data set and problem statement to solve, and a leaderboard where you will place when you submit your results. The majority of competitions allow unlimited entries which means that you can keep refining your model and improving your score.

This is a great way to learn as the leaderboard gives you an idea of the potential model performance and you can, through trial and error, get a good understanding of the techniques and tools that work best to improve a model to solve a particular problem.

In the remainder of this article, I am going to introduce three of my favorite machine learning competition websites. This will include a brief description of each website, who the competitions are most suitable for, and an idea of the level of reward you could potentially receive.


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