A Data Science Story: Data Analysis in Education and the Digital Divide

By Tuly Reyes & Chelsea Prudencio

As promised in our series, “A Data Science Story” this blog will provide insights into data from surrounding villages in Nassau County as it relates to Education and the Digital Divide. The data set was downloaded from the US Census for the following Villages: Rockville Centre, Freeport Village, Garden City, The Village of Hempstead, and Lynbrook.

Step 1: In Data Science terms, we “wrangled” the data. That means, remove blanks, and organize in a structure that we can use. We used Excel, and a nice trick to “transpose” the rows and columns, then saved it as a comma separated values (CSV).

Step 2: Next we need to explore the data. So we will use Google Colab. It is an excellent tool for data exploration and analysis, again in Data Science terms, this is EDA or Exploratory Data Analysis.

During our EDA, we noticed that “computer and internet access” were reported in percentages. And while the percentages looked good all around, we wondered what the impact would look like not in percentages but in terms of individual persons.

Here is our analysis:

Step 1: Data Wrangling

Using the US Census data (estimates for 2019) we wrangled the data and created a Utility Matrix that we will use for the calculations. Since we are focused on the Digital Divide and how it affects education we used the following data fields:

  • Total House Holds
  • Persons Per House Holds
  • Percent of House Holds with Computers
  • Percent of House Holds with Broadband Internet Access

Step 2: EDA & Hypothesis

Lets look at the bar chart as percentages

As you can see there is no dramatics differences exposed in this visualizations. Our hypothesis, or question we asked ourselves was: Would the impact look the same if we converted from percentages to actual numbers?

So we compute the number of Households and the Number of Persons affected by the digital divide in each of these villages. We took the inverse of the percentages for computers and internet access and use them in our computation.

  • Total households without computers = Total Households x (1 – PCT With Computers)
  • Total households without internet = Total Households x (1 – PCT with Internet)
  • Total persons without computers = (Total households without computers) x (Person Per Household)
  • Total persons without internet = (Total Household without internet) x (Persons per Household)

The results are shown by the table below:

Step 3: Conclusion & Impact

By taking the percentages and converting them to numbers show the real impact the “Digital Divide” has on communities in our area. Sometimes showing impact a as percentage does not bring to light the seriousness of the problem. In the case of Hempstead we can see that the access to computers and internet affects 5,010 + 10,891. A total of over 15,000 persons are impacted by the digital divide.

Now let’s take a look at the visualization and not percentages but as actual persons affected.

The results are obvious. The digital divide impact is now clear between villages in our select data sets. As aspiring data scientist, we are anomaly spotters and we let the data speak for itself.

COVID-19 Widening the Chasm

Geoffrey A. Moore’s book Crossing the Chasm starts out by saying “If Bill Gates can be a Billionaire”.  Implying that so can you.  I remember in high school using similar logic while waiting to take my driving test, saying to myself, “if Wayne can pass the driving test, then so can I”.

For those of us who don’t remember, Crossing the Chasm takes us through stages of marketing and selling our business & products.  The book then points out the phenomena called “The Chasm”, and why businesses fail as they fall into this crevasse instead of crossing over it. COVID-19 has dramatically widened the chasm and small business owners see it as an impossible task to cross.  Forbes Magazine reported that more than ½ black owned business have permanently closed because of the pandemic.  The Federal Reserve Bank of New York released a report that said black-owned businesses were more than twice as likely to close than other businesses.    So, if you own a small business, what should we be doing?  Here is my opinion on what we should be thinking about. 

I started my first business back in 1992.  I was already working full-time as a software engineer so I guess that you can say this was my “side hustle”.   But it was much more than that.  The business model aimed at providing IT support for small businesses who cannot afford to have their own IT team.  But I quickly learned about “cross-selling” & “up-selling”, “channels” & “partnerships”.  Cross-selling and up-selling are textbook, so I won’t cover that here.  But channels & relationships are essential to growing your business organically.  All too often we forget that business and relationships go hand-in-hand.  And these relationships will open up other channels of revenue streams for you. 

Here is the framework I suggest that you follow.  Make a list of any and everyone associated with your business.  Create a category of “Know”, “Like”, Trust”.  Then label your relationship with these categories.   Consider this a living document that you visit and update regularly.  Deliberately and systematically communicate with everyone on this list 1:1. What you will find is that relationships that you have labeled as “Trust” will be your saving grace.    These are the folks that will stretch out their hands and pull you across “The Chasm!

Why STEM Matters

Science Technology Engineering & Math (STEM) Impact on Jobs

June 25, 2018 – SpringBoard Team

Since the information technology (IT) boom in the 1990’s IT workers more than doubled between 1990 and 2000. The chart below from the U.S. Census shows the growth since 1970 and the diversity of jobs that are available to IT professionals.

From the chart above we can see that many different skill sets and job functions have been created from 1970 to 2014. The chart shows 3 categories in 1970 and 14 different categories in 2014. The industry has continued to grow and evolve from 2015 to 2018 and Big Data problems have given birth to a new set of job skills: Data Scientists, and Cloud Architects. Some of the key skills that Data Scientists possess include Python Programming, Statistical Analysis and Machine Learning.

STEM Impact on Salaries

As the information technology industry continues to evolve into 2020, new skill sets will be required to meet the demands of this expansion. Information Technology continues to be one of the highest paying professions in the U.S. The information provided by the United State Department of Labor – Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the potential earnings for computer and information technology professionals by industry.

Industry Employment Percent of industry employment Hourly mean wage Annual mean wage
Computer Systems Design and Related Services

79,100

4.01 $73.80 $153,510
Management of Companies & Enterprises 36,540 1.59 $71.24 $148,180
Management, Scientific, and Technical Consulting

Services

15,160 1.14 $72.65 $151,110
Insurance Carriers 12,300 1.05 $70.88 $147,430
Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools 11,600 0.39 $54.65 $113,660

Where do Good Ideas Come From?

What is SpringBoard?  SpringBoard provides Technology Training & STEM Workshops for Youth and Adults.  We are also a Co-Working and Virtual Offices Spaces for startup companies as a way to reduce the overhead cost associated with creating a new business. We provide a modern facility with comfortable working stations and collaborative areas for team or customer meetings.   That is our core business.

SpringBoard is unique to other incubators because we also provide value add workshops that guides and teaches our SpringBoard startups’ a lean approach to creating and running a startup company.  Our approach puts the emphasis on creating value.  We will teach our entrepreneurs how to create and deliver that value at the point of use.  Where it is most needed.

The programming, events and workshops you can expect from SpringBoard will be focused on active building instead of passive lecturing.   We will emphasize creating prototypes and bring it to market over less agile or motionless models.

Why is our method better?  First starts with the understanding that we are living it the most ubiquitous era of Technology at any time in previous years.  It is pervasive, and omnipresent.   And the rate of change continues to accelerate to the point of surpassing Moore’s Law.  Therefore, if we are not capturing the power behind technology and using it as a vehicle to drive our business we will quickly become irrelevant.   Let’s be clear, consuming technology and leveraging technology are two different things.  It is part of a larger concept called Digital Transformation. You can think of Digital Transformation a profound and accelerating change of business activities, processes and business models for an organization.   Think of it as a systematic method that will new revenue streams globally.  Transformation

To summarize, SpringBoard is the answer to the questions: Where do good ideas come from?