Ron Pritipaul

Employee Takeaways From Our Machine Learning Bootcamp

Unzipped Staff
Levi Strauss & Co.
May 24, 2021

Our inaugural cohort of our Machine Learning (ML) Bootcampers is off and running.

Launched by our Digital Enterprise Office as part of our journey to transform the company into a data- and artificial intelligence-powered business, the bootcamp is an immersive eight-week, full-time training in coding, machine learning and agile ways of working, all uniquely designed for Levi Strauss & Co. employees. The program underscores our commitment to the growth of those  who know our company best — our people.

“I’ve always been interested in learning something new. I want to learn how to work with cutting-edge technologies,” explained Dani Jefferson, a computer operator. “I’ve taught myself a few things here and there, like learning different programming languages, but I’m thrilled to go deep in the world of data science.” After the bootcamp, Dani hopes to apply what she’s learned to help solve some of LS&Co.’s broader business challenges and enhance consumer shopping experiences.

Dani is one of 40 employees who were selected to participate in the ML Bootcamp. She’s proof of how expanding your skillsets can unlock career growth and help us all thrive in a digital-first future.

Ron Pritipaul, a design coordinator, decided to apply to the Bootcamp because he saw it as a next step in denim production. “I wanted to be in on the ground floor of what’s possible in design with machine learning and AI. For example, right now we design jeans from a sample,” Ron said. “We may find a pair of vintage jeans and send a sample to a supplier in China or Egypt and ask them to remake the garment. That’s our design process — make it darker, lighter, etc. It’s a very artistic thing.

“But think of the possibilities if we digitalize,” added Ron. “We have so many jeans in our archives and in the office. If we take digital photos and feed them into an algorithm we could create new finishes without having to travel the world. We could use machine learning to make patterns, new designs. The result is that we would get from concept/ideation to production quicker.”

Insights from our cross-functional employees in the bootcamp have the potential to immediately benefit our business.

Dr. Katia Walsh, senior vice president and chief strategy and artificial intelligence officer at LS&Co., believes our retail industry is ripe for this technology innovation, and our people will help us get there faster.

“We launched this program to grow and develop talent that’s well-versed in both technology and the intricacies particular to the retail industry. We’re investing in people like Dani and Ron who know our industry best, are lifelong learners and creative problem solvers, and are ready to apply data and AI to all aspects of our business. We can’t wait to see what they do once they complete the program later this month.”

We’re proud to say learning something new has always been in fashion here and we’re excited to see what results from this cohort. Broadening our employee skillsets to weave data and AI innovation into the company from this grassroots level will fuel companywide transformation and allow us to serve our consumers in ever-improving ways.

Interested in a career in data science at Levi Strauss & Co.? Find more information as well as job openings here.