“Becoming a Data Scientist” Learning Club?

I have been thinking about doing a “Becoming a Data Scientist” podcast for a long time, at least since April. The podcast would include interviews focused on how people working in various data-science-related jobs got to where they are today (how did they “become a data scientist”?). I’m getting closer to taking the dive and getting it started.

I had an idea today that would take it a step further. Imagine how book clubs work where you pick a book, go off and read it, then gather occasionally to discuss and record your thoughts. Except instead of a book club, it’s a data science learning club!

I’m imagining picking a topic/project, finding resources showing how to do it, and introducing it to the club at the end of a podcast episode. Then, everyone that wants to participate in learning how to do that particular thing will go off for maybe 2 weeks, work on it and learn what they can, ask questions to each other in a common area like a blog post comment thread, create things and post them to a shared space, then at the end of the period post comments about what they learned and how it went. People could write blog posts about their projects and I would collect those and link to all of them from the original post. Anyone that already knows how to do it could help answer questions if they wanted to participate, too. I might invite some of the participants to talk about their learning experience on a follow-up episode, then the notes and results would be posted for future learners to find.

I think learning together would be fun and valuable, and this type of experience would fall somewhere between learning on your own and taking a class. It would include the pros of learning on your own and exploring, while offsetting some of the cons of going at it alone. It would be a significant time commitment on my part, so I want to make sure other people would join in before I commit. What do you think? Would you join a “data science learning club” and participate in something like this and find it valuable? It’s kind of like the Summer of Data Science, but we’d be learning the same things simultaneously and sharing our results. No one would be “teaching” the group necessarily, but we’d share resources and answer each other’s questions based on what we did individually.

Let me know in the comments or on twitter if you would find this valuable and if you want me to lead it!


  1. Sal
    Nov 11, 2015

    I think this is a great idea, surprised I am the first comment. If anything could become a study group even if informal.

    • Renee
      Nov 11, 2015

      Well, yours is the first comment here, but I’ve gotten a lot of great feedback about it on Twitter. I’m going to move forward with it!

      Thanks for the positive feedback, Sal!

  2. Sal
    Nov 11, 2015

    I saw this before the Twitter poll. :-) I think it’s great that you received such a positive response. I’m happy to help. If this eats up too much of your time, please delegate something.

  3. Craig
    Nov 11, 2015

    Sounds Great! Will this work for someone in a completely different timezone?

  4. Macaruchi
    Nov 12, 2015

    This sounds like a great idea. Really looking forward to it. Do you have a target date for your first episode?
    Regarding asking questions on a blog post, do you think that would work? Maybe something along the lines of Google + or a forum or something similar would make such collaboration easier?

  5. Sri
    Dec 11, 2015

    Great News and Thank you

  6. Premal
    Dec 13, 2015

    It will be great also at some point to participate in Kaggle competitions.

    • Renee
      Dec 13, 2015

      good idea!