DataSciGuide Update

September 6, 2015

I finally had a chance this weekend to make some progress on my “Data Science Directory” website,, and I would love your feedback on it! That site isn’t open for comments yet, so I’m directing people to leave feedback here. If you haven’t kept up with the development of DataSciGuide, here are a few things to read: original vision for the site updates on my progress content that has been posted so far Let me know if you want an account to post some reviews while I test things out! (I’ll even post content that you want to review, just for you.) Also, tell me any thoughts you have about the site in the comment form below! (or tweet...

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The Imitation Game, and the Human Element in Data Science

August 8, 2015

Last night, my husband and I watched The Imitation Game. First of all, it’s a great movie and you should see it. Secondly, there was a moment that got me thinking about the human element of machine learning.

[Spoiler Alerts – but you probably already know much of the story, and the movie is still good even if you know the historical outcome.]

I thought a moment like this may be coming when Alan Turing was first applying to work at Bletchley Park, and Denniston can’t believe he’s applying to be a Nazi codebreaker without even knowing how to speak German. Alan emphasizes that he is masterful at games and solving puzzles, and that the Nazi Enigma machine is a puzzle he wants to solve. He starts designing and building a machine that will theoretically be able to decode the Nazi radio transmissions, but the decoder settings change every day at 12am, so the machine must solve for the settings before the stroke of midnight every day in order for the day’s messages to be decoded in time to be useful and not interfere with the next day’s decoding process. Turing can’t prove his machine will work, simply because it is simply taking too long to solve the daily puzzle. In the meantime, people are dying in the war, and the Nazis are going on transmitting their messages over normal radio waves believing the code is “unbreakable”.

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My “Secret” Side Project, Revealed

August 1, 2015

OK So I was actually hoping to show this to you all long ago, and I kept coming up with more and more ideas for it, so it’s not going to be “ready” to reveal for a while, but I figured I’d go ahead and show it to you anyway. My main motivation is that I keep hearing people say (and sometimes feel myself) that learning to becoming a data scientist on your own using online resources is totally overwhelming: there are so many different possible topics to dive into, few really good guides, lots of impostor-syndrome-inducing posts by people you follow that make you feel like they’re so far ahead of where you are and you’ll *never* get there…. but there’s so much great data science learning content online for everyone from beginners to experienced data scientists! We need a better way to navigate it. Hence my new website: “Data Sci Guide”. It will eventually have a personalized recommender system and structured learning guides and all kinds of other features to help you find the resources to go from where you are to where you want to be, but for now it’s “just” a directory / content rating site. And it’s not ready for you to interact with yet, but it’s getting there, and I’ll need your help fleshing it all out soon. So go take a look! Then come back here to give me feedback and suggestions, because you have to be registered to comment there and I didn’t turn on new user registration yet. OK go now. Don’t forget to come back! >>>> DATA SCI GUIDE.COM <<<   So…. what did you think? What do you think of the overall idea and plans? What should I be sure to remember to include? Tell me below!...

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Entry Level Data Analyst Skills

July 23, 2015

Between an interview from a local TV station about my job and going through the process of hiring someone onto our team, I’ve been thinking about what would be the bare minimum skills someone would need to have a chance at being hired as a data analyst. Maybe this would be a helpful list for someone trying to change careers and trying to decide where to focus their learning time. I posted this picture on Twitter: and got some interesting responses: @BecomingDataSci I'd include familiarity with business process in one of those columns. Can't analyze in a vacuum,. — Karen Clark (@clarkkaren) July 17, 2015 @BecomingDataSci @aflyax You've got analytical thinking & problem solving. Maybe add "adaptable to a variety of environments" as generic? — Karen Clark (@clarkkaren) July 20, 2015 @barbarafenton i mentioned that as a misconception! i spend a lot more time communicating than most people think — Data Science Renee (@BecomingDataSci) July 17, 2015 @DataSkeptic yes i think that's important, but you can get an entry level job w/just basic charting skills. was trying to keep to minimum. — Data Science Renee (@BecomingDataSci) July 17, 2015 @BecomingDataSci so e.g. "SQL" could be "data manipulation skills (e.g. SQL)" – don't get hung up on a specific tool to to the job! 2/2 — Martin Monkman (@monkmanmh) July 17, 2015 @BecomingDataSci This is great! My ready-fire-aim data science side says to add "asking forgiveness is easier than permission" to traits :P — Shannon Quinn (@SpectralFilter) July 17, 2015 @BecomingDataSci I'd add : autodidact — craig pfeifer (@aCraigPfeifer) July 17, 2015 What do you think? I’ll revisit this topic later, and I’ll also post about the conference I’m attending (APRA Data Analytics Symposium) when I have a chance to summarize. For the moment, heading back to the...

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Summer of Data Science 2015

May 18, 2015

I was daydreaming about all of the data science learning I’m going to do this summer, now that I’m done with grad school (M.Eng. in Systems Engineering, yay!) – I’m so excited to get to choose what to work on, and not have homework deadlines in the middle of the work-week! I had a thought while daydreaming, and tweeted this, thinking a few people might think it was fun and respond: I'm planning to do a lot of data science learning this summer. Anyone else? Maybe we shld start a hashtag #SoDS "Summer of Data Science" :) — Data Science Renee (@BecomingDataSci) May 14, 2015 …and as you can see by the RT and Favorite count, it kind of took on a life of its own! I thought of a variation …or maybe more fun #SODAS "Summer of Data Science". like a cool, refreshing beverage. & we'll hand off to So Hemisphere ppl in the fall :) — Data Science Renee (@BecomingDataSci) May 14, 2015 and so did some other people @BecomingDataSci It could be #SoDaS (just add the little "a" in there for D"a"ta…) — Nicole Radziwill (@nicoleradziwill) May 14, 2015 @BecomingDataSci #DSS15 Data Science Summer 2015 — BigMikeInAustin (@BigMikeInAustin) May 14, 2015 In the end, it looks like #SoDS won…. and got a whole lot of support because of a RT by @dpatil! Thanks to him, this is what my notifications started to look like: Too bad I was supposed to be working on writing up something for work…. that didn’t get done that night! I came back later and was really surprised by the response! I was excited by all of the new followers, and especially happy that some people appeared to have been inspired by the hashtag to do some data science learning of their own! @BecomingDataSci @seinecle and is there something like "data science for über-beginners"? =D — Lexane Sirac (@lexanesirac) May 14, 2015 2 minutes later… @BecomingDataSci @seinecle @clarecorthell thank you so much! I'll make sure to take part in #SoDS then! — Lexane Sirac (@lexanesirac) May 14, 2015 So it seems I started something and now I need to follow up! I’m going to tag my summer learning projects on here with the “#SoDS 2015” post category, and tweet about them (of course!) using the #SoDS hashtag on twitter. Will you join me? :) Here’s to an awesome Summer of Data Science! Now I’m going to try to go respond to all of your tweets! (P.S. the hashtag just started being used by some Dutch foodies, but we’ll overwhelm that version with our data science tweets pretty soon!) P.P.S. we even have a unicorn joining us this summer! @BecomingDataSci @DataSkeptic count me in! #SoDS #becomingaunicorn — Data Science Unicorn (@DataScienceUni) May 14,...

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“Becoming a Data Scientist” Podcast?

April 25, 2015

Well, I’m not fully committed yet, because I think I’m imagining I’m going to have a lot more time when I finish grad school than I actually will (or in reality, I’ve already filled up that available time with fun projects I want to do), but this idea keeps nagging at me…. I’ve been listening to a lot of data science podcasts lately, and I think there’s room for another one. And I want to make it. I’m thinking that I would interview people about how they became a data scientist: what their educational background is, what resources they use to keep learning on their own, what tools they use, how they interviewed for data science jobs, what they do now, etc…. maybe it would be a Google Hangout, then I could post both the video and audio-only versions. I tweeted about this idea and got some good feedback about it. What do you think? Are you interested? Which data scientists would you most want to learn more about? P.S. I’m reading the book Data Scientists at Work by Sebastian Gutierrez (slowly, around grad class work), and I’m really enjoying it. If you want to read interviews of data scientists where they detail what they do and why they’re passionate about it, check it...

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