I read a post on a Facebook data science group from a guy that was really upset. He mentioned all the effort he made to study data science in order to get a job in the field. He sacrificed time from his family and friends, personal moments. He was so upset that he couldn’t find an actual data science job that he decided to stop studying and chasing a career to the field. It was that time when I decided to reply to his post. I started typing but my reply was getting bigger and bigger. It was that point that I changed my mind, and instead start writing this article. Questions started waterfall. What is data science for me? How much time did I spend studying? What tools do I use? What algorithms? How do I use it? When was the first time I used data science without even know what it meant? dozens of question written down, but I decided to write about my first couple of questions. What data science actually means to me? What does a data scientist do? My answer?
Data scientists are “fortune tellers”. We use science to predict or identify future behaviors or events.
Its called passion. If you sacrifice things to do it, it means you don’t belong to data science. You study Data science because you love it, not because there is a huge demand in the market. Data science is not a job. Data science is mentality and the most important skill is not statistics, or coding, or domain knowledge. Most important skill is self curiosity. To challenge yourself every day, to go one step beyond or to try alternatives to reach the optimal. You don’t have to steal time from your family. You don’t have to steal from your free time, to study data science. You prefer to study data science at every available moment.
Sometimes I prefer to learn new tools or test algorithms instead of watching the “Irish man”. Even now, that I am writing these thoughts I ‘m way past my work day schedule at the office. Even if I wasn’t writing this article, I would probably spend this time to find another data source, to satisfy my curiosity on if retail sales correlate with weather temperature (actually it does 🙂 )
Give me data and interesting questions and come back tomorrow.
I spend almost 50% of my day cleaning, transforming, producing, correcting, modeling data. 30% to troubleshoot connections, normalizations. 20% discussing with colleagues to brainstorm for new ideas or approaches. 30% to design visualizations. Yeap you are right. If you do the math you get 130%. Most of my Sunday mornings, I wake up at 6 and I enjoy my coffee by the nature and silence. I feel creative. I start designing compelling graphs to impress myself. If I manage to impress me and feel really proud, my client will love it also. If not? I will try to find alternatives during the week. At 8 or 9 I will start my day and spend some personal time with family and friends. I do the same sometimes on Saturdays. I do the same sometimes when everyone at home goes to bed. Especially when I am bothered that all the algorithms I tried do not give me what I am expecting. Some times I win, some times I loose. If I loose I have to get more brains to consider my lose. I try to help other brains to win battles with data.
I do data science when I am hiking by looking for patterns in the trees. I am doing data science on my way to work, wondering “why most of the school traffic controllers are blonde?”, “What movies did I watch in Netflix in order for their algorithm to recommend to me deadly weapon 4 instead of Irish man?” Data science and all of its branches are just tools in an amazing journey to satisfy my curiosity. Curiosity is the back bone of data science.