From Overwhelmed to “Whelmed”

At times, this cohort could feel overwhelming due to the sheer volume of material I would need to learn and practice. Recently, however, as I’m gearing focus on my capstone project, I haven’t felt overwhelmed as much. In fact not much at all. Choosing my subject matter (observing and predicting votes in the recent U.S. election), the tools I’m using for this project, and feeling driven to success and, interestingly, more calm.

Maybe it’s just because I’ve gotten so used to the constant stream of information coming in. Maybe I’ve gotten tired trying to remember certain concepts and have honed in on those I’m best at. Regardless, I’m now at the most comfortable level so far working on these projects. There’s a new level of comfortable focus that wasn’t there at the start of the program.

Learning coding and data science it’s sometimes felt as though my mind were being reprogrammed and retooled. At first it was somewhat jarring to learn and immerse myself in an entirely new subject. Sometimes I would struggle to keep up with labs and project requirements. However, as I’ve made mistakes, repeated exercises, and become more open minded to making these mistakes and learning from them, my skills improved. Now it’s an easy task to run a regression/classification model, run Bayes Theorem to predict probabilities, display several distribution and scatter plots from a dataset all at once, and use various other tools in Python.

Before taking this course, I had a fear of being overwhelmed with too much work, and not having the driven focus to complete tasks effectively and efficiently. However, through having so much loaded onto me at once, and through being encouraged to learn through making mistakes, I feel my confidence, along with my humility on how much I don’t know, increase. Once I finish the course in a few weeks, I’ll be searching for jobs, but I’ll also be studying and reviewing concepts constantly. In Data science, we’re always looking for a more perfect model. Through learning it and becoming part of this community, I’m driven to make better models, and in doing so improve my skills and breadth of knowledge.

The challenges remain, in brushing up on skills, in bolstering my portfolio, and in more firmly establishing my career, but I have a more robust willingness to get to work than I did before. Besides learning new and innovative coding skills, this may be my best takeaway from getting into Data science.