Generation Girl
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Generation Girl

Develop Data Science skills from early age : A simple guide for beginners

Written by Mitali Chotrani and Veronica Dian Sari — January 2021

I know what it’s like to “think through” and decide which career path would you choose when you haven’t even finished living your student life (well being a student for life is life). — Mitali Chotrani

There are so many career options currently available to everyone and the information present online has made it quite easy to read them up! One of such interesting & hot career choices of the generation is Data Science!!!

I’m a Data Scientist by profession and meet my friend Veronica aka Vero who is a Data engineer. We work in the same team to kick in Data Science projects for deployment in the company. Vero suggested that I join Generation Girl’s aka GG Winter Club’20 with her to mentor YOUNG MINDS between age 12–17 years old girls for Data Science to which I instantly said YES because it is awesome, isn’t it? Go GIRLS Go!!! GG aims to introduce girls to the STEM field and shape future female leaders by guiding them from a very young age. Vero has been part of previous clubs which helped us plan our strategies this time.

As you can guess, the topic that we both handled was none other than that of Data Science aka DS. DS has become an integral part of every business’s process flow to provide speed, stability & scalability. The profession is challenging but at the same time is filled with absolute FUN — From understanding business problems TO brainstorming solutions TO providing solutions TO deploying solutions. It’s definitely a party for all the PROBLEM SOLVERS :)
It’s important for all young minds to know the difference between Data Science & other Data related professions from the very beginning because let’s face it, it’s CONFUSING :(

So what is the difference between Data Science & BI/Data analysts? AND why is Data Science important for any business?

Differences between Data Science and Business Intelligence

As rightly mentioned in the table above, Data Science helps us to know the future! Well, not accurately but close enough. But even close enough is better than knowing nothing right? This knowledge helps businesses and everyone who wants to know the future through data to take control of the future by working towards it in the present.

Now, how about basic knowledge and some guidance about Data Science from a very early age? YAY! I would have personally loved it if I was told about it when I started my career.

Here are some minimal requirements to pursue Data Science

  1. Basic Statistics — Sure every school student knows about mean, median, mode. Even if not, hold on. You have not reached the class yet.
  2. Problem solving skills — If you like to solve problems at home or school or between friends, give them suggestions then Congrats YOU are a PROBLEM SOLVER. If you have solved the problem of how to manage your friends & girlfriend/boyfriend then you are a Great Problem Solver.
  3. Basic software programming — Instead of solving mathematical or statistical problems by hand, we can use some technology which can fastrack our work like calculators! Developer communities have made it easy for everyone to learn and view reference codes online free of cost. Some of the languages that Data Scientists prefer and our open source are Python and R. You can begin with any of these, we are sure it will be easy for you :)
  4. Hunger to learn — If you are keen to learn and explore -
  • why the problem
  • how the solution
  • what the impact

Then, you will be on top of your game because science is progressing daily and we need to keep ourselves up-to-date with the new technologies to use in our work.

Being part of a group of girls who are enthusiastic about learning something new with a high spirit always makes me happy and grateful for the opportunity. This is the third time I was joining Generation Girl as a mentor and it didn’t make me feel tired because it always got me new experiences and useful feedback for myself. As Charlie Munger quotes, “Those who keep learning will keep rising in life,” I always try to motivate myself to learn something new day by day. For me, this kind of activity always makes me learn something new. — Veronica

Data science class commenced in Winter Club 2020 in the Generation Girl group, so we had no reference materials for the class which was challenging for me and my partner, Mitali. We tried to create materials for the beginner’s level which help girls understand about the bigger picture in Data science.

From our discussions with other mentors for DS, we aimed to focus on -

  1. What, why and where Data Science can be used?
  2. Basics of statistics & programming required to execute Data Science solutions
  3. End to end Data Science project by the girls

Thanks to Covid, our classes were held online.. aarrgghh!!! The class comprised two mentors, two teaching assistants who helped us answer questions from the girls when the mentor was engaged in teaching.

At first, the girls were overwhelmed with the topic and Data Science logic. We tried to make the material simpler and easy to digest. Looks all the work well done; in the final, the girls slowly got accustomed to the subject and finally got comfortable. All the beginners there, have patience when you begin, and things will gradually fall into place.

Takeaways for the young crowd

  • Explore a new horizon, learn, make mistakes and maybe you might love the new horizon.
  • Please don’t feel burdened with the difficulties in the beginning, take it slow and at your own speed you will cross the victory line for every hurdle you face.
  • Starting early is already an achievement!! Don’t give up when you are stuck at one point — read articles, refer to the existing solution examples online, reach out to your mentors or anyone who you think can help.
  • Lastly and importantly, keep the learning spirit UP forever cuz that’s how you will keep growing forever.

Here some courses or website you can learn by yourself about Data Science

  1. Statistics major from college
  2. Computer Science major from college
  3. Data Science major from college
  4. Kaggle.com
  5. Datacamp.com
  6. Stackoverflow.com

Energy and persistence conquer all things

After successful completion of the course, girls presented their projects to all of us. Undoubtedly, their learnings were well implemented in their work and as usual they raised the bar by delivering beyond expectations to all of us. So all the aspirants planning or are in middle of the course, continue to keep trying and doing your best because you will succeed like the Winter Club 2020 girls :) Here is the glimpse of projects by the girls-

  1. Spotify popularity prediction model
Spotify song popularity prediction model by the Rookies

Objective — To predict the popularity score for each song from the Spotify dataset. This can provide Spotify a chance to promote songs according to its popularity, and provide Artists an understanding of what the public prefers/enjoys.

2. School grades prediction.

School grade model prediction by the rookies

Objective — To predict the school grade based on three aspects from the student which are education, lifestyle, and family background from the dataset.

Our memories from the club

Our precious class photo

Hope everyone found this article useful, inspiring & most importantly not boring. All the best for your next steps (whether this article has encouraged or not)

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