A Year of Data: Down, but not Out.

One of my favorite boxers. Roman Gonzalez. Image Belongs to (Mark Ralston / AFP/Getty Images

Heya everyone! I’m back! I know it has been quite a while since you’ve last seen anything from me. There’s a reason for that. This post will be a reflection of my journey of where I started till now. It has been some year.

I started the The Data Logs late January of 2016 with this post. I was extremely enthusiastic and excited to learn. From there I got used to the R language, took on a few projects, got accepted into NASA Datanauts (Applications for new members are open!), and met tons of awesome people. I couldn’t be happier really. After my 6 month mark, I started to get a little overly ambitious. Because of how much I wanted to help people, I started to volunteer my time to help them. I also started looking for data science jobs to see what I can possibly get.

I should have known better to try all of that at once. I couldn’t fully dedicate time to the the tasks of others and couldn’t really deliver. Managing the time I used to study and practice was difficult. And with job hunting it ended up being one rejection after another. This period of time was filled with frustration that eventually turned into burnout and depression. I had doubts about my path and skills. I couldn’t get motivated and basically turned away from tech related things for months. That included people, events, and Twitter. It was by far one of the lowest periods in my life I had ever faced.

Thankfully I have good friends. They checked in on me during this time to see if I was ok. It took some time but with their support and my break, I eventually found the nerve to start again. Here’s some stuff I learned during that period.

1. Know your Bandwidth

If you’re anything like me you want to do and learn everything. Shiny object syndrome some call it. While not necessarily a bad thing, you have to accept that you can’t. There is only so much you can do at a time. So, don’t say yes to everything especially if it involves other people. You’ll be doing them and yourself a disservice. You have to know yourself (and your time). Make sure you can take things on and address them appropriately.

2. Have a System

I kinda sorta had a plan when I was learning new things. “Kinda sorta” doesn’t really get much done. So I did a little research and started to experiment. I decided to block out 3 months of time strictly for making myself a stronger data scientist. I looked over a bunch of job applications and decided I would learn recurring skills and evaluate what my weaknesses were. After that, I invested in a to do list to set up bi-weekly goals and daily tasks that would help me get there. I evaluated that every 2 weeks to see how I was doing. This is loosely based off on Anthony Frasier’s 3 months goals.For those day to day tasks I began using the Pomodoro technique. Basically 25 minutes of work by 5 minutes of rest for each rep. I’ve made a lot of progress with this and I still got a month to go.

3. It is OK to take Breaks

Grind. Hustle. Team No Sleep. You’ve seen these phrases at least once. We live in a productivity culture. Getting stuff done. But we have to be reasonable. 8 hours of sleep is a game changer yo. And taking a a few minutes to a few days off a difficult tasks won’t kill you (Unless you have a strict deadline). Insights and answers tend to reveal themselves when you’re relaxed and could look at things with a fresh mind. Hustle smart.

I’ve had some more interesting experiences these last few weeks that I think you’d love to read. The next post will focus on a technical task I was assigned as part of an interview. I’ll also be writing about the interview process I wen through for a data analyst internship. I have some blog posts on the neat stuff I’ve learned recently and I have a few things I want to accomplish for the Summer of Data Science 2017:

  • A project involving an API
  • 2 Machine Learning Projects
  • Continue studying statistics
  • A Shiny App
  • Keep Blogging

I’m happy to be back. I feel like I’m in a better place mentally than I was last year and I feel just if not more motivated as when I started. Of course this isn’t a “Year of Data” anymore but it’ll be a fun ride and I hope you stay with me. I have more things to learn and a whole bunch to share.

If you liked this and you’re excited for what’s next hit the recommend button.