My data science journey

If there’s anything you should know about me, it’s that I’m a problem-solver. Finding solutions to complex problems is something that I enjoy doing. I love puzzles, maths, strategy games! So it is but natural that I gravitated towards data science.

I have always been interested in data. Throughout my career, I have worked with data in different capacities but never really had the chance to dig deep into that world until a couple of years ago. I had my first encounter with machine learning (ML) when I was invited to join a team developing a tool that uses ML as a key component. The project is about applying data science in disaster response operations (I’ll talk about this in more detail some other time). I was mainly responsible for preparing project collaterals (presentations, reports, technical papers) and doing some project coordinating but I did get enough exposure in the technical part of the project for it to really capture my interest.

In the past 4 years, that interest evolved into a passion. I worked on learning about the field by taking advantage of all the free resources available online whenever I had time to spare. But with a career that demands a huge chunk of time, those opportunities to buckle down and prioritise learning did not come often.

It took a global pandemic for me to finally have the courage to pursue this passion and put my chips on the table. (yep, silver linings and all) I finally felt ready. After all the lessons learned and skills gained in my years in the professional world, I think that I can finally confidently say I will not only enjoy the work but I genuinely believe I will be good at it. I decided to back myself and committed to a Data Science Immersive Course with General Assembly.

I don’t think I’ll be able to put into words the amount of work all of us, students, had to put in throughout the whole course. It was three whole months of nonstop learning. I ate data science for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Even my dreams were filled with dataframes, models, and coding solutions. Yet despite all the sacrifices I had to do, my interest and passion never wavered- not even for a single moment.

It helped that I did the course with a wonderful set of like-minded people who awed and inspired me with their curiosity and dedication. From being total strangers to each other, we all came out of course with allies with whom we can start this career journey.

After hundreds of hours spent studying, litres of coffee consumed, weekends forgone, and very very late nights spent slaving in front of my computer, here I am passing the first milestone of what I hope will be an enriching data science career.