I am Gonna Start Studying Data Science, now What?

published by Susana Paço - 26 September, 2019

Hey data science students! 🙂 This one’s for you, who is starting your pathway into data science! Welcome to a crazy but fun world.

Yeah I know it can be stressful but it can also be a super fun, super intensive journey. First of all, the best of luck for all of you. Portugal needs more super data enthusiasts so on you go padawans of data science! =) May the force of data be with you 😛

My impending start on a  second master’s degree put me to think what advice would I’ve loved to know before starting a major course in data science, so here are my 6 top tips. 

  • This is the time to experiment so go on and make mistakes, lots of them – “Huh? Are you talking about succeeding in college for data science and then you begin by telling me to commit mistakes? “ Yes dear fellow students, I am. One big part of a successful life as a data scientist is being able to iterate over many attempts in a short period of time, so being used to commit mistakes, analyze them quickly and move on is highly important. Learn to not be paralyzed by the fear;
  • Learn to Document Your Work and Your Study – Your best help in a data science project are your notes that will aid you in understanding the details you are discovering so why not start this habit in school? Being thorough in your documentation, with your words (no copy paste from books here) will help you greatly as a professional and lifelong student. That time when boss/teacher will ask you for the results of your work out of nowhere will no longer be a source of stress;
  • Engage with Communities – Data Science changes every single day and keeping up with it is scary. Want a big help to deal with this, earn a few friends along the way and learn from a lot of cool people. Join data science communities, where data enthusiasts reunite to share knowledge. It’s a group of friends that understand your obsession with algorithms, ya know ? 🙂 Maybe…join us?
  • Develop a Portfolio, with Passion Projects –  a good entrance door to a good data science job is often a good portfolio of projects to show. The biggest mistake people commit? They tend to choose projects around “what’s in vogue” instead of doing something they really love. Wanna be different? In a sea of GAN’s, neural networks and AI’s, a simple linear regression, well coded, that truly solves a problem you found interesting, the better. Go for passion projects, now it’s the time for them;
  • Don’t ditch the good old paper notebook –  Studies indicate that we learn more effectively by writing notes rather than typing them (1) so not ditching a good old paper notebook might be a good idea for you to digest the ideas given by your teachers and even your own. Just ask most people in tech and a lot of them will tell you that they won’t ditch the good old notebook by their side. 
  • Above all, have fun –  You got to enter a course in one of the most in demand areas in the world right now, there’s innovations happening every day and lots of new ideas are thrown around in here. Don’t forget to have fun then ! If that means creating a project based upon analysis of tweets with the #ihatemyboss hashtag (guilty 😛 ) be it. It’s the fun times that will keep you strong in the hard times, so let your inner crazy come out sometimes. 

Students old and new, what advice would you give to new students in the area of data science? Tell us !