And as often happens when questions nag at me, I Google a lot, then end up in school.
In this case, one of my employees happened to send me information on a data analytics workshop she was interested in taking at General Assembly (GA).
When I read the other options available at the school, the phrase “predictive modeling” intrigued me.
And that was in the description of a Data Science 101 workshop.
I needed to attend.
The workshop broke down the basics of what data scientists do and the tools they use in their trade: they analyze and communicate data-driven insights using modeling and machine learning.
It was just a tease of information, but it was enough.
I wanted to learn more.
One tool they brought up was python and I’d never used it before.
I wanted to see what it looked like so I took GA’s Introduction to Python Bootcamp.
From there, I took a step back and thought it over.
I felt like the tools were in here to help me understand the stories data was trying to tell me more.
But I wasn’t sure yet the next step to take.
I researched my options.
In the meantime I took other workshops from GA, including Social Media Strategy Mapping and Digital Marketing Bootcamp.
I still had digital marketing skills to keep brushing up on after all….
AN IDEA FORMSThe topic of data science and learning more about it lingered in my head, much like an earworm.
I couldn’t get the idea of exploring stories within data and unraveling its puzzles out of my mind.
I researched online schools and found myself coming back to GA, which was starting to feel like a second home to me at this point.
GA had two data science programs, one part time and one full time.
While I wasn’t ready to leave my job and jump into the immersive program, I was intrigued by it.
So, I went to a Q&A session about it and fell in love with entire concept and approach.
Using an interconnected classroom fascinated me, so much so that the idea if it seemed to haunt me.
Though, leaving my job seemed so risky.
Would it really be worth it to leave my job just to try to get the tools to help me answer a question?.Eep!.Daunting, I know….
There was a lot to think about here.
I weighed the pros and cons and made subsequent lists of each side to review.
Then I came up with the idea that maybe I should see if I could get into the program first, then worry about the big decision of it later.
So that’s what I did.
I applied and got accepted.
Only I delayed entry so I could think it over more.
My plan was to also take that time to refresh my memory on math I’d learned long, long ago.
THE INTERRUPTIONWhile I was thinking this big decision over, a drastic change happened in my work life.
My company went through a restructuring and my department was shut down.
These things happen.
And you would think, hey, perfect timing.
Jump right into data science.
The thing is, I needed a moment.
I’d been at the company for more than twelve years and had built the department from scratch.
And I had employees to think about too.
While I understood the business decision to consolidate, I grieved for what was lost.
I took a few months off to think about what I really wanted my career path to be.
While I did this, I fell into my comfort zone of taking classes.
Yes, more classes.
Sensing a pattern?.I took a bunch through Coursera.
My favorites were a series of classes on Leading People and Teams and SEO.
During this period, I also took time to meditate and hike and basically reflect on life.
Plus, I set up camp at my local library and did lots of research.
In the end, I kept coming back to data and how data is used in everything.
But more than that, I was fascinated by machine learning and modeling.
I was also drawn to the possibilities of discovering innovative ideas by learning how to dive deeper into the data for exploration.
I finally had that “What am I waiting for?” moment and contacted GA to see if I could start the next Data Science Immersive session.
And luckily, that answer was “yes.
”NEW DIRECTIONSo, yes, it took me some time to come to terms with the idea of making a career shift.
And that’s okay.
If you are thinking of making this sort of shift, take the time you need to be sure about it.
Do your research.
Figure out the right path forward for you.
And if and when you are ready, making that leap will be all the more rewarding.
For me, I found data science to be a more enriching subject than I could have ever imagined.
I fell in love with it and now crave learning all I can.
My favorite thing to learn about was Natural Language Processing.
I hadn’t ever thought of using words as data before.
I also have a little moment of glee every time I get to toss data into multi-dimensional space.
But that may be the science fiction geek in me loving that.
In any event, that’s what led me to data science.
And I’m happy to be here!.I still don’t have an answer to the question that originally led me here, but I believe I now have the tools to help me get there.
I’m excited to see what I can now learn with these tools for that question and more.
If you’d like to check out any of my projects, they are up on Github.
Cheers!.. More details