Data Science Learning Journey – Month #3

Trying to keep some standard to updating these – so this will be the October update. You can find the past two updates by scrolling on the main page of my site here.

The last six weeks have definitely had their own learning experience – including my first real “test”, in the form of the first midterm for the class I’m auditing. That class is Introduction to Analytics Modeling, through Georgia Tech’s online masters in analytics (more on that later).

It was the first academic test I’ve taken since 2010 and I was more than a little rusty preparing and studying for it – likely overdoing my focus on some parts and wasting some time. Oh well – it wasn’t for naught, I got a 90% on the first test which made me quite happy.

The test for this class was quite different. While the weekly homework assignments are almost exclusively done in R—forcing me to learn that language and how to run tests in it, code “for loops” and the like for cross-fold validations and sum square errors (as just another example)—the test was much more analytical. There was no math and no coding on the test – but rather practical questions on applying certain types of models on data sets.

That test also covered a lot of ground—regression, exponential smoothing, SVM, KNN, validation, and more. So it was a lot to take in. And to add that analytical thinking on to the skillset I’m building in learning how to analyze data in R Studio.

I say that because I’m pleased I was able to get some practice in on that latter point in the last six weeks too. I took some more LinkedIn Learning courses in prep for the midterm like Artificial Intelligence Foundations: Machine Learning which has several crossover videos on algorithms from class. Another was the third Statistics Foundation class which filled in some blanks in modeling I’ve had from now taking a stats class in over a decade.

On top of this, I continued using DataCamp for coding learning and practice. I didn’t want my newly learned (this summer) SQL skills to wither away so I finished the Introduction to SQL course on DataCamp, and started the Intermediate SQL course (as well as the course specific to Joining Data), but mostly I’ve been using their daily practice (in-app and online to brush up on this).

And then I continued to push my R language skills, in class specifically, and on DataCamp. nicely, DataCamp has courses that teach R specifics as well as explaining concepts—so it was really nice to take part of the Correlation and Regression course in R while studying these concepts….and the same goes for Exploratory Data Analysis.

It was a solid month (and a half) since my last post and I learned a lot and had some of that learning validated with the positive midterm score.

But the other big event in this span was getting into the full Georgia Tech Online Masters in Analytics program (after applying in August) and deciding now if I want to pursue that (it’s a part-time program, I say “full” above because I’m essentially auditing once class from it now). It’s looking very likely that I’m going to go through with the program, which would continue this Data Science Learning Journey for years to come!

On my next update I’ll go into that program more and targets of some classes I’ll be taking. I’ll also mix in some work I’m doing in my day job (these are more reminders for myself!)