Journeys start with the first step

Journeys start with the first step

I’ve been lucky enough to be able to stay home with my kids for over four years now. Initially, the plan was for me to take 6 months off after number 1 was born and then return to work. After a lot of soul searching and looking at finances, it actually ended up making more sense (both mentally and financially) for me to stop working and stay home full time. It’s been a life changing experience. My kids are better for it. I’m better for it. My husband and I are better for it. But now the kids are getting older (4 & 2!) and I’m ready to get back in to the workforce.

On and off over the last ten years I’ve been trying to figure out what I wanted to do. I love software development because I love solving problems. But I want more than to build a UI for an administrator to interact with.

I want to ask questions and I want to answer questions.

Question: How can I ask and answer questions for a living?

Answer: Learn to wrangle data.

So began my search. In true Emily form, I compiled a Google spreadsheet of all the options, including cost, to more easily compare my bootcamp and course options.

BootCamp Comparison 2018

I tried a Coursera course on Data Science. I didn’t like it but I didn’t give up. I looked into the Galvanize Data Science Immersive Bootcamp and even completed their free prep course. The prep course was fun, but it had so many typos and errors that I could not believe the paid version to be that much better. One thing Galvanize helped me realize was that I enjoyed reading through the articles and working through problems. I also enjoyed the Slack component where I was able to help other students with their questions.

DataQuest has an attractive promise and checked a lot of boxes for me. So I decided to give it a try.

What I liked

  • Covered both programming (Python, SQL, R) and statistical topics (distributions, probability, hypothesis testing).
    • I loved statistics in college but it has been about 15 years since I sat in one of those classes. A refresher would be nice.
  • Online community
    • I was a little disappointed that the online community was forum based instead of a live (think Slack) platform where users can have actual conversations.
  • Self-paced
    • This meant I didn’t have to put the kids into daycare to be able to work on the course.
  • No videos! Only reading.
    • While some may find this unattractive, this was one of the main features of the platform for me.
  • Cost
    • It cost $294, a lot less than some of the $10,000+ bootcamps

So May 15, 2020 I sign up during the DataQuest 50% off sale. Note: Never pay full price for DataQuest. It seems like they run a 50% off sale every two months while claiming it’s an amazing offer. Until recently, I’ve only had the time to work on the program a couple hours a week so I haven’t made it through the Data Analyst in Python path yet, but I’m getting there. I did take a detour to complete their new SQL Skills path to solidify my SQL skills which was a great choice for me.

Hacker News Analysis is one of the projects I’ve completed so far as part of DataQuest. Eventually, I’d like to get my Jupyter Notebooks embedded in my site but that’s for another day!

Well, variety is the spice of life. So in addition to DataQuest, I’ve decided to throw some Kaggle into the mix! It’s a great way for me to get experience with some real world examples without relying on the step by step instructions on how to answer (or ask!) the question.

I’ve chosen a new Kaggle project, Rock, Paper Scissors. It closed Feburary 1st so I have 8 work days to work on it! I’m excited for what I can learn and apply to this challenge.