Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Watch me become a Data Scientist!

You may or may not remember me, I am that guy who used to do this for 8 years:

My "secret technique" was shoeing large angry horses all day, putting my kids to sleep, then spending time with my wife, and finally from 10pm - 1am ( or till I fell asleep on the couch ) learning how to code.  I did this for 9 months, 2 days straight without missing a day.  I am a very driven person and believe in pushing myself to new levels, I also get bored very easily and love to learn new things.  One of my favorite sayings is: "You can sleep when you're dead" :-)

I had thousands of people follow me on my journey of learning to code and eventually landing a junior developer role.  After getting hired I was inundated with hundreds of emails asking how a "dumb Blacksmith / Farrier" learned how to code, so I wrote a book.  After a few years in the tech field I started coaching people how to land jobs. I soon realized that coaching was way too time intensive, and I could never keep up with all the coaching requests.  I also realized that the reason people weren't getting hired had very little to do with their technically ability, and way more to do with their ability to network and market themselves.  So I created an online course teaching people how to get hired super fast.

Why am I telling you this???   Bragging? 


I am embarking on another equally exciting and challenging journey, and I have decided to let anyone who would like to follow along with me on this journey.  In August 2013 I thought I wanted to be a senior Rails developer in 5 years, that is no longer my goal.  I am currently a Test Automation and QA consultant for a very well known company who shall be nameless.  My journey has been successful, but my journey is not over.  I thought I wanted to be a "Ethical Hacker" so I got a mentor, and learned as much as I could for 4 months.  I decided that wasn't the path for me.  This time around I thought I would let you watch me struggle and learn a new field, one that is not very well charted at this point in the tech industry.  I am going to become a Data Scientist.

I don't know all the answers about how I am going to make this happen, but I do know that success for me will be landing a Data Science job.  I was going to wait for a while until I knew a lot more about the field. Instead I decided to let you in on the "ground floor".  I have been doing my homework, studying the industry for the past month in the evenings after work, and have come up with a basic plan.  I will tell you more about my plan as time goes along.  One of the biggest issues that people face is not starting with the end in mind.  I have a very clear target: Data Scientist position.  Having "analyis paralysis" is another common problem, too many options so they don't pick any.  Others find themselves with too many choices and resources!!! So they keep bouncing around and switching material constantly.
If something is not working for you, then by all means stop using it and try something else.  If however you are constantly chasing the new shiny thing, then you will never accomplish your goal of landing a job.  Make no mistake, I do not live in my parents basement, I live in the real world with real world bills.  The best way to see if you are "good enough", is to go out and try to land a job in your chosen field.  Becoming a professional in the industry is tough, being a "Monday morning quarterback" is not hard.  Waiting until you are perfect is a waste of time, and something that will never happen in the tech industry as it changes too quickly.  I say jump in the game, get your feet wet, that is the best way to learn and push yourself to new levels.

If you would have told me that I would be a highly paid consultant 3 years 8 months ago I would have laughed at you.  I have worked at 4 companies in 4 years, I have seen some awful situations. I have experienced good management and horrible management.  I have seen first hand the problems of "technical debt", I don't need to read about it or take a test, I have lived it. I have had to learn entire new frameworks of code and start contributing to them in a matter of weeks.  The only thing that is constant about tech is that it will always change, and that in order to stay ahead you will have to always be learning!  No hand holding here, this is the big leagues, you will have to figure it out fast or get laid off ( true story ).

So here I am again, ready to crawl and fight for every shred of knowledge about Data Science. It's scary too when you say things like this in public.  People send you mean emails, call you stupid just because you set big goals.  I don't care, when people tell me I can't do something it just gives me more fuel to my fire!  This blog has always been about helping people, and making it easier for others to navigate the crazy tech field.  I won't blog everyday, but I will share with you anything and everything I find out along the way.  I hope you will follow along and watch me acheive my goal!!!

You can do this, never let anyone say that you can't!