Diving into Data Science

Last May I became Insight Data Science Fellow, a company that re-trains scientists like myself to assume a role of the Data Scientist. As part of my ‘reeducation,’ I had to complete a project. In a week.

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That was a novelty for me. You see, astrophysicists like me have all skills necessary for successful data analysis. It’s just we tend to go nitpicking and researching every little aspect of the research question we’re working on. And because we do every aspect of analysis from scratch (including making a software for the analysis), it takes a time to finish the comprehensive scientific study.
In reality, as the skill development grows and we have accumulated software (trust me, developing software from the scratch is the longest process); research results come to the light faster. I was able to churn two scientific papers per year, on average. Meaning, from asking the scientific question to the publication of the results, on average, I took six months, which is still too long for the industry.

I found one week a challenge. In that week, we had to think about what question to tackle, prepare the data and analyze it. Plus, every day we had intensive meetings with other members of group, lessons, presentations. It was tough, but fun. I did it. I ended up with an interesting project, a scalable project that was complete in a week. It was satisfying to have a full presentation in just a few weeks.

I successfully finished the whole program. But I ended up with two obstacles. One is my wish to find a job in greater Los Angeles area. I have my reasons to stay here. Limiting myself on one location reduced chances to find a company that is a good match for me.
The other obstacle was my misunderstanding. I was under an impression that Insight will get me a job. After all, they are paid by companies, not by students. Well, It does not work like that. As I could not find a match for me in original offered companies (only 3 in my preferred area), that turned to be more-less the end of the story. I realized that the maximum I can expect from Insight were the networking advantages. It is not something to squint at, someone like me, needs networking.

So now, I’m doing the rest by myself. Looking job adds, researching companies, honing my data analysis skills, and working on data analysis projects.
Currently, I’m dabbling in two. One is an expansion of my Insight Project, and the other is my baby, developing a machine learning algorithm for the fashion purposes. I’ll introduce both of them in future posts.


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