Some Observations

14 Feb 2018

More Learning

I’m starting to slip a little bit with my blog updates. I started on a good pace, but that pace is slipping a little bit lately. Shame on me, but it has been busy, and I haven’t had as much time to work on data science projects. I’ve actually felt a little a little scatterbrained / indecisive lately, which bothers me. I hate when that happens. It definitely exacerbates the feelings of not getting “enough” done. I put enough in quotes because it’s a loosely defined term, to be sure, and completely subjective. Because of my extreme desire for a career change, and inherent impatience, I put a lot of pressure on myself to cram so much into every day. This inevitably leads to frustration, self-doubt and other negative outcomes. It also doesn’t help that I seem to be adding to my backlog vs. whittling it down. For example, here are some projects that are currently taking up some brain power:

  • Data project with my brother, adding info to his work in Flint, MI.
  • Online classes to further develop coding skills
    • Currently working on Tableau (more on that later)
    • Deep Learning course, which will help with the Flint project.
  • Studying and prepping for job interviews.
  • Explore a project in Natural Language Processing (NLP)

Even working on just one of those projects would be daunting for anyone with a full-time job, and I’m adding all the duties of a new father to my day also! I need to take a moment every now and then to realize that I’m trying to tackle a lot, and it will all get done in due time. Sometimes it helps when another person notices that for you. For example, I told my cube-neighbor that I’ve been taking online classes and trying to build up my data science skills. When she heard that, she said something along the lines of “Whoa! you’re doing a lot more than most!” That was definitely the reminder I needed to not be so hard on myself when I feel like I’m not getting “enough” done.

Job Progress

Last week was an eventful one as far as the hunt for a new job goes. I had an interview for a new position within my current company. It’s not really data science related, but it would be a positive move, providing a much-needed change of environment, and a chance to learn a new aspect of the business. Of course, I would still look for ways to apply the skills and techniques of data science to the role. I’m sure there are opportunities. I think the interview went well. As of this writing, I’m anxiously awaiting the results.

In more exciting / related news, I had a phone interview for a Data Science and Analytics Program Coordinator (say that five times, fast!) for the city of San Diego. I also feel like I did well in that short interview, so I hope I can make it to the next step. It’s exciting enough to have gotten a phone interview, since it’s the first time I’ve gotten a call for a data related role. It would be interesting to join the public sector, as that’s something I’ve never done. However, one of my main career goals is to “use my powers for good”, and this opportunity would definitely be a major step in that direction. I haven’t heard anything after the phone interview but keep watching this space - and cross your fingers!

Observation, Reflection

I recently had some thoughts pop into my head during my daily post-lunch walk around the neighborhood. Sometimes these thoughts are profound, and I surprise myself, but most of the time they are seemingly random and mundane. One thing I’ve been thinking about is how I’ve been feeling more myself this year. It’s starting to show in little tweaks to my personality. Most notably (to me at least), is I think my goofy sense of humor is returning. It’s gotten to the point where my wife has even commented “You’re acting weird - like your brother!”, which hits the nail on the head, if you ask me. I’d hate to think that my personality and mood has been affected in the past year or two due to being bogged down at work, but I think that may have been the case. Nevertheless, there’s no time like the present. I can use this moment to make a positive change in my life, always moving forward.

“Don’t let X define you - you define you!”