Hello, Good Humans!
I want to share the story of how I launched my data science career with Dataquest, and hopefully, in the process inspire some of you to grab that Red Bull, keep calm and code on—your time will come. I first joined Dataquest over a year ago to begin my journey. After getting 60% of the way through the Data Science path, I got the itch to venture into the wilderness and craft my own, original project. I quickly became obsessed, to the point where I never finished the Data Science path (one of my reasons for renewing my Premium membership). This project that I ultimately became addicted to landed me my first DS role. Like every good story, there are successes and failures. Data science is an iterative process abound by trial and error. Without further ado, I invite you, dear reader, to the story of the project that changed my life.
The Unproductive Motivator
Struggling to come up with an exciting, self-contained project completable in a reasonable period of time, I slacked off and binged my new favorite TV show. Enamored by his killer instinct and ruthless moxie, I drifted into the show, asking myself: if I was there, what would I do to grab his attention? How would I make Bobby f----ng Axelrod, a genius hedge fund manager see me? And then it happened.
There’s a small group who can do the math. There’s an even smaller group who can explain it. But those few who can do both, they become billionaires. - Bobby ‘Axe’ Axelrod
You can probably guess where this is going. After receiving the metaphorical pep talk from Wendy Rhodes (Axe Capital’s star ‘performance psychologist’) I knew what I must do. I had to beat Modern Portfolio Theory, the Nobel-winning theory of the optimal portfolio, and explain it in a way anyone could understand. Challenge (foolishly?) accepted.
The Healthy Addiction
Energized like the '80s day trader who just did a line, I cracked open some Red Bulls, refused to sleep, read some papers, and clacked away. When you look at the notebook, it would appear I had everything figured out from the get-go, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. There was a fair share of headaches (figuratively and literally) getting everything to work together. Every time I tried something that didn’t work, I would get this gut-wrenching feeling—the feeling of failure with a healthy helping of inadequacy and spritz of imposter syndrome. Instead of giving in, I channeled my inner Axe and killed it.
The Last Mile
Moral of the story: data science is hard and sometimes it takes sheer grit to get through a project. When things get tough and stuff isn’t working you’ll want to call it quits. Don’t. Just ask yourself, what would Axe do?
Long story short, I published the project on Github, wrote a Linkedin article, began networking, interviewed, and landed a DS role at a fairly large hedge fund with $10 billion in assets under management. Remarkably, all of this happened four months after joining Dataquest! So, I implore you, for the love of Bobby, don’t give up!