Enrolling in a Data Science Specialization Program

As I said in my first post on this blog, I want to write about my personal experience learning and figuring out data science. Over the past week I have had a breakthrough in clarity that was fueled in part by watching a colleague discuss data science applications. Early in the week I had set up Visual Studio to use a few different Python versions (2.7, 3.4 and Canopy). I was preparing to follow a tutorial I found on machine learning in Python.

Then I heard a talk at work about data science by a colleague who is former physicist and data scientist. I'm sorry that I cannot link to the presentation as it included some proprietary information about my employer, but suffice it to say that his talk gave me inspiration! Having looked at The Data Science Toolkit course specialization delivered on Coursera by John Hopkins School of Public Health professors, I decided to commit to this program by not only enrolling in the first of their nine courses, but paying for me to fuel my commitment.

This program teaches and uses the R programming language which is heavily used in the data science field. Not only is R free but there is a nice IDE for it, RStudio, and over five-thousand packages available through the Comprehensive R Archive Network (CRAN).

Once I had started the course and announced on an internal, data science chat channel at work that I was doing so, I received a lot of encouragement. Besides the many people taking the course who I can chat with on the course forum, it's great to have support and a sounding board for thoughts at work. Thanks y'all!