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Decision Theory and Captain Picard's Leadership

With the start of Star Trek: Picard recently, I've been thinking about one of the big impacts Captain Picard has had on my life (as a lifelong geek). There is an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation called "Attached", where Doctor Crusher and Captain Picard become mind-linked while trapped on a strange planet. The pair need to start moving on foot through the wilderness, but Crusher has no idea which direction they...

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Reboot

A lot has changed since I started this website and blog. When I started, I was just starting my career as a data scientist. I was looking for an outlet for posting projects so I could build up a bit of a portfolio and online presence. This was a career-building move. (I also had a bunch of pent-up thoughts about leaving academia that I felt I needed a venue for). It wasn't long before I got tired of doing data science during the day at...

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The Data Incubator Unofficial Frequently Asked Questions

About a year ago I wrote a review of The Data Incubator (updated review is here). I always know when the Data Incubator application season is here because I always get a few people who have found my blog reaching out with questions about the process. I decided to put together a short list of some of the most common questions I get asked. Should I do the program? The program has pros and cons. For some people I think the program is...

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An Updated Review of The Data Incubator Data Science Bootcamp

A while ago, I wrote a review of The Data Incubator based on my experience in the program. Since then, it’s been the most common reason people reach out to me. I’ve had people reach out to tell me how the program went for them, to ask me questions about the program, or to ask advice. Since this happens so frequently, and my review is a bit out of date now, I figured I would write an updated version, taking into account what has...

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Automated machine learning is coming... and it won't matter

Recently, I’ve been seeing a lot of services and products advertising automation of machine learning. Data Robot and H2O.ai offer platforms that allow the creation of machine learning algorithms in point-and-click interfaces. They’ll even do the feature engineering for you! This functionality, or something like it, is slowly being built into various tools and programs. They promise to automate the creation of the whole machine...

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Performance metrics aren't everything

Lately I’ve been getting pretty annoyed with an obsession with performance metrics. It’s like someone let the word out about what area under the ROC curve is and suddenly everyone thinks that’s the only measure of whether a data science project is ‘good’ or not. The problem is, whether a model is good or not typically relies on much more than [insert your favorite performance metric here]. Yes, if your model is predicting at...

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Motivation in Academia vs Industry

I’ve been in industry working as a data scientist for a year now after leaving academia. By all measures I can think of, it’s been a good year. I got lucky with having a great manager, I’ve gotten a bunch of experience and learned a lot, I work at a place where doing good work means actually helping sick people, and I even lucked out with a promotion, allowing me to try out a slightly more managerial position so I get to see how...

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Data professional definitions: Data analyst vs data scientist vs data engineer

Lately I’ve read a lot of attempts at defining data scientist and differentiating it from other data-centric roles. The terms ‘data scientist’, ‘data analyst’, and ‘data engineer’ are obviously interrelated. But recently I’ve seen some weird definitions of them. Let me make clear that this isn’t just a silly semantic quibble with no practical significance (though it certainly is partially, maybe largely, that). This...