This is the last post in a four-part series on how to get into data science. In the previous posts, I review what data science is and provided a checklist to do a self assessment of data science skills. In the following post I outlined my favorite books and classes for data science in order for one to create their own learning journey. Since I’m a huge believer practice makes perfect, I also outlined my data science workflow as a guide to begin working through a data science problem.
All of this of this is helpful information but without a plan of action and execution you will never accomplish your goal, regardless of how many articles you read or classes you take. To make your goal a reality, it’s important to track your progress. Here are 5 things you can do to make sure you succeed in your learning journey.
WRITE DOWN YOUR GOALS
I can not stress this enough, there is something magical that happens when you physically write down your goals. Maybe the first goal you write down is to become a data scientist for a fortune 500 hundred company, or maybe your goal is to finish a data science class, whatever it is WRITE IT DOWN!
I prefer to write my goals in a place where I can look at them frequently. This could be a virtual sticky note on your computer, weekly planner, or even go old school and put it on your fridge.
Whatever you first wrote down, you most likely can break it down further, and it will definitely need prioritized. By breaking the goals down into small increments you’ll be sure to see progress and feel good that you are moving in the right direction, and by prioritizing your goals it will limit the distractions and allow you to make the right next best move.
STAY THE COURSE
Stay disciplined and execute your plan, do the dirty work. This is where most people fail. They get bored, discouraged, or distracted, but not you. You put in the work, cause you know what your goal is and can see all the small steps you need to get there. Stay the course, you got this.
Reflection serves two purposes, first as a check in to make sure you are staying the course and second, to give you a chance to change course if necessary. Simply put, reflecting also allows you to modify and adjust. Maybe you find you are setting your goals to high and need more time, or maybe you find you are really interested in a particular area like data visualization and want to dive into that area further. By reflecting, it gives you a chance to adjust, modify, realign and move forward with the littlest waste of time possible. As Ray Dalio said, “pain plus reflection equals progress.”
Pain + Reflection = Progress
Last but not least, network and find a support system. This could even be a friend or family member, but whoever it is, the key is to tell someone your goal and find people who are interested in achieving a similar goal. None of us can do it alone so finding a support system or mentor will help to accelerate your growth.
I truly believe that if you want something bad enough, know you why, and create a dedicated plan of action, you can achieve your goal. Can’t wait to hear all of your success stories.