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Brandon Lau
Brandon Lau

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How I Chose Data Science

I recently began a 15 week program with the Flatiron School with the goal of pursuing a career in data science. With an extremely limited background in programming or anything even tangential this stands to be a long and mind boggling road. So why choose something so seemingly remote from the rest of my experience? Let's take a walk and see... or keep sitting where you are, or don't bother, whatever it's a free country, no judgement.


By financial investment and official certification I am a geologist. Once naively entrenched in the dream of becoming a paleontologist I was all in on being a scientific rock-star. However, toward the end of my undergraduate years I realized academia wasn't for me and on the steps of reality my childhood dream perished like.

dead dreams

I became momentarily lost, unsure of where to go after so many years of a singular goal. But weep not for me my friends, life went on and I soon found new dreams and fresh pursuits. I spent the two years after graduating as a missionary abroad, seeking to bring the opportunity of meaning to others while seeking it myself. A year of this brief whisper in the dark we call life was spent in oil fields of Texas, followed by four years in the wild world of secondary education.

So if you've made it this far you may be asking, "Brandon, what in the name of green bean soup does any of that have to do with data science?" Well my friend, I.... wait a minute, what does any of this have to do with data science?


Oh, right! So as enthralling as this synopsis of my life has been, how did any of that point me in the direction of data? Once I decided to move away from teaching I began to look back on my varied career path to see if there was anything behind me that could help point the way forward. Upon reflection I began to see that through all the different roles I had been in there was one constant: a move toward data driven decision making. As a fairly analytical person with a penchant for puzzles and a proclivity for patterns, coupled with a few suggestions from acquaintances as well as my own explorations, data science seemed like a logical conclusion. The idea of extrapolating and extracting patterns and meaning from apparent nonsense is a fascinating prospect, and I look forward to seeing the full potential of the field. Anything from organizing cladistics in evolution, assessing producibility of a reservoir, to refining methodology and content focus in education, the possibilities are

Anyway, that's all I have to say about that. I guess. Bye.

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