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Doug Dotts
Doug Dotts

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Failure has the most useful lessons

So I haven't reached my goal for this project

After searching the internet for the symptoms, getting second, third, fourth opinions, and a few sleepless nights, I've been self diagnosed with two very grave conditions: Shiny Object Syndrome and Delusions of Grandeur. Now before you write me off for foolishness, let me explain.

I started this project three months ago with high velocity, blazing through the beginning of my requirements. I was focused on making the baseline functions works, focused on getting the simplest solution, focused on using my newly found pandas superpowers to the max. But then! I hit a roadblock and another and another. As I began searching for solutions and getting guidance from peers of much more intelligence than I, there was a trend. Each had a different solution and a different path forward to achieve my ultimate goal. Each had a convincing argument as to why theirs was the best. Being a man of little coding skills, I listened to each in earnest and went on a different path each time.

I got halfway through Django, a quarter way through Flask, and an eighth of the way through Dash. Learned about Unit Testing and tried to rewrite the code that was perfectly acceptable from scratch. I had a random idea and then decided I needed to connect it to a database but then I needed to learn SQL. After all the detours, I looked up and it was the week before the last project night with the last blog post due in seven days. What did I have to show for two months of effort, the same bit of code from month one separated into different files. Needless to say, I felt quite disappointed in myself. After some reflection, searching the internet for the symptoms, getting second, third, fourth opinions, and a few sleepless nights, I came upon my condition. Every new library excited me as something I could use, every new tool was better than the last, every shiny object caused me to switch my MO.

As soon as I began on this project, I saw all the possibilities! AI, ML, DL, I would revolutionize my company and launch a new product line. I would begin freelancing and make the big bucks. This project would make me a Data Scientist, through and through. My delusions made me skip all the way to production and how folks would interact with it and how I would produce year over year insights bleh bleh. In reality, I still hadn't produced a visualization or improved upon calculations or even reproduced the original calculations I had intended.

The biggest lessons here for me are also the reasons why I haven't made much progress in my pursuit to develop the skillsets I have set out to acquire. I have lacked focus and patience. So I've taken a step back and decided to start at the basics again. I really only learned enough python to be dangerous at the beginning of the project series so I don't a have a strong foundation. I have to keep reminding myself that slow and steady wins the race. There's levels to this and you can't get to level 10 without climbing levels 1-9. All this is really anti-climatic but if I want to get to true mastery of my little slice of the vast pie that is data science then I need to focus on true understanding and a real ability to produce value.

Back to Jupyter Notebooks again.

Top comments (1)

steelwolf180 profile image
Max Ong Zong Bao

Yup, I think you really should focus on thing starting while you executing stuff you start to pick up stuff that fills your knowledge gap.

I did similar things as well while I was starting out by just focusing on Django then React.