Week 4

Week 4 began with Columbus Day. That shortened the week, but some of the cohort – including myself – did come in to do work. The week’s work began in earnest on Tuesday with a dive into Generalized Linear Models and Logistic Regression in particular. In the afternoon Owen Zhang, the top Kaggler in the world, came in to talk to the group. His short presentation left much to be desired but his answers to questions were good enough, I suppose.

Wednesday and Thursday were the most challenging days as we switched to talking about Time Series. The discussion on ARIMA models left me reeling until the concept finally clicked on Thursday afternoon. Another major occurence on Wednesday was the introduction to the first hiring partner. Rob Morgan from Dunnhumby came to speak to the group about how Data Science was being used at his company, and the type of person they were looking to hire.

The precursor to the weekend brought a representative from Dataiku to show us a trial of their software. Over 3 hours the group walked through using the platform to analyze data from the West Nile Virus Kaggle competition and make a submission. It was interesting to see a point and click interface to abstract away some of the more tedious aspects of Data Science. I am not totally sold though.

Week 5 brings a major shift as we move to Python. I’m conflicted. Delight is one of my two emotions. Python is the language I know and love, and I’ve missed coding in it for the past month. The other emotion is disappointment as I won’t be exposed to as much new and exciting material for a while since we’re starting Python from the bottom up as we did with R. Fingers crossed that I learn some new tricks.

Next week also brings another round of project presentations as we show the class what we managed to accomplish with making a Shiny app. (At the time of writing I am fresh from committing my code to the repository.) The stakes have also been upped. We will vote (anonymously) on the 5 best projects, and those will be presented as an upcoming meetup.

Here marks the end of one third of the course. Time flies when you’re having fun.

Written on October 18, 2015