I Underestimated Data Science

I didn’t realise I was going to have to learn Linear Algebra and Calculus for this degree. It was silly of me really to so far underestimate what I would need to learn.

From what I had read online, python or r can do all the work for you, you just need to learn the language and figure out what to use and when.

But the mathematical part is so important to understand really. I didn’t want to believe it was but it’s becoming more and more apparent.

There are a lot of things that I know how to do in Excel, and that I understand really well in Excel. Part of the reason I understand these things so well in Excel is that I have been using it constantly almost every day for at least the last 6 years. The formulas I use are burned into my brain and I know what breaks them and what makes them. I can explain how almost every single one of them works, as long as you don’t ask me about sumproduct.

But knowing how to use and not use formulas isn’t going to cut it for a degree, you have to truly understand what it is that you are doing.

And as it turns out, Calculus and Linear Algebra are REALLY smart ways of doing mathematical things with huge sets of data!

For years I had echoed the sentiment of schoolkids everywhere, what good is maths really when we all have calculators and spreadsheets?

So whilst there are tons of clever programming things that I am learning and will be using as a Data Scientist, the maths is fundamental for success, and I really didn’t understand that before.

I’ve seen posts and articles telling Data Scientists to learn Linear Algebra and I have to agree. It isn’t necessary for DOING Data Science, but it is necessary for UNDERSTANDING.

And I want to be a great Data Scientist!

Now I just need to keep plugging away and get myself to a point where I enjoy the challenge of maths, because right now it’s still pretty painful.

One thought on “I Underestimated Data Science

  1. I am so proud of you and how much you’ve extended your perspective and understanding. You certainly have what it takes to become a great data scientist, I have no doubt. Well done for doing what most people would not have the courage to do – admitting your opinion about something was wrong, changing it, and growing from the experience. I am proud to be your wife.

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