Learning Something New

It has been quite a while since I wrote on my blog and even longer since I had something to consistently write about.

You know how it is, there is only so much time in a day to do things and so many things to do… and work and family have taken priority. But I keep having this ‘itch’ – to stretch a little. Learn something completely new. Something that forces me to grow and play on my computer again just because it fascinates me.

For quite a while now I have been hearing about “Big Data” and “data science”. The idea of taking raw data and looking at it in ways that bring new understanding and knowledge intrigues me.

It reminds me of when I took my GIS class at University. How changing the presentation of data from simple rows and columns and instead placing it “over” a map completely alters how you perceive the data.

I admit, I have been talking a good game up until now, but have not actually done much about it.

So here I am, publicly admitting to the Internet that I am actually going to do something about it.

I will be expecting you to keep me honest about this.

So my plan of action:
1) I have started my paperwork to go back to school for Mathematics. Since my BS is in Computer Information Systems (and not CS) and I remember mostly nothing about mathematics, I have to go all the way back to the beginning (Freshman Algebra) and work my way back up.
* Actionable item: finish my paperwork within 2 weeks so I can be admitted back into school and actually get started.
2) I am currently reading O’Reilly’s “Doing Data Science” by Cathy O’Neil and Rachel Schutt. I at at the end of Chapter 2 and have hit the EDA exercise only to realize I honestly know jack about R.
* Actionable item: Learn at least the fundamentals of R so I can do the simple exercise.
3) Learning the basics of R. Yeah – I luckily bought O’Reilly’s book “Learning R” by Richard Cotton at the same time I bought “Doing Data Science”. Guess I should have started with this book instead.
* Actionable item: to learn the fundamentals of R I will be going through Part 1 of the book. Each chapter in that of course has its own quiz and exercises as well.

I’ll try to keep the blog up to date on how my progress with the books and school go.