While pondering on my life at 32, close to the end of this PhD thing, searching for jobs and questioning what-the-heck-am-I-doing-now??… I decided to start this blog. “Oh well”, thought I, “I guess it could serve me a couple of purposes”. Indeed, I managed to list a few points of motivation to dedicate some time to this activity now:

  1. A portfolio for my data science projects
  2. A possible recurrent future activity
  3. An useful activity when in need to procrastinate focus my mind on something else
  4. Practicing nonscientific writting and reaching out to the world

Let me further elaborate on each of these points now:

1. A portfolio

When I started looking for jobs and career opportunities related to Data Science, I realized that, when it comes to what I know and can do, I had much to say and little to show. On that matter, a friend once told me that “talking is cheap” and I guess she was right. Setting up an online portfolio then!

I’m gonna start with a rule: I have the intention of being creative in regard to what I publish here, a rule I shall name The Iris-data-free rule. No intended disrespect to Fisher (whom I would really like to write something about, sometime), to whoever uses it to start learning data science or to the datset itself, which is beautiful and extremely useful! It’s more of a self-engagement guideline, a heuristic, to steer myself away from replicating already quite popular examples and spending more time getting ludicrously lost creative with the immense amount of free access data there is out there. I plan, nevertheless, to make use of datasets from popular competitions such as Kaggle and DrivenData, sometimes.

Besides the showcase utility, it will certainly be a learning boost experience. After all, there are few better ways of reinforcing one’s knowledge of a subject than writting it down as if explaining it to somebody else.

2. A secondary activity

It seems that, for many people, blogging is a complementary professional activity. Although I’m skeptic about making money out of it, being just one more supposedly-data-science-blog on the web, it might be a fruitful professional development auxiliary tool, specially for archiving my own knowledge and potentially networking with other students and professionals.

3. Useful knowledge

As an extra, I think blogging might help me not only to fortify my machine learning, statistics and data science knowledge, but also to encourage a bit the practicing of other tools such as web development. And hey, here I am already, practicing HTML, CSS, Jekyll… good job pal!

4. Writing practice

Being a non-native English speaker, properly writing meaningful content is a perpetual, arduous learning process. Even worse for those who, like me, have stuck their feet deep into the mud puddle of technical/scientific writing, where precision and parsimony are highly demanded, to the detriment of creativity, pedagogy and subjective expression. There are just too many things that are better said in non-academic terms and writing a blog might be a good exercise for me in those cases.

The whole data science business, I must confess, would fall short in interest to me if it wasn’t for the possibilities it brings in terms of philosophical contemplations and real world changing potential. That said, I hope I can make something out of this activity along these themes as well.

Well, I’m excited about starting it! And to eventually remind me of this excitement in the future, I’m leaving here the Gilberto Gil’s take on modernity and all this informatized world.