My Data Story
This site (grantpatience.com) is a personal blog documenting my career to date, skill progression and currently, my data science learning. It is also used to showcase my own personal material in areas of interest or learning. I also tweet about game development or game analysis, Agile and data science on my account at @grant_patience . While you might like to also connect with me on LinkedIn
I may also share some of the best articles I find in my blog and maintain a directory of useful content and articles. I may refer you to my GitHub repository (github.com/patiegm) from time to time for references to code I may have written as part of my learning.
Why Data Science?
TL;DR: It sounds fun, it matches well with my existing skills and interests, It offers an exciting potential for career progression and keep my skills relevant to a fast moving industry
Ever since my parents bought the first family computer in 1993, I’ve been interested in computing. It was a Pentium 100, must have had about 100MB of storage, and a 14k dial up modem (built in!). It seems pitiful now, but this started my life long passion for working on computers, programming, statistics, figures and learning.
I was 10, but I still recall vividly browsing Encarta, playing around in Microsoft Excel and Access, altering scripts and .ini files for strategy games like Command & Conquer: Red Alert, Total Annihilation, Warhammer: Shadow of the Horned Rat and Championship Manager – a genre of game I’d never before experienced on Nintendo. Suddenly I was hooked on code, numbers, statistics and figures!
My studies continued throughout school, where I excelled in Math, graphical design and of course, computing. I had a dilemma when choosing which career path to go down; Architectural design and engineering or computing? Well, there was only one way to work in video games, so naturally I picked the latter!
University was an eye-opener, here was a world of computing and mathematics I had hardly ever heard of, and I found myself having to work hard than I ever had while at school. But this opened a lot of doors, it taught me object oriented programming in Java as well as C, Database design, Unix, User Interface design, Calculus and Algebra, as well as soft skills such as communication, team work and project management. Although challenging, I loved all of it!
Strangely, I found that data and Databases came naturally to me. Something about the logical structure and organisation just seemed to make so much sense. After some failed interviews at some game companies like Codemasters and some startups, I was successful in an application for an analyst role at RBS.
Here starts a decade excelling data development and story telling with data to provide meaningful and interesting information.
Finally, a use for my attention to detail and love of stats and figures!
During this time I became adept at the full spectrum of development in BI/MI, including stakeholder management, requirement elicitation, project management, outstanding data skills covering integration, visualization, mining, discovery, analysis, modelling, SQL & ETL. As well as becoming certified Agile Scrum Master with experience managing Scrum stand up and facilitating Agile ceremonies.
But I started to wonder, where does the next decade take me?
Around 2016, I started hearing more about something called “Data Science”. I read about how Data Science was the “next big thing” in computing. I learned how Data Science was changing the way the world worked. I learned about the Netflix Prize, a contest where people built algorithms which could improve the accuracy of movie recommendations. Already, I was already interacting Data Science in recommendation systems, NLP, AI and of course Data was central to all of it so I felt the relevance.
But this was all advanced stuff carried out by wizards, far beyond my own capability.
Or was it?
During 2017, I followed data scientists on twitter, found some blogs and subscribed to some podcasts. I started to learn and slowly take in what it was to be a data scientist, and came to think that 1) “Hey…! This isn’t so far removed from my skill-set already” and it sounded quite fun, 2) If I could bring some of these skills to my current employment, I could bring some of the benefit to my team and grow myself at the same time, and 3) Data Scientists were being sought after globally, at the biggest organisations.
Surely this was a way to safeguard a career at the top tier of data, at exciting companies like Google, Facebook, Amazon, Rockstar, Nintendo and Sega? The more I understood about Data Science, the more I felt like this was something I could work toward and achieve to a good level of success. I have a strong programming background, a decade of working in Business Intelligence and data analytics. Along with strong interpersonal and management skills.
So here begins the chronicling of my foray into learning Data Science. I will try to keep this website up to date with both my personal progress and things I’ve learned. My aim is to try to communicate back via blogs and tutorials to re-enforce my learning and get feedback. AS well as to maintain a portfolio and body of work that I can refer to that is not purely dependent on my place of work (for obvious protection reasons, I can’t transfer data or code from my place of work!).
I hope you take interest and please, any feedback is very much appreciated.