You’ve spent months and months cleaning and manipulating data, built extensive and comprehensive machine learning models, explored the most complex of data sets that you could get your hands on and now you want a break from the life of data. Break’s are almost always good for you. They breathe new life into you and serve to generate new ideas in your brain once you’re back. The downside? You almost always have a hard time to get back into the state of flow you were in back when you analysed one new data set every other day.
Recently I was on break from the world of data science thanks to extensive commitments that required a lot of my attention. The aftermath of these commitments was a brief vacation of a week. This put me away from RStudio (My platform of choice) for over two weeks. When I opened RStudio again to analyse a data set for work the task was daunting to say the least. To counter this feeling I did a couple of things to get myself prepped up to get my hands dirty with data again. The following tips are sure to get your revved up and enthusiastic about your data after long break!
1. Do a free online course
Online courses are a great way to get your mind back in the game. They have the obvious benefit of updating your knowledge as well as setting you up to get you back into the world of data. If you’d love to brush up on your programming skills in R and Python as well as other data science skills such as Machine Learning, Data Visualization, Data Cleaning or Statistics – DataCamp is a good place to start! They offer a number of free introductory courses. The first chapter of every course is free. This means you could decide to buy their monthly subscription service if you really like what they have to offer. Here’s a link to DataCamp: https://www.datacamp.com/
Another option is to audit free courses on Coursera. They have a wide array of data science based courses that is sure to get your spirits up about data. Take the “A Crash Course in Data Science” by John Hopkins. It’s a quick and easy course that serves as a great refresher to anyone coming back from a long break. The link to the course is here: https://www.coursera.org/learn/data-science-course
Sometime’s learning something really deep and complex is the right key to getting you excited about Data Science. Udacity has a free course in Deep Learning and it’s a course that will teach you the fundamentals of deep learning to making your very own live camera application using deep learning. Give it a shot! The link to the course is: https://www.udacity.com/course/deep-learning–ud730
2. Take part in a Kaggle competition
No, I am not asking you to take part in the next 100K USD prize money whooper of a contest. Take part in an contest that as an intermediate or easy level of difficulty. These are highlighted by the blue and green lines next to the competition
These competitions are relatively straightforward and easy to do. The time investment is low and seeing yourself rank high with a good score is sure to get your blood boiling!
3. Watch a few TED Talks about data
TED talks are a great way to watch some of the greatest minds in the world of data talk about the significance and role that data plays in the 21st century. They serve as a great source of inspiration and will motivate you into taking action yourself. Some of the best TED talks that have inspired me are listed below
The best stats you’ve ever seen – Hans Rosling
Hans Rosling was a legendary statistician. Watching how he visualizes his data in his video is sure to get you installing ggplot2 or matplotlib.
Philip Evans: How data will transform Business
This talk by Philip Evans will help you draw the light on the role you play as a data scientist in shaping businesses today.
Life is always hard after a long vacation or a break. The truth of the matter is that we can’t do without them. No matter how much we love data we always need a break away from it to rejuvenate our minds. The process of taking a brake is important to avoid burning out. Breaks also serve to fuel idea generation. Below is an info-graphic that you could use to share with your employees and co-workers if they ever need to recover and get back to data after a long break!