This is my adventure.
But Can She Count?8 min read
I was at lunch with Kim and our two friends and the check comes. My friend Vicki and I have a running blonde joke that “we don’t do counting.” It’s said as we flip our hair and it’s always good for a few laughs among us especially after a few cocktails. It’s really because I never have my glasses with me so I can’t see the numbers (getting old sucks). I swear there are a few people that really think I can’t count.
Kim gave me a good starting point for researching different tech jobs. I was hoping that being a woman entering tech would be an asset since there is a push to get more women working in the tech field. My first stop was She’s Coding. They are on a mission to close the gender gap in computer science. Although alot of their resources are geared to young girls and women there were websites such as Power To Fly that appeal to working women.
While on the She’s Coding website, I stumbled onto Flatiron School. They have bootcamps for Data Science, Coding and UX/UI Design that promise you can learn to code in as little as twelve weeks. The price was a bit steep for me but they do offer grants for women. I decide I’m not quite ready to make that big of a commitment but they do offer a free Data Science bootcamp prep. That I could do so I bookmarked their website.
Bootcamps are a popular option because they don’t require you to spend two or four years in college getting a degree in computer science. Instead, you fully immerse yourself for 12 to 15 weeks and come out ready to get a job. Like anything else, some are better than others and while cheaper than going back to college, they still aren’t cheap. Since I didn’t have a clear direction yet, I decided to look for some free programs to get started.
Data Science intrigued me because of the problem solving, investigative component. I enjoy doing both research and problem solving and can get lost for hours searching the internet for answers. I also liked that to be a good data scientist you need to be creative and you need to be able to craft your data into a good story that non-tech people can understand. I can relate to that. Plus, the Harvard Business Review called Data Scientist is the sexiest job of the 21st century.
Did you ever think science could be sexy?
The only problem was the math required; Linear Algebra and Statistics. Whoever said that you don’t use Algebra for anything once you’re out of school was apparently misinformed. Math was not my strong point in school; art was. I went to college for art but took Statistics pass/fail one summer on a whim because I thought it would be good to take some business classes. I barely passed, but then again, I barely studied.
The other hurdle was, depending on the source, to get a job as a Data Scientist you need either a computer science or statistics degree plus a masters degree. I have neither, but then there are plenty of stories about people switching careers and going into data science with no programming experience or degree to match. Here is a good post on Springboard on the subject with some great free resources. I like a challenge so I’m not completely scared off just yet. I figured I graduated from college with an art degree and got a job at one of the largest retail stock brokerage firms at the time. I was licensed within six months to sell securities. If I could convince someone to hire me back then certainly I could now, I thought.
After much searching, I settled on three possibilites I could pursue: Data Science, Data Analytics and Data Visualization. If none of them panned out, I figured I could at least sell DAAS (Data As A Service) for a company. I decided to start with an introductory course on Data Science with Cognitive Class. They have alot of classes and they are FREE. Seems easy enough but I know I also need to learn how to program so I chose Python since it’s supposed to be the most in-demand programming language and also the easiest one to learn.
There is one more thing I need to learn; math. As in Linear Algebra and Statistics. It’s going to feel like I’m climbing Mount Everest but this blonde is going to learn how to count!
Are you interested in Data Science or are you a woman working in tech? What are your go to sources for information?