S4E15: How to Teach Yourself Data Science With David Venturi

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David Venturi is a former chemical engineer who began pursuing a tech career in 2015 and found a passion in data.

Recently, David used online resources to create a personalized data science master’s program, to help others learn data analysis in a well-structured way.

The program encompasses courses from top institutions including Harvard, MIT, and Stanford, and focuses on topics like machine learning, software engineering, and back-end development.

David also works at Udacity, where he creates and teaches his own courses on data analysis.

Today, we discuss the importance of going for your passions, how he came up with the idea of building a personalized master’s program, how to teach yourself data science, and how to stay positive and disciplined while teaching yourself tech skills.

This episode was transcribed with the help of an AI transcription tool. Please forgive any typos.

Laurence Bradford 0:06
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Laurence Bradford 1:19
In today's episode, I talk with David Venturi, a Content Developer at Udacity, who created a data science master's program using online resources. We talked about working remotely learning to code and staying positive throughout it all. If you enjoy this interview, you might be inspired to learn a new skill. In that case, you should know about Udemy. Udemy is an online marketplace with thousands of courses. They have courses on web development, app design, data science, individual languages like Python and HTML and so on. So if you feel inspired to learn something knew, go to learntocodewith.me/Udemy. That's U-D-E-M-Y. And there you'll find a perfect course for you. Heads up, that is an affiliate link. So if you do buy a course, you'll also be supporting the show at no extra cost to yourself. Thanks in advance. Now, let's get to today's interview. David Venturi. He is a former chemical engineer and data analyst who used online resources to create a personalized data science master's program. The program encompasses courses from top universities, including Harvard, MIT, and Stanford, and focuses on topics like machine learning, software engineering, and back end development. David also works at Udacity where he creates and teaches his own courses on data analysis.

Laurence Bradford 2:57
Hey David, thank you so much for coming on the show.

David Venturi 3:00
Laurence, thanks for having me. Yeah, I'm excited to be here.

Laurence Bradford 3:02
Yeah. I'm really excited to chat with you. So before we get going, I would love to talk about what you were doing before you got into tech. So could you elaborate on that a bit?

David Venturi 3:13
Sure. Yeah. So I'm currently 25. I'll rewind back about 10 years into high school, I was generally interested in math, and science. And that's a natural path, people go into engineering. So I went to engineering. didn't know what I wanted to do, though, never really fell in love with a certain discipline despite majoring in chemical engineering. But throughout that whole time, I'd always been a bit scared by programming. So I kind of hesitated and didn't really get involved into it. And after I graduate from chemical engineering and working for a few years, I eventually decided to create my own data science master's program. We'll get into that more later, I'm sure but that's, that's Kind of where I'm at now, after studying for a bit, I now teach data analysis data science. And that's where we are now.

Laurence Bradford 4:06
So what did you study in university? Sorry if you mentioned that already.

David Venturi 4:09
Yeah. So it was first it was General engineering to just engineering in our first year was just general maths and sciences. And then in second year, you would pick a discipline and I chose chemical engineering.

Laurence Bradford 4:22
Right. Okay. Of course, that makes sense. I mentioned that right in the in the intro there. So after you left University, did you get a job as a chemical engineer or some other kind of related engineer?

David Venturi 4:34
Yeah, so I graduated in 2014. Worked for about 12 months. As it wasn't technically a chemical engineer was more of like an intersection of chemical engineering and some business stuff. But yeah, that 12 months there, and somewhere within those 12 months, that's who I realized I wanted to to pivot and change my careers and get out get out of the major that I decided I wanted to go into when I was probably too young to decide that.

Laurence Bradford 5:00
Yeah, I totally agree with what you're saying. I think when a lot of people go into college, they're not really sure what they want to do, or they have a really clear sense for what they want to do. And then it ends up turning out that that's not what they thought it was all along. So I'm wondering what was that like for you? Like, how did you realize that being a chemical engineer or you know, an engineer relate to that wasn't your true calling?

David Venturi 5:22
Yeah, it's a good question. I feel like it's different for everybody. Mine. So as I was going through my master, or sorry, my undergrad, it was always just kind of like, head down tunnel vision, like work hard. You like science, you like math, this is what you want to do. And I'd never really like thought about what I wanted to do, if that sounds stupid, but I think that's a common experience for lots of people. And after seeing what my career led to, like my major would lead to, for example, I would work next to people that were professional, chemical engineers. And I just, I'd never really truly been exposed to what the data The date was, and I realized that's what I didn't want to do. I didn't even really chemistry that much, which is kind of funny. But yeah, so after realizing what my perhaps, you know, 2030 years would be like, and after realizing I didn't like that, I started exploring and exploring online courses and just trying to look inwards and see what I wanted to do, and, like find your proverbial passion. And yeah, I'm sure we'll get to that a bit later. But that's the story. But how I actually realized it was like, it was very gradual.

Laurence Bradford 6:37
Yeah, I feel like what you study in college and the classes you take and then the real world or as you said, the day to day can be very different. I know that's what I mean. I was in a different industry, but that's basically what happened to me. I thought I knew what I want to do taking classes on a thought I knew it was like then once I got there within like, two months, like actually like a month, I realized, oh my goodness, this is not what I thought I was going to be like at all. I don't want Do this help, I need to change paths. And that's what I ended up doing too. But I'm wondering when you first start taking these online courses and kind of exploring what else was out there? Were you working full time?

David Venturi 7:15
I was Yeah, I was working in Western Canada. In a Yeah, a full time job. That was actually like a really intense full time job. It was like 60 to 70 hours a week because getting worked pretty hard. So yeah, the..

Laurence Bradford 7:31
Yeah, wow. And I know I get this is probably the number one question I get asked. So I definitely want to ask this to you since you were working such an intense job, but how did you find time to take online courses or find these other you know, career options out there and expand your knowledge when you had such a demanding job?

David Venturi 7:48
Yeah, so the answer is, it's basically I didn't, and it was I had to, I had, so I did it. I did but it was just, I couldn't dedicate much time to it, which is unfortunate. But also quick rewind a tiny bit. So as I was working the way that I found online education, it was kind of funny. I actually went, so I was working in Western Canada and San Francisco is just like a short, a short flight to there from tint from Western Canada. And my friend actually had, were just playing to do like a mini vacation down there, I'd go visit them to be playing for a while. And out of nowhere, right when I arrived in San Fran, he mentioned that he got interviewed by this company called Coursera, to be a software engineer. And that was my first introduction to online courses. Like I didn't know that courses can be put online and that you could just study for yourself for mostly free. And yes, that's when I was introduced to the concept of an online course and almost immediately afterwards, that's when I just signed up the weekend. I got back and put in an hour or two, you know, once again, Every couple weeks maybe it was very slow at the beginning, but um, I had to wait for like a low in my, in my work life to actually dive into online courses full time.

Laurence Bradford 9:11
So was there ever a point then where you ended up leaving your full time job to learn full time or to learn online full time?

David Venturi 9:19
Yeah, definitely. So I was working and then it was actually an internship, technically, with a potential recall after I had completed a few more courses. But, yeah, so I quit or not quit, but my internship ended in August. And at that point, I started to learn full time for that ended up being a year and a bit through like 30 or so online courses to make my personal data science Master's. So yeah, I was my full time job for a bit was being a student.

Laurence Bradford 9:54
Nice. And were you still living in Canada then and you were kind of just like taking these courses and then you ended up building your own master's program after that.

David Venturi 10:01
Yeah, exactly. So I actually enrolled in a legitimate University for two weeks at the University of Toronto's one of the computer science program. Initially, I didn't actually know I wanted to do data science but I enrolled in this general programming related discipline because I was interested in it but then after my experience with this online courses, I just there's so many reasons why but it was it was almost a no brainer to drop it but I did enroll in a legit program dropped out to go full time online just living Yeah, live in Canada.

Laurence Bradford 10:38
Got it. So okay, he just mentioned you you didn't know you want to do data science right away. So how did you come across data science and how did you realize that was something that you were interested in and wanted to pursue?

David Venturi 10:50
It's good question. So the the beginning that that net click, then it really realization that I wanted to switch happened in probably about March. 20 so it'd be 2015 now, and then the enrollment in the computer science program happened and like the action is to start that going happened in roughly July. And then over the next from like, let's say, August, September, October, and maybe the November Actually, I was just trying to explore the general computer science class programming realm, which I consider data science to be kind of tangentially related to. But specifically, I took Udacity intro to programming Nanodegree, which is like a sampler of four or five, coding related jobs. So like, I tried to be a front end developer, I tried to be, I guess, like a back end developer kind of thing. And then data scientists and data analysts was one of those roles. And that's, that was like the lead into focusing on data science. But really, it was more of like an introspection thing. One article that was kind of funny. Are you familiar with Mark Manson? He's this?

Laurence Bradford 12:06
Uh, yeah, I actually am. He has no, he has a blog. It's not a tech blog. Is it kind of a personal development? Sort of?

David Venturi 12:13
Yeah, it's like a motivational speaker, talker, writer kind of person. And he has this article called screw finding your passion. And that was like, a very, I remember reading, I was like, Wait a second, this, this makes so much sense. I just want to like read a quick excerpt from it. It was, he said, that the common complaint among a lot of these people is that they need to find their passion. And then there's some profanities and he says, You already found your passion, you're just ignoring it. And that really kind of spoke to me, I realized that what I was doing my whole life in my hobbies, like, with all data related, and despite like picking this discipline, seemingly out of, you know, out of nowhere through this this program is this Udacity interview. Programming Nanodegree it's really, it really wasn't that surprising. I had been doing it my whole life.

Laurence Bradford 13:05
Okay, interesting. So what were some ways then that you were doing data related things in your life like well before this?

David Venturi 13:14
Yeah. So one thing I was super interested in was sports analytics. I really was a big, I loved playing sports grandpa's kid. And I always kind of fell for the numbers, whether it was in baseball, or hockey, or just in general, I found digging into those interesting. And eventually, like, predictive analytics stuff popped up in my Twitter feed. And I started learning that and I didn't realize that was data science, but apparently, it is after, you know, digging into the discipline that I had just learned about that. That was that was the major one.

Laurence Bradford 13:47
Yeah, that's really, it's really interesting. I am. I'm not a big sports person, but I can imagine how, like, detailed you could get with different sports analytics and all the different teams and the stats and all that so that's really cool. Okay, thank you for walking us through like a bit of the timeline and how you ended up then picking to focus on data science. So then, what could you talk a bit a bit more about this data science master's program that you put together, and I was looking at your website and whatnot, it looks like a collection of different courses from, from online, different places online that can amount to a data science master's degree when they're taken together, right?

David Venturi 14:27
Yeah, exactly. So it was a lot of it was spurred out of the fact that I didn't want to pay $30,000 for this legitimate program, that I was like, not in love with every single subject in it. So I want something highly personalizable I wanted, you know, like, seemingly like I already tried online education through Coursera through Udacity. And I knew the product works for me. I could learn online. It was legitimate stuff. And yeah, So there's this website called class central.com that I actually ended up writing for for a bit for about six months before I took this job with Udacity. And they have reviews for almost every online course or every online major online course. So the first thing I did was I broke up data science into kind of exceptions. So data science is a multi disciplinary subject. There's programming, like you said, there's other stuff. There's statistics, there's, there's just tons of stuff I'm trying to, like, do it live here, but I broke down data science into those subjects. And I did that through looking at actual online data science master's programs from places like you know, Stanford, Harvard, Berkeley, and try to mimic those as closely as possible based on the best reviewed courses on class central that's So from the user data, like students will take a course and they'll put like five stars, and they'll put a, like a, like a comment saying, I really like the scores for this reason. And I read through a lot of those reviews and it was a really detailed curriculum. And yeah, it's a big I ended up having this nice, personalized program. Bullet Oh, he's probably 25 to 30 courses. And, and yeah, that was pretty much it.

Laurence Bradford 16:26
Nice. And I have to wonder, I have to ask, okay, so you were kind of like a, you know, chemical engineer, then he switched into programming and you enrolled in a computer science degree at the University. Wasn't there very long taught yourself, though, still online, then you kind of narrowed it down to data science. Then you sort of put together a master's program to learn data science. And you mentioned writing for the website class Central. So I'm starting to see this trend here, right, like more and more all education. And now in present day, you you're a Content Developer for Udacity So essentially, you're helping them create courses that others can take online. How did you then kind of I mean, I still see these common themes of like data science and and you know, and helping others and online education. How did you kind of transition then into creating the data science courses? Actually guess when I say that a lot of it seems like a really natural fit, but from from starting the website and your input into the program, and now you're doing for other people. So it does make sense, but could you just talk about that a bit more?

David Venturi 17:31
Yeah, absolutely. So I share your your question, I asked that question to myself. The it seems obvious in retrospect, but I, I didn't plan to be a teacher. I, I realized that I am good teaching and I like it, like I really like so there's a bit of an informational gap here that we haven't shared yet, but in between creating my online master's program and taking this job Udacity I did write for class center. And like created these, like more thorough data science career guides. So like, instead of my program, I created it with the mind of a non data science fluids, non data science fluent person, but I worked for six months to create this like, you know, like, review vetted like crazy like everyone in the world, or like every data point in the world thinks this is points towards this collection of courses being the best for anyone that wants to start data science online.

David Venturi 18:32
And that's actually how that goes articles. I wrote a series of five or six articles on Free Code camps medium publication, which is like a really popular technical publication on medium. And that's how I got discovered by Udacity. And they actually convinced me that I'd be a good teacher and I wasn't even I didn't think I you know, I didn't want to initially do that. But, after like thinking about it, I didn't hop to Accepting the job right away. But I realized that what I had been doing in, in writing those guys and in writing my own, like program and meant blogging about it, it's kind of like teaching in a way you're, you're expressing your thoughts in a manner that can be digested by the absolute beginner. And adding in some of you asked us like trademark, creative elements, like we can do animations, and we can have these funny little jokes and I just found it really fun. So, to wrap it up, and kind of get back to what your initial thought was. It wasn't clear but like, like seemingly a lot of my past experiences, it became clear over time.

Laurence Bradford 19:49
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Laurence Bradford 21:11
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Laurence Bradford 22:06
Whoo. I love that. I love so much of what you said there. And I have a bunch of questions now that are about you. But also, I think that will really help the listeners and more. So provide them some advice. So first of all, I love that you got discovered by Udacity. from writing online. I know you mentioned the Free Code Camp, medium blog. And I know a lot of the listeners here are aware of that and read it already. I've had a few articles when I was writing more in my free time published there as well maybe like a year or two ago. So that's really exciting. How many articles Did you write on medium? And also, aside from being reached out to by Udacity? Did it did writing online and in front of a larger audience? Did was was there any other professional benefits that you saw come from that?

David Venturi 22:55
Yeah, definitely. That's like it's almost exclusively why I have This amazing opportunity to teach people all over the world currently is because of my writing, I would say it's exclusively because of that. I know like your past guests have expressed similar things, I think last podcast was Alice and or, I guess, depending on when this is released, but people like one of the top recommendations I see now is, is just start a blog and get seen and, and publish your work. And it's, yeah, it definitely worked for me and I've seen it work for a lot other people too.

Laurence Bradford 23:30
Yeah, I always say this too when people ask me but the my own blog and writing on other sites as well has totally helped like my career in many different ways. I think it's like a version of networking for one like you can get to connect with people through your writing who see your posts. And also like with what was your example right, you literally helped to like get a job like you got you got recruited by Udacity a huge awesome, you know, well funded tech company in San Francis. Go to go work for them. Even though that like wasn't your end game when you were you know writing these guys online or maybe maybe it was maybe it was to get recruited. But it sounds like you were you know, you didn't want to be teacher it wasn't exactly what you wanted to do but turns out it is a really good fit. So I think yeah, that you're just like an example of how it goes to show how important and how helpful like writing and putting your work out there can be.

David Venturi 24:23
Yeah, definitely. This is just to speak to the the point whether my goal writing was to get a job, it partially was like I can't can't lie like that. But like a huge reason was to legitimize just like the value of like my end goal was to prove that this program that you can actually learn from online education works and that it's like legitimate. So like blogging about it was a way to get people like to convince people that that was true, not only for myself, but for just other people in the future.

Laurence Bradford 24:54
Yeah. And I'm going to try to word this in a way where I don't confuse myself for you, but it Makes also so much sense that you got discovered then by Udacity. Because what you were writing about was self learning, right? And teaching yourself data science and how to go through a program and different things and different things like that with build your own program. So it makes sense that you attracted a company like Udacity, who's doing that, you know, at a much larger scale, right with like, all these different courses, and a lot of people behind the scenes producing these courses. Yeah, definitely. So when you were writing, before being working at Udacity, you You didn't mention there was some career motivation there, right? Like you want to legitimate legitimatize yourself, you'd get some exposure or things like that, which, you know, totally makes sense. I mean, that was definitely a reason why I, I mean, I still put time into writing and producing content online, right, like just just being prolific and putting things out there I think has a ton of value for your career. But what kind of jobs like were you more interested in before you got approached by Udacity? Did you did you have that in mind?

David Venturi 25:54
Yeah, I was actually in the full process of applying for jobs and I wanted to get technical and I still do, I still want to like, I'm one of the great things about working an education company is you can, like they really promote education. So you can still continue to get more technical and learn and learn more. But I did want to start, like in the prototypical data analyst, position in industry. In Canada, that means usually it's like, like banking related stuff. I do have like an interest in economics and finance. So I was applying for those kind of jobs. But then I realized that, you know, maybe, maybe education is like this common thread that I've always been interested in. And I should stick in this one. And I'm, I'm in love with the industry. And don't plan on switching out of it soon.

Laurence Bradford 26:41
Yeah. And I mean, you're only 25, right? There's a lot of different directions. You could go and you could work in the education industry and do something more related to data science or data analytics, rather than teaching courses about data analytics, but that's still really cool that you know, you get to combine those two things together. So another question I want to ask because I know that Udacity is based in San Francisco. I don't think they have an office in Canada. So I'm going to assume you're working remotely, right?

David Venturi 27:08
That's true. Yep.

Laurence Bradford 27:09

David Venturi 27:09
I think they're, they're based in like Mountain View, technically. And then they have an office in San Francisco. But yeah.

Laurence Bradford 27:12
Okay. Yeah. Cool Mountain View. So what is it like working remotely? Do you enjoy it? Um, I have a lot of listeners that want to work remotely themselves. I know you you got discovered by Udacity so it wasn't like you are applying to remote positions. And that was something maybe specifically you were working or looking for. But you actually talked about that a bit and what your life is like working remotely?

David Venturi 27:36
Yeah, absolutely. So a lot of if you like, if you google remote working a lot of the a lot of the the goals behind it are to like to go travel like go you know, live abroad and, and, and work from these exotic places, but I'm not doing that at all. I'm living near my friends and family and And a lot of the benefits that i i really like are related to, to that. And like, like the common things like there's no commute, you can, you know, wake up and set your own timeline. What one of the, one of the cool things that I like is I'm spacing Eastern time. I'm in there in San Cisco specific time. So I'm three hours ahead. So I hit like a nice quiet morning before like the craziness of the day starts to kick in. But yeah, just the decision in the like you said, I didn't have much of a choice. But there are some, you know, despite the slack being a great tool for communication, like Google Hangouts and Skype and such, you do feel a bit. I don't want to say left out, but there is a little bit of a gap there. And eventually, I do want to, like I don't want to be a remote worker for the rest of my life. But right now, I'm like, really enjoying Benefits. It's I think it's great for short term and very specific circumstances. And I do plan to take advantage of the travel hopefully soon. But yeah, that's that's basically it.

Laurence Bradford 29:11
Nice. Nice. Thank you for sharing that. So you're like an expert for people who are teaching cells tech skills, specifically data related skills, right? Like you taught yourself. You built this program online that other people could use. And now of course, you work for Udacity and major online course company that produces tons of really amazing courses for people to take in or changing people's lives. So what are some like key points of advice that you have for people who are early on in their journey? Maybe they only been trying to learn how to code or some other tech skill for like, a month or two months maybe? What advice do you have for them on how they can reach their goals smarter and hopefully, you know, faster?

David Venturi 29:55
Yeah, so there's, there's two main ones we kind of covered the first one it's just writing. This is Yeah, we covered most of the points there. But I want to bring up one more thing. David Robinson, he's this famous or semi famous that yes, data scientist at Stack Overflow. And he had this blog post that I recently read. And it's advice to aspiring data scientists start a blog. And despite I guess, it's not just for data scientists. I think it applies to any career, whether it's tech related or not. And I know a lot of your listeners are tech related or tech interested people, but just in general, yeah, like, right. That's, that's the number one for me. And then a second one related to like personal development and self learning. It's not so much of like a, like a very, like it's not like a technical practical tip. It's more it's more mental.

David Venturi 30:46
It's, it's staying positive. And like when you're studying online, it sounds kind of like wishy washy, but I found that it was you have like the best set of courses Online compiled whether you're taking from one provider or a bunch of them. Regardless, it's it's really easy to get into your own head when you're learning online. Because you're like, you're setting your own goals. There's, it's, there's not as much feedback from like, professors or like, sometimes even it's hard to get grading online. And it's easy to get discouraged about your progress, like you may be. You may think you're going too slow, or, you know, am I pressuring myself to do enough work not Am I doing not enough work, it's, it's hard to find, like a solid, like mental state when you're learning. And I think that was one of the biggest one of the biggest blockers to, to my progress as an online learner. It was just I was you can get into your own head And in a way, and just like, I found that like staying positive in general, really, just really helped continue your progress and eventually mastered the subject that you wanted to learn.

Laurence Bradford 31:58
So what were some things that You did to help you stay positive when you found yourself, you know, not being so positive and getting frustrated.

David Venturi 32:07
Yeah, it's a lot of it was like taking wins when you when you get them so if you submit a project or you write a blog post just like celebrating that like you would anything in regular education like for example, say you study for a midterm or like study for an exam for like a lot a lot of time. Normally after that the exam is done. Like as long as you don't have another exam that day, the day after you'd go for you know, like a bite to eat or have a drink with friends or you just go celebrate and I think self recognition was important. But also like keeping track of your time. Like the tool that I've used ever since my I started my like online journey it's called toggle to ggl there's like tons of other online are tons of other time trackers but like quantifying your like the work you put in each day, and categorizing yet I found that to be really insightful as well. And that's very apt to given the fact that I was studying data.

Laurence Bradford 33:07
Yeah, I was just thinking that that's, that's funny. I used to, I used to tie myself a lot. And I stopped more recently, um, I think, with the transition into like, a full time job, it became less relevant to me or applicable to me. But I'm curious, like when you were time tracking, because I do love this idea and using toggle and and you said you were categorizing it, like, would you categorize it yourself? Or was this kind of a tool where it told you like, Oh, you spent five hours in Gmail this week, or what have you?

David Venturi 33:37
Yeah, I've never used those. So toggle is all based on just you. You type in what you're doing. And you click Start, and then it just self categorization. So it'd be like, I worked for hours on statistics this week, or whatever day. But yeah, have you have you had experience with the ones that tracked by like app applications?

Laurence Bradford 33:56
Yeah, it's used for different purposes. So that actually Okay, that makes sense. I think I've heard of toggles do like freelancers or contractors ever use it to time work that they do like for clients.

David Venturi 34:06
I, I think so. I, I wasn't explicitly told to do it, but I think that's a common thing. Yeah.

Laurence Bradford 34:11
Okay, cuz I think maybe you've heard it before there. Yeah. So I use Oh, hold on rescue time. Yeah. rescuetime double check the name. I like it. What I mean, what it does is it just emails. I mean, I guess I could log in more and look at where I'm spending time but it emails me at the end of every week, I'm sure you could, you know, just the settings you could do it every day. And it just tells me like where I spent most of my time online or even just apps on my computer so like Slack, or if I'm using like balsamic or sketch which I use sometimes in my job, it'll it'll pick up on those two, but really, for me, it's not very inconsistent. Sometimes the hours I spent on a computer during the week can vary drastically. If I have like a lot going on that week, or if I'm on a vacation or even taking time off another week. The thing that's most like horrifying to me Kind of rambling here but at work we use slack. And the amount of time I spend a week on slack is just like insane to me except I tried it. I try to think there is some of it isn't is productive time because there is some important communication that can happen sometimes through slack. But yeah, it's definitely eye opening to see like what you're in. And surprisingly, for me, I really don't spend a lot of time on social media like that's what I you know, I think when I first got it, like I was gonna try to cut back on but it turned out that it really wasn't that high. For me. It was really like some other things like slack and Gmail, where I spent a lot of time

David Venturi 35:34
That's funny. That's super interesting. The Yeah, I guess, I've just written just click that slack might be a problem for me too. Maybe I should get that app and start tracking.

Laurence Bradford 35:44
Yeah, but for what you're doing, like I liked what the tip was like tracking the time but self identifying what you're doing, like if you're taking a course and then categorizing it, as you mentioned, quantifying it and seeing how much time you spend every day or every week. learning something new. So good. That's really great. Another thing I want to ask you about, we're running low on time. But you know, thanks again for sharing the positive positivity and some of those tips there. Were there any projects that you were building? So I feel like a really common theme when I asked people this question is they mentioned like projects a lot. And I'm not as familiar with data science. Like I could think of a bunch of coding kind of web development projects one can do, but were there any, like data science or data analytics projects that you built while you were learning?

David Venturi 36:31
Yeah, so a lot of the Yeah, absolutely. Projects are super important. Because I was so focused on online courses. A lot of the projects I did were a result of the program I was doing. So like, not sure how familiar you are with Udacity. But they really are, I guess we we really pride ourselves on our like project and our product review process. So I would be submitting like five to six projects per like Nanodegree program. So A lot of those projects came out of there. So it wasn't like these passion projects that I was that you like, for example, one of your past guests thinks of these questions from their personal lives, but it was more of like a instructed project that had to be it had to be that way just because of the I was taking a program. But like one of them that I did, I think the biggest one of the ones that was most popular, also got picked up on medium. And that's probably actually the, the very first thread of getting noticed online was freako camp, they published a survey. I think it's every year every couple of years. And it's how people are learning to code and it's like, categorizes the survey, the survey, participants based on demographic like, General lifestyle choices, what industry they're doing. And because codes like, you know, there's so many different types of jobs with code. And I did like an exploratory data analysis project on that, that I posted on kaggle And then ended up writing about so is like, we can maybe like that in the, like the blog post notes, but there's just a lot of visualizations and like some statistics and like exploratory data analysis. So if people aren't that familiar, it's, it's very, you're very questioning in nature. So it's, it's very apt for a blog post. And yeah, so freako camp pick that up. And that was like my main, my most notable project I'd say that I did during my program other than the series of articles for class central based just categorizing courses in general.

Laurence Bradford 38:37
Yeah, that's really cool, though. And again, like looking at that data published by Free Code Camp and exploring it is also really related to well data and also online education. Right, which is what your, you know, the industry that you're in today, so and I know what survey you're talking about. Yeah, they send out you know, as you already explained it perfectly, but the server they sent out to people you just did that get further analysis on it with a bunch of visualizations. So that's really awesome. Well, David, thank you so much for coming on and for talking about your career and how you got into tech and all the resources that you use and how you ended up where you are today. I think you have a really awesome story, and I really appreciate you sharing it.

David Venturi 39:17
Yeah. Thank you.

Laurence Bradford 39:18
So finally, where can people find you online?

David Venturi 39:21
Yep. So primarily, it's going to be Twitter. My handles venturidv says my last name then DV. I guess the best way would be davidventuri.com, which is currently a story of my online education journey. And like details of my personal data science master's program and, and the reasoning behind each subject within it, but it also has links to my social stuff that might change over time. So I guess that would be the best way davidventuri.com.

Laurence Bradford 39:48
Awesome. Thank you again for coming on.

David Venturi 39:50
Thank you Laurence.

Laurence Bradford 39:57
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Key takeaways:

  • When you’re self-teaching with online resources, it’s easy to get discouraged. Be intentional about staying positive while learning how to code. Celebrate wins when you get them, even small things like publishing a blog post.
  • To stay on track, quantify and categorize your work with a time tracker like Toggl. Don’t just guess how much time you’re putting in.
  • Doing programs like nanodegrees can give you a greater amount of structure than just doing individual courses, a better sense of satisfaction when you complete them, and something to put on your resume/LinkedIn.
  • Start a blog, show your knowledge, and get seen. When you’re switching careers, it serves as a history of your expertise.

Links and mentions from the episode:

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