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Update on new year resolutions (with training & reading recommendations)

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One of my mentors used to say:

“Any project / initiative that does not gets tracked, does not happen.”

While this might sound like a strong opinion, it turns out to be true in most cases. So, new year resolutions without a tracking mechanism in place will tend to end up as is!

I plan to regularly update you all on how I am doing on my resolutions for 2014. Hopefully, this will keep me motivated in achieving them and you get my learnings on the way from these posts.

For those who might have missed or have subscribed recently, I took following 4 resolutions at start of this year:

  1. More frequent usage of R and Python in my analytical endeavors
  2. Continue contributing actively in creating a community of analysts (in India)
  3. Re-start reading
  4. 5 kg weight loss

resolutions_2014

You can read more about these resolutions and how do I plan to track them here.

Coming to the important question, how has been the progress on these resolutions? Did I forget them after 1st week of January? 20th of January? or am I still on track to achieve all of these resolutions by end of year?

Well, the true answer lies somewhere in between. While I have not forgot the resolutions, I am still catching up with some of them. Here are the details:

1. More frequent usage of R and Python in my analytical endeavors

Between the two languages, I chose to focus on Python in first half of the year mainly because of 2 reasons:

  1. Higher degree of acquaintance between the two languages
  2. I want to compete on a few competitions on Kaggle this year, which has bigger Python community

So, I now have fully functional Python set up on my laptop. I have used it for doing small pieces of analysis. Additionally, I have registered for a Kaggle competition to construct an optimal portfolio of loans, which I plan to submit on Python.

 

Following are a few training and book recommendations which I used in last month:

2. Continue contributing actively in creating a community of analysts (in India)

January turned out to be best month till date for Analytics Vidhya, both in terms of inputs and outputs. We posted highest number of posts in a Calendar month (9) and saw a 35% growth in traffic over last month. The traffic has grown by 100% in last 4 months.

 

In addition to this, I have joined a couple of meetup groups in Delhi:

  1. Big data meetup
  2. AWS meetup group

 I am hoping to meet a few like-minded people in the coming events.

 

3. Re-start reading

I have managed to take time out for reading. Actually, I have been reading more than 2 hours a week! It feels great to get back to a past habit and it makes my week lot more fulfilling. Here are the books I read this month and my take on them:

  • Big data – A revolution that will transform How we live, work and think by Viktor Mayer & Kenneth Cukier – A book laying out basics about big data. Good if you are completely new to the topic. Don’t expect any technical details in this book. Good, if this is your first book on the matter.
  • The Lean startup by Eric Ries – Currently in middle of reading this. Loved the book till now. The principles laid out in the book apply to any business / start-up from day 0.
  • The everything store: Jeff Bezos and the age of AMAZON by Brad Stone. I respect Jeff Bezos as a leader and admire what he has created Amazon to be. This is the first book which tells so much detail about him and his management style.

 

 

 4. Weight loss – 5 kg

This is the resolution which I have failed to keep up with. Although I have become more active during the day, I have not been able to put an exercise schedule. In addition to this, the sleep has been irregular and there have been days when I binged on junk food in middle of night!

I am hoping that I will catch up on this resolution in coming couple of months and be in good shape by end of year. 

 

How has been your progress on your resolutions? Are you on track for keeping them? Or they are lying somewhere at the back of your mind? What will you bet upon – I will complete my resolutions or I’ll leave them mid-way? Stay tuned for next update (March end)

Also, have you undergone any training / tutorial in last one month or have any reading recommendation to share? If so, please do so with the group.

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2 Comments

  • Shaifali says:

    Hey Kunal

    My resolution for this year is to complete 2 Data Analytic projects; have started working on one and it is the same Kaggle Optimal Portfolio of loans( felt intrigued while reading it above :)). I have joined it about a week ago. ATM I have no idea what I am gonna to do in it further, first time saw such big dataset with 800 features, even I am unable to open whole dataset on my desktop; managed to look it by splitting it into small parts; afterwords I will virtual environment that allow me to work on large data remotely.

    I am in its first phase, took first 100 rows of Train dataset, analysing it using Python and then after completely concluding results from this small part I will move to work on whole data. I will learn how to deal with Curse of Dimensionality, have only heard about curse don’t know its solution. So looking forward to gather more and more knowledge.

    • Kunal Jain says:

      Hi Shaifali,

      Delight to hear that you are progressing well on your resolutions.

      You are right about size of dataset. You might be able to open it on a 64 bit architecture and higher RAM.

      Keep me posted on how you are progressing on the competition.

      Regards,
      Kunal

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