In the spring, I decided it was time to understand a little bit more of the mechanics behind the analytics programs I was working on. I decided to learn some python.
I started with a weekend class with the NYC Data Science Academy (which I would highly recommend) and finished up the course with a project on a remittances data set I contributed to a few years ago. It was great to see what I could do with the data I had collected… even if it meant some really late evenings fighting with my computer and ultimately a lot of help from my programmer friends.
I have other friends working through programming classes and inspiring me to keep going with it, even when the going gets rough. Perhaps the funniest/most encouraging is my friend Kyra, who is a fellow informal economic researcher and beginner programmer. She runs a blog called How to Code a Sentence. (Side note: She’s also started this wonderful program called Snail Mail, check it out!)
Since then, I’ve been digging into some programming textbooks, going to more of the General Assembly Python classes, bothering my boyfriend about books that communicate the thinking behind computer algorithms to non-Caltech-Computer-Science-students (he’s working on finding me something), and trying to learn more about the thought processes behind the language.
It fascinates me because it is so different from the way that I think through problem solving and conceptualizing my projects. I am really enjoying developing my tool set, even when it feels clunky and awkward and requires a few hours of me staring at a terminal page trying to understand what is happening.
If you’re looking for an interesting side project, learn to code! I’m having a great time!