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  • Kat

My Data Science (Part Time Immersive) experience at General Assembly

Much of getting acquainted with a new skill has to do with the quality of the teaching, along with the amount of sheer determination employed by the one being taught. At least, that was all I thought was needed, until I met with countless times when I tried to shore up conviction to self-learn python; only to succumb to the austerity of my own limitations. There was only so much I could decipher on my own. This was unsurprisingly, given that my background was in the social sciences and my basic understanding of coding language were circumscribed by the lack of prior exposure or knowledge of said skill. No longer willing to be at the mercy of my own feeble foundational knowledge, I signed up for a Data Science course on General Assembly.

Dashboard to keep track of our self-paced learning prior to start of the syallabus

It was a fruitful choice made, for what I thought would have a soporific effect (afterall, it IS the big, scary word PYTHON), the classes turned out to be lively, interactive and largely enjoyable; for while most of my course-mates were also first timers in Python language, the self-paced preparatory courses were succinct and sufficed for us to converse on the same wavelength in class. Prior to the start of the data science course, participants were granted access to their foundational Python modules to ensure everyone could keep up to pace once the course started and I found it to be very useful.

Getting past the first few lessons were relatively a breeze, until the second half of the course where the machine-learning aspect came into play. Par to the course, the learning curve gradually became steeper and there were certainly times I was tempted to give up, dispirited. However, the assignments and advice given by the course instructor were useful to keep the motivation high. It was both the appeal of tackling new assignments, and the enthusiasm my course mates displayed during assignment presentation that tethered me closely to the proficiency that the course required. Check out one of my visualizations for my capstone project above!

Of course, there were but a few incidents that hindered me from progressing through the course - one of which was when my internet connection got cut and secondly when the urgency to complete my assignments were beset by the insufficient time I had after work. Thankfully, the course instructor was understanding and allowed for a few days' leniency for submission of our work. It also helped that she would poll the class on their progress and collected feedback about the speed which she was adopting. Furthermore, recommendations for improvement were given after each assignment.

There were a few things which I found myself much cheerily acquainted with through the course: the strange comradery of course mates, the abundant patience of the course instructor, and the comforting syllabus of the curriculum which mirrored much like the familiarity of modules you would find in schools. The only downside was my initial apprehension at the price ($14,650SGD), but in praise of the generous government support given through the TIPP subsidy, the price became much more reasonable ($5,550 SGD) and lowered the barrier of price being an even higher impediment to the learning journey.

General Assembly has a myriad of courses and all in all, I am delighted to have chosen Data Science as a module to study. With my new-found confidence and proficiency of Python and data science, I no longer prevaricate about the lack of Python programming skills when asked. Unastonishingly, confidence to tackle datasets with Python comes as a natural outcome after course completion.

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