Does Data Science Make You Happy?

Maybe you are embarking on a new learning journey into the world of data and its analysis, or you already launched your career in the field. But, how can you make sure that data science is your calling? Indeed, if you feel good in your job, then you are likely on the right path.

By Yulia Lukashina, Technical writer.

© Yulia Lukashina.

I am totally convinced that everyone can be good (and earn good money!) only in the job they like doing. If you are bored by your tasks and have to force yourself every day, you cannot deliver quality results.

But if data science makes you feel warm and light, then you have chosen the right door to open. How do you know it exactly?


You Like to See Your Code Growing


Or your dashboard, your pipeline, or whatever you are building. You feel like an artisan looking at his creation and enjoying its perfection.

You feel happier with every line of code that you have added, bringing you closer to the result. You enjoy typing. You enjoy recalling the functions from your memory effortlessly and fitting them into the processing logic you have outlined before.

You enjoy learning new functions and expanding your “vocabulary.” You feel like a student in a foreign language course that starts to comprehend words that were a mystery before.


You Like to See Your Code Shrinking


A long code is not always a sign of quality. But you love optimizing, too! You enjoy replacing clumsy self-invented functions with existing ones from the packages you have just learned.

Or you even submit a new package to GitHub to let more people use it!
You love the look of an elegant code line that has taken the place of a complicated and unscalable solution. You love going back to what you have written to make it better.


Error Messages Make You Curious


Well, error messages can be very frustrating if you have a deadline to master. But curiosity is always a good sign!

You think,

Wow, my baby talks to me!

and consult a search engine for the meaning. Then you learn a new side of the tool or programming language. You feel happy to consume new knowledge, to get a chance to reach a new level of wisdom.
Yes, error messages make us move on!


You Like Testing New Tools


Even if they are not at all better than the old ones. Even if they are messy and contra-intuitive, you still like learning new data science tools. Just because it makes you feel like a child in a sandbox building a sandcastle that none will live in.

You like to dive into the new tool and catch the logic behind it. You love reverse engineering, and you do not think it is a waste of your time.
Each new tool opens new ways of thinking to you, a new perspective on a new problem, and a new angle on the old analysis method.
And it may add value to your data science CV, too!


You Like Talking About Your Results


You may be a shy person and avoid public speeches or giving presentations in front of a huge audience. But you do not refrain from answering your best friends’ questions about your work. You are proud of your professional field at a semi-conscious level.

You talk about it not because you like talking and impressing, but because your profession is a part of your identity. You can just be yourself and share what you find important.


You Like Explaining Things to Other People


You enjoy seeing comprehension in their faces, the joy of understanding a complex thing that used to be thrilling magic. You love guiding your students or colleagues through setups, answer their questions, and destroy their doubts about their abilities.

You love bringing up new generations of data scientists or at least power users. You get the feeling that more and more people are in your secret data science “clique.”


You Like Creating Structures Out of the Mess


You get raw data, and it does not demonstrate any hint of being systematic. That drives you crazy!

Then, step by step, you do some data cleaning, transform it, and — voilà! — you see clear dimensions, patterns, and possible dependencies. It is like watching from the airplane window when taking off the ground. You were standing near the airport building, but then you gradually get higher and higher and all of a sudden you see the whole city at once!


You Optimize Everything...


...including your weekly visit to a grocery nearby. You have a list, and you have a plan which shelves to go past and in which order. Not that you have too little time, but optimizing a shopping route seems just a natural thing!

OK, this may be a kind of exaggeration. My point was, if you love data science, you keep doing it in your free time.


Concluding Notes


After I have settled inside the two fields that make me feel happy — data science and technical writing — my career started to develop more organically. I stopped fighting for the next nice title. I absorbed new knowledge without thinking about immediate rewards. And this attitude began to pay back, although a bit of patience was indeed required.

When you conclude your day with a good feeling, you’ll be more productive the next morning. When you radiate calm and self-confidence, you can stop worrying about job competition. Companies will hire you for being a rational and secure person: in addition to being an efficient data scientist!

Original. Reposted with permission.