Study recommendations and some reflections

Study recommendations and some reflections

Happy Labour Day to all!

I have been “baking” plenty of things lately. Most of them will pay out through blog posts or results that I will show you later on. Be patient!

I am feeling ahead of a curve. I am investing a lot of time in my studies, rewriting of the CV and LinkedIn profile as well as rewriting my projects to upload to GitHub.

I think at the end all the effort and hours are paying out. I did attend to some meetup conferences in my town lately. Some of them were pretty technical but I was able to follow with them along with all the slides and that made me very very happy.

Attending to these last conferences had a side effect on me: I realised that, in my country, Big Data and Data-driven companies are on their first stage. That means that Data Architects are more needed than Data Analysts. This is a pity as I understand that If I want to succeed in this profession, my best opportunities might be abroad.

That was the thought that I had in my head these last days that pushed me to re-write my CV, send to a copy-writer to dress it up a bit, and later on start applying in those countries I can work without the need of a working Visa.

In the meanwhile, I have followed my courses on Python, GitHub and Deep learning. Some of you might think I am a bit slow as I keep naming the same subjects as days pass on. Well, my approach to learning has been changing over the years. From my experience, as regarding studying methods, my recommendation is as follows:

1.- Do not study one subject all straight on time.

If you do, you might become a false learner. What do I mean with “false”? Well, doing that you are just feeding your short memory and not the long memory. Long memory is what we need to be proficient in a subject. Short memory what allows us to pass an exam.

Following this concept, what I do is start with as many courses as I need and do three seem an eternity for my brain.

If you want to learn a bit more about why my approach, search for the Pomodoro Technique for a similar approach to study time learning or do the Learning how to learn course on Coursera, one of the best free courses I have found on this subject.

2.- Track your time.

Once I began doing so many things at the same time and although all are related to the same issue. I realised I needed to balance a bit the time I spent in different subjects. Coding R, Deep Learning, Machine Learning, theory, maths, … I enjoy some of them far away than others. So, I need one side to force myself to spend more time with my unloved-but-necessary ones, and on the other, I need to balance the gap of days between I need to bring my knowledge from being the last in the row to the front line inside my brain.

There are plenty of time trackers on the web, in the form of desktop apps or mobile apps. I use ManicTime because I tend to spend most of my time at home and it allows easily to tag my activities, but if you do a Google search, probably you will find plenty of other choices.

3.- Find your peak time.

While studying at the University I used to wake up around 3 a.m. to study. While studying the Chinese language in China, at 4 a.m. I love studying at first hour in the morning. I have done so, especially if I do need to work all day or go to classes. Now that I am unemployed and have all time to choose I don’t wake up so early, but I am sure I am an early morning person. I can feel my brain is rested and ready to fill it up with new knowledge. After lunch time, I do exercise a bit in my down hours and then, continue studying until the evening.

Find your own time and stick to it. If you see it doesn’t work make changes until you see the time you are spending is effective and enjoyable.

4.- Use different resources to find knowledge

Books, Blogs and webs, Podcast (my favourites for walking around the city), chat with people in the same point as you…. all these things are like shots of knowledge and perfectly manageable over time. You never know who and where will say you something that will “click” your brain.

5.- Exercise yourself.

You need to move up a bit every day. At home, doing the housework, walking outdoors, on the gym… everything counts!

My best source of exercise is walking to any destination around my city. Exercise helps me to balance and to fresh me up.

6.- Sleep.

Resting is necessary. In my case in order to rest more hours I did cut, many years ago, TV or surfing time. Once you are detached to this low usage brain activities, you will never miss them again. TV is like a drug! I do watch shows on my computer and from time to time I enjoy a Netflix marathon, but I can live without it for many days in a row.

7.- Plan your objectives and review them.

The title recommendation explains by itself. Remind yourself why all this effort you are investing on. Which are the main goals? What purpose? Are you doing everything you should /can to achieve these goals?

Stop to think from time to time. Do not lose the perspective that all studying has a major goal at the end. Is it to find a job? so, are you applying to vacancies?