I did it!

On December 31st, 2019, my wife, Kara, looked at me and said, “You know, you would like programming.” At the same time, Codecademy was having their New Years sale. I decided to give it a go. After all, I had just had knee surgery a few months prior and was still a little laid up. I needed something to do while Kara took our toddler to the trampoline park on weekends and I had exhausted my supply of video games.

I took a quiz to see what I would like and landed on back-end development with JavaScript. Within a week, I was raving about it to everyone who would listen. I told an old friend of mine that it was like a language and a math puzzle had a baby. She’s a data scientist and had some casual words of advice:

“That’s a good way to look at it. If you start doing data science stuff it starts to feel even more like that.”

More math? Heck, yeah! I switched to the Data Science career path that night. My friend was right. After that, I found myself telling my wife at every step of the way, “I like this module. I think this is my favorite. I could totally do this for a living.”

And so it went, me finding my next favorite thing about data science over and over again, until I got to the OKCupid capstone project. It took a while with a toddler– I felt like I was working two days on and five off–, but I guess that’s what you get when you’re a stay at home mom during a global pandemic. The more work I did, though, the more I wanted to do. In the end, it wound up being a behemoth of a project and I loved it.

What’s more? After all of that work (and the weekend to recharge and celebrate my birthday), returning to my lessons was a breeze. I finished the remainder of the Data Science career track, Natural Language Processing, in an afternoon. When I finished, the website awarded me with this cute certificate of completion.

"codecademy Certificate of Completion, Mary successfully completed the Data Science Career Path. Date of Issuance: 9/28/2020. Founder of CEO with signature

What’s next?

Over the course of the past nine months, I collected a mountain of digital textbooks and video courses. HumbleBundle has filled my Calibre library to the brim with 253 new books, 134 of them about math, physics, coding, data, statistics, and probability. On top of that, I have a slew of Zenva and Manning courses, CompTIA and AWS exam guides, and three months left of my Codecademy subscription. The world is my oyster.

So what will I do now? I really enjoyed both visualization and NLP. My first course of action will be to complete Codecademy’s Learn Natural Language Processing course, which expands upon the NLP modules I completed in the Data Science career path. After that, I see a few immediate options:

Learn to make interactive dashboards for visualizing data Beef up on Bayesian Programming and NLP Learn Tensorflow
Take the following courses on Codecademy:

* Learn HTML
* Learn CSS
* Learn JavaScript
* Learn D3
Read the following ebooks:

* Bayesian Programming by Pierre Bessiere, Emmanuel Mazer, Juan-Manuel Ahuactzin, and Kamel Mekhnacha
* Natural Language Processing for Social Media by Atefeh Farzindar and Diana Inkpen
* Neural Network Methods for Natural Language Processing by Yoav Goldberg
* Natural Language Processing with PyTorch by Delip Rao and Brian McMahon
Take Machine Learning for Mere Mortals through Manning Publications

Now it’s time to build on my knowledge further, complete more projects, and apply to jobs. I’m so proud of what I achieved in such a short period of time and I can’t wait to see where this takes me.