Build a Better Process

What is the Quickest Way to Learn Data Science?

Here is a short overview of our open-ended and open-source journey.
  1. Why Full Stack? - Review what makes this series unique.
  2. Format - Learn the consistent structure.
  3. Data Science - Cover a basic explanation of data science.
  4. Terminal - Run through our Linux system.
  5. Our stack - Review where we are headed with our software stack.
  6. Summary - Capture what this series is all about.
face pic by Paul Alan Davis, CFA
Updated: February 21, 2021
So if you are ready to learn data science, check out the outline and get started. There is so much to learn!

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Learn Data Science Quickly


Video Tutorial

Videos can also be accessed from our Full Stack Playlist 1 on YouTube.

Data Science Tutorials for the Full Stack (4:57)

Code Examples and Video Script

Welcome. Today's question is: what is the quickest way to learn data science?

I'm Paul, and thank you for joining me in 'life beyond the spreadsheet'.

In this tutorial, I'll explain these tutorials so you can evaluate whether they're a good fit for you, and your learning style. Normally, we go right to the text editor or command line, like this guy:

paul@fullstack: ~$ _

But for this tutorial, let's do a six-item orientation instead.

Step 1 - Why Full Stack?

First, why Full Stack? Well, relative to other YouTube content you've seen, I think you will find it more professional, less disjointed and quicker-paced.

They take 10 minutes on something I can cover in 4, but what differentiates it most is the Q&A format and comprehensiveness of the full stack, like you can find at a cloud provider, meaning it's scalable, and those App development dreams are within your reach. Now I have your attention.

Step 2 - Format

Second, for format, we routinely open with a question. All tutorials sit within a Project. Projects span from 5 to 15 tutorials and at a 4 minutes per video, that's 20 minutes to an hour per Project. And here sits a list of tools used during the tutorial.

cal, df, free, lsb_release, echo, ls, wc, whoami, id, ps, top, pwd, exit.

In YouTube's Description area is a link to the Tutorial Outline which provides a tidy clickable link to all videos, because some find that easier than YouTube's navigation.

Step 3 - Data Science

Third, for now, I'll just touch on Data Science, and punt on the definition until the next tutorial, because it can be controversial. Some say Data Science is simply a fancy label slapped on the long-practiced field of Statistics, like calling a used car pre-owned. Unlike doctors and lawyers, data scientists don't need a license to practice, so who is an who isn't a data scientist? Well, I do know millions analyze data, and in my view we all sit on a spectrum.

Beginner Intermediate Advanced

On one end are those confined in a spreadsheet (Beginner), next are those who embrace programming (Intermediate), and finally, at this end (Advanced), we find scholars and developers performing original research and sharing fabulous open-source code for us all to use.

Of course the buzzwords are out there: machine learning, neural networks, big data, and yes, that's where we're headed, together, but let's be realistic, it will take time. We need operating system, database and programming knowledge before we're able to do the fun part, in my mind which is analyzing data.

Okay, let's go to the Terminal.

Step 4 - Terminal

Don't mind me as I poke around on this brand new installation on a local server built exclusively for this playlist.

paul@fullstack:~$ cal January 2017 Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 paul@fullstack:~$ df -h Filesystem Size Used Avail Use% Mounted on /dev/sda2 109G 1.1G 103G 1% / udev 10M 0 10M 0% /dev tmpfs 1.6G 73M 1.5G 5% /run tmpfs 3.9G 0 3.9G 0% /dev/shm tmpfs 5.0M 0 5.0M 0% /run/lock tmpfs 3.9G 0 3.9G 0% /sys/fs/cgroup /dev/sda1 511M 132k 511M 1% /boot/efi

I didn't install a GUI because it eats system resources and it really isn't necessary.

paul@fullstack:~$ free -h total used free shared buffers cached Mem: 7.7G 454M 7.3G 72M 120M 169M -/+ buffers/cache: 165M 7.5G Swap: 7.9G 0B 7.9G paul@fullstack:~$ lsb_release -a No LSB modules are available. Distributor ID: Debian Description: Debian GNU/Linux 8.6 (jessie) Release: 8.6 Codename: jessie paul@fullstack:~$ clear

This is Linux at the command line, and don't be afraid of it, in fact I think eventuallly you will embrace it.

paul@fullstack:~$ echo $PATH /usr/loca/bin:/usr/bin:/bin:/usr/local/games:/usr/games

Think about it for a second. Notice how it isn't buzzing at you, and requiring attention. Notice, not one of those red notification icons, like on your phone, to interrupt your focus.

paul@fullstack:~$ ls /usr/local/bin /usr/bin | wc -l 637

Now, think about the word 'control'. Look at this Terminal and think about who is control. You are. The computer works for you. When you are ready, you'll type something, otherwise it waits for you. Isn't that empowering?

paul@fullstack:~$ id uid=1000(paul) gid=1000(paul) groups=1000(paul),24(cdrom),25(floppy),29(audio), 30(dip),44(video),46(plugdev),108(netdev) paul@fullstack:~$ clear paul@fullstack:~$ ps PID TTY TIME CMD 24263 pts/0 00:00:00 bash 24317 pts/0 00:00:00 ps paul@fullstack:~$ top paul@fullstack:~$ pwd /home/paul paul@fullstack:~$ ls paul@fullstack:~$ exit

Sure the drawback is the time it takes to memorize commands, but think about this, in this short time frame I scoped out system resources, programs and users; monitored processes; and saw an empty working directory ready for us to build something in.

So if you want to head here (Data Scientist), with me, beyond that spreadsheet, it's time to embrace the Full Stack.

Step 5 - Our Stack

Next, while you check out our software stack, which will grow over time, I'll run a summary by you.

Here goes. Full Stack is our open-ended path from the metal to the user experience, using open-source software, where each tutorial represents a question, or a task, and we'll check off one 4-minute task at a time until we complete a project. After that, we'll keep going and going until someone calls you a Data Scientist.


So to completely answer the question, try supplementing your school and day-job experiences, with these tutorials, and if you're ready, let's go on to "What is data science?" in tutorial 2, where I will also cover my background and prerequisites.

Have a nice day.

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