August 2019. That was the time I started all this “tech thing”. It was the time I embarked on this journey — one I’m liking so far.
Of course, before that time, I knew I had interest in the field of technology; basically, anything involving computers, machines, electronics, programming, etc. These things really fascinate me.
That month, I started programming. I did all my research on what it is and decided to start learning it. Looking back at that time, it wasn’t really any serious programming. Nonetheless, at the time, that was what it was to me: real fun!
I didn’t have a clear path. I didn’t have an end goal. All I wanted was to learn how to code. I took my PC, went on to YouTube and looked for any tutorial I could find. Initially, I was jumping from one language to the other. Eventually, I settled with python. At this point, I still didn’t know what I wanted to use my skills for after I’ve obtained them.
After learning the basics, I took up any challenging question I could find. I just kept practicing for fun. I almost thought that was all programming was about. I went to the university before I really got to know things better. I didn’t even know what frontend and backend development were until I stepped foot there. You’re probably thinking I’m exaggerating but I’m not.
At this point, I knew I didn’t want to go into Web Development, my initial reason was that most people are doing it. (I do have to say that, as at now, I’m cool with it. Web Dev is also nice.) I found out Machine Learning was also another option with python. Later, I got to know about data science as a whole thing involving machine learning.
I did my research on what machine learning is really about. For those in the situation I was in, Arthur Samuel defined machine learning as the field of study that gives computers the ability to learn without being explicitly programmed.
At this point, I still hadn’t started learning it. I always felt I wasn’t ready. I feared my programming skills were not good enough; that I’d end up flopping. I kept practicing but because of school and procrastination, it wasn’t much of it. I was stuck like this for almost a year. Basically, wasted time, when I look back at it.
During the “covid lockdown” period, I ended up, sort of, starting the machine learning. “Finally”, you’d think. But no. More time was wasted. I don’t even know how it happened. Somehow, I wasn’t feeling the vibe of all this machine learning thing. However, I did enjoy the maths part of it all. That was no surprise to me at all, I knew how much I like the field of mathematics.
It wasn’t long before I had to go back to school. On campus, I mostly get occupied and don’t really have enough time to learn something new from scratch; machine learning, in this case.
After being on campus for 9 months, we finally vacated. During this time, I spent enough time on twitter. I connected with people already in the field. I talked to those who have established themselves in other fields as well. I got insights on how they were able to figure it all out; how it all started for them, just to put it. All these were really helpful. I looked at it all from different points of view.
I’ve decided to take a second look at machine learning. Yes, now “Finally!” Based on my talk with some people, I decided to start with a book: Hands-on Machine Learning with Scikit-Learn, Keras & TensorFlow by Aurelien Geron. So far so good. I’ve enjoyed what I’ve done so far. I do have to say that machine learning is a really interesting one. For me, at least.
My journey wasn’t one of those classic ones. As a matter of fact, I don’t know how to describe it.
The ultimate thing I mean to achieve by sharing this is to say that, it’s normal for everyone to feel he/she isn’t ready to start a new field. But with this thought, you’d never feel ready. The best thing to do is to just start and see how it goes. If you realize that you need to have a certain requirement, then you go brush it up.
We never feel ready. It’s in our nature. For those out there considering machine learning, or any field at all, but feeling they are not ready for the field, my advice is for you to just start it.
As at now, I still don’t know whether machine learning engineer is what my final goal would be. I could even end up going back to the famous web dev, but for now, I’m just going to go along with the ML and see how it goes. What’s the worst that could happen? At least I’d have the skill and experience.