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Ian is a London-based independent Chief Data Scientist who coaches teams, teaches and creates data products. More about Ian here.
Entrepreneurial Geekiness
Ian is a London-based independent Chief Data Scientist who coaches teams, teaches and creates data products.
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Second Successfully Delivering Data Science Projects just over

I ran the second iteration of my Successfully Delivering Data Science Projects course last Friday to this happy group, we had a lovely day and good conversation has continued in the teaching slack over the weekend:

Topics covered included the design and derisking of data projects (not just machine learning), building a project plan, communicating effectively with non-data science stakeholders, cost/benefits analysis, tooling, hiring and the process of actually getting R&D models shipped and supported. The conversation was both similar and nicely different to the Q&A topics that came up in the previous iteration.

I haven’t got a date yet for the next iteration, it’ll be in a couple of months. I may also run something on Software Engineer for Data Scientists and another on Higher Performance Python, possibly I’ll run one on NLP with a colleague. You can sign-up for notifications on my very low-volume mailing list if you’d like to hear when courses become available.

I’m doing research into which other topics might be most pressing in London – I’d be curious to know what you’d like to learn in the next 6 months if a course were run in London. The survey attached has 1 question with 1 choice and there’s no sign-up. There is a second question box to take your email (entirely optional) which will get you a discount code valid for the year.


Ian is a Chief Interim Data Scientist via his Mor Consulting. Sign-up for Data Science tutorials in London and to hear about his data science thoughts and jobs. He lives in London, is walked by his high energy Springer Spaniel and is a consumer of fine coffees.
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On the Delivery of Data Science Projects – talk for Business, Analytics and Data Science meetup

Last night I spoke at Pivigo’s Business, Analytics and Data Science meetup (thanks for having me!). I spoke on the key points that I cover in my public training (Successfully Delivering Data Science Projects) aimed at the meetup’s audience where many folk are earlier on their data science journey.

Audience at Pivigo’s meetup

We covered:

  • Building a Project Specification
  • Improving your coding and project process
  • How your team’s process will improve if you contribute to open source projects rather than just consuming them
  • Python tools that will make your life easier

The slides are linked here. Various folk last night asked me about how they get their first data science job and we had some good conversations. I have a “jobs and thoughts” list with UK-based jobs, if you’re after a role in the UK then you might want to jump on this list (your email is never shared and it is always kept private).


Ian is a Chief Interim Data Scientist via his Mor Consulting. Sign-up for Data Science tutorials in London and to hear about his data science thoughts and jobs. He lives in London, is walked by his high energy Springer Spaniel and is a consumer of fine coffees.
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New public course on Successfully Delivering Data Science Projects for March 1st

On Friday February 1st I ran my first Successfully Delivering Data Science Projects, this is a part of my new plan to give more training this year. This went really well and I got to both teach and learn a lot from my students. We talked through best practice, project design, derisking strategies, communication plans and we tried various new tools that’ll improve workflow. Conversation has continued in our private slack channel (which all attendees get access to).

The next iteration of Successfully Delivering Data Science Projects is online for March 1st, the course has half sold-out already. If you’d like to improve your confidence around the successful delivery of Python data science projects – you’ll want to get a ticket soon. The material I teach is based on years of helping clients from start-ups to corporates to successfully deliver data science projects.

I’m really happy that the discursive format gave room for students to raise their own issues and to add recommendations for tools and books in addition to my own. We continued our conversations in the pub after whilst decompressing – there we got to dig into some of the hard topics (such as mental health, imposter syndrome and running open source projects) in a more relaxed setting.

The topics covered in the next iteration will include:

  • Building a Project Plan that derisks uncertainties and identifies expected deliverables, based on a well-understood problem and data set (but starting from…we don’t know what we have or really what we want!) – you take the project plan template away for use in your own projects
  • Scenarios based on real-world (and sometimes very difficult) experience that have to be solved in small teams
  • Team best practice with practical exercises covering coding standards, code reviews, testing (during R&D and in production) and retrospectives using tools such as nbdime, pandas profiling and discover-feature-relationships – you take away the solutions and a guide to running code reviews to support relentless quality improvements in your team’s solutions
  • Group discussion around the problems everyone faces, to be solved or moved forwards by everyone in the group (the group will have more experience than any single teacher)
  • A slack channel that lives during and after the course for continued support and discussion among the attendees

You’re welcome to get in contact if you have questions. Further announces will be made on my low-volume training email list. I will also link to upcoming courses from my every-two-weeks data scientist jobs and thoughts email list.

 


Ian is a Chief Interim Data Scientist via his Mor Consulting. Sign-up for Data Science tutorials in London and to hear about his data science thoughts and jobs. He lives in London, is walked by his high energy Springer Spaniel and is a consumer of fine coffees.
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“discover feature relationships” – new EDA tool

I’ve built a new Exploratory Data Analysis tool, I used it in a few presentations last year with the code on github and have now (finally) published it to PyPI.

The goal is to quickly check in a DataFrame using machine learning (sklearn’s Random Forests) if any column predicts any other column. I’m interested in the question “what relationships exist in my data” – particularly if I’m working in an unknown domain and on new data. I’ve used this on client projects during the discovery phase to learn more about the sort of questions I should ask a client.

The GitHub Readme includes a screenshot which will give you an idea using the Titanic classification and Boston regression examples.

This is a very light project at the moment, I think the idea has value, I’m very open to feedback.


Ian is a Chief Interim Data Scientist via his Mor Consulting. Sign-up for Data Science tutorials in London and to hear about his data science thoughts and jobs. He lives in London, is walked by his high energy Springer Spaniel and is a consumer of fine coffees.
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Looking back on 2018, looking to 2019

So last year was a damned hard year – ignoring Brexit and other international foolishness, on a personal level (without going in to details) by mid-year I was emotionally wiped out. A collection of health issues between family and friends kept rearing their ugly heads and over time I ran very low of emotionally supportive energy to share. Our not-so-old cat suddenly dying of kidney failure just about topped the year off. Thankfully by Christmas most of the health issues had sorted themselves out, massively reducing their induced stress.

From August to December I worked deliberately at a much lighter level to give myself time to recuperate, that’s paid off well and by Christmas I could consider myself “reasonably back to my old self”. Sometimes it pays to just be kind to ourselves.

This led to the odd situation later in the year when I was given the NumFOCUS Community Service Award – I had to accept it with a bit of a wry grin as I’d already stepped back from many organisational roles in PyDataLondon by this point. The lovely outcome of stepping back was that…nothing really changed for PyDataLondon. I’m immensely proud of the organising team we’ve built, everything just kept ticking along nicely. I’m now back to being more involved and I’m happy to say we’ve got so many suggested talks coming through that we’re scheduled now for a chunk of the year ahead.

The continued growth in our PyDataLondon community (with 8,500+ members – AFAIK we’re the largest data science event in the UK) and the wider PyData community (over 127 international PyData communities) is lovely to see. I helped open the PyDataPrague meetup a few months back and was happy to share some of our lessons from growing our London community.

I’m also very happy to see the PyData conferences experiment with more non-traditional sessions. At PyDataLondon 2018 we’d added a creche and ran sprints and workshops like “making your first open source contribution” and “understanding how git works” to help attendees get more involved in our open source ecosystem. Last year we had art and political hackathons and a woman-focused lunch. At PyDataAmsterdam we ran some similar experiments and I know others were tried at other events. This year I’m looking forward to seeing even more experiments, we’ll certainly run more at PyDataLondon 2019 (July 12-14).

Out of all of this there are a few things I’m particularly proud of:

  • We raised £91,000 for NumFOCUS from our volunteered efforts in PyDataLondon 2018 towards grants and work to support open source
  • We saw the opening of 6 regional PyData events in the UK (by recency: Oxford, Cambridge, Manchester, Edinburgh, Bristol, Cardiff)
  • I got to speak on ways of tackling new data science projects, high performance and how NumFOCUS works at a variety of international events
  • Via the “making your first open source contribution” sessions I ran I helped several groups of people start to contribute on github to Python projects

Whilst 2018 have some tough components, I’m really happy with the positive events that occurred.

Separately from all of this Chris and I have started to shut down ModelInsight after 5 years of collaboration. We only lightly worked on our consultancy in 2017 and we hardly touched it in 2018. The market for the combination of data science and data engineering that we were interested in exploring never grew, we had a lot of fun with our clients but it didn’t feel like we were taking the business anywhere special. Shutting this down was the right call.

I continue with my usual activities under my own name. In a few weeks I run a new course on Successfully Delivering Data Science Projects, I have other training planned, I’ve started to author on-line videos for Pluralsight and I continue to coach teams as Interim Chief Data Scientist whilst my jobs list continues to help companies recruit and folk get new jobs.

I’m also trying a few personal-focus experiments. From Christmas I put in a time limit on my Android for a maximum of 5 minutes daily on Twitter and 10 minutes daily on Reddit. I’ve also blocked The Independent (my preferred news site) in Firefox to reduce my time-wasting habits. I’ve set aside a day for personal development (I have such a pile of interesting math & data science stuff I want to read). Ask me in a few months how this is all turning out.


Ian is a Chief Interim Data Scientist via his Mor Consulting. Sign-up for Data Science tutorials in London and to hear about his data science thoughts and jobs. He lives in London, is walked by his high energy Springer Spaniel and is a consumer of fine coffees.
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