Journey so far as a Machine Learning Engineer
Growing up as a child, I had this strong desire to learn about computers. At a very young age, I took training on Microsoft Word, Excel and Power point (I also played around with Mavis Beacon). My desire for computers grew even more, I started reading about computers and taught myself Microsoft Access and Corel Draw.
After my secondary school, I didn’t apply to study immediately in a university as I wanted to improve my computer skills, so I took an internship. During the course of the internship, I learnt more Corel Draw and a little bit of Photoshop.
After my 6 months internship as a graphics designer, I got admitted to study computer science in University of Benin, Benin City. I was driven by pure passion and I didn’t know what field to specialize in. I prefer experimenting ideas to find out what works and what doesn’t.
In my first year, I learn’t the basic of programming using QBasic. I can still remember my first “Hello World” program in QBasic, I was super elated. It was as if I had developed Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter from scratch.
I want to use this medium to encourage beginners in the fields, don’t despise your humble beginnings, don’t look down on yourself when you see great softwares made by very experienced individuals, let is serve as a means of encouragement and also know, those experienced individuals where once beginners.
I learnt QBasic for about 3 months, I did some research about top programming languages and I was instantly drawn to Python due to its versatility (This means I can explore different things to find out what suits me). I started learning the basics of Python using resources such as books, youtube videos and blogs.
During my 2nd year in school, I dived into web programming. I learnt Django and Flask, it just felt off after sometime. It looked repetitive and boring to me. I wanted something different. Searching for that, I dived into app development, I learnt the basics of Java, C/C++, it was interesting for a while and later on, became quite boring.
Whilst searching, I came across a blog (I can’t remember the name) that exposed me to AI and Machine Learning. I saw that with just few lines of code, I could create a software that would impact a lot of lives and make the world a better place. I quickly googled the requirements and lo and behold, they were hefty.
I didn’t let that discourage me, I started brushing up my math skills along side sharpening my python skills. I took some courses on coursera using financial aid due to limited money. After learning math to a decent level, I started learning numpy, pandas, matplotlib, seaborn using the book “Python for Data Analysis” by Wes McKinney and scikit-learn using the book “Hands-On Machine Learning with Scikit-Learn and TensorFlow- Concepts, Tools, and Techniques to Build Intelligent Systems” by Aurélien Géron.
I started practicing with projects, I first project was on kaggle using titanic data set. I soon realized that I learn quicker when I am working on projects. I rescheduled my learning, 70% project based learning, 20% passive learning and 10% reviewing. I follow a top-down learning approach which has really worked well for me.
I hope to move into the research domain sometime in the future and as of the time of writing this, I am learning MySQL and building my communication skills.