Back 2 The Start…
These last few years have been a constant whirlwind. From leaving my job, to learning how to code, to becoming a freelancer, and moving beyond, I have been constantly learning. And while I have learned to sustain drinking from the fire hose, I realized that I needed to take a step back.
I had reached a point where I was so mired in the what and how I was doing things, that I no longer had a why. Learning how to code is a lot, and if you are like me, you are trying to make the most of each situation. That meant that over the course of the last 3 years, I have worked on existing Rails apps, new Rails apps, Drupal sites, WordPress sites. I have coded in HTML, CSS, Python, Ruby, Rails, SQL and more. I have learned about site infrastructure, unit testing, product management, project manager, user research, community management and straight up coaching.
Don’t get me wrong, I have enjoyed these opportunities. But it seemed that every time I tried to settle down and deeply learn something, either the project or circumstances threw me into something new. Hence, I chased the what and how of my work, and always felt that I was behind.
So by the time I got to summer of 2017, I didn’t know what I wanted anymore. What kind of work did I want to do anyway? I couldn’t make up my mind because there were so many places to go. And that was the problem. I had conditioned myself to think about how to use my opportunities, and stopped thinking about how to seek what I wanted.
It took some time, and then I realized…
I want what I have always wanted.
Back before I quit my job… before I learned web development… I was a data analyst trying to pick up new skills.
Through a series of advancements, I realized that my work and my studies had found a place together in data an analysis. I wanted more, and everything that I read and watch told me that meant truly learning programming.
That was why I did it.
And I found that why still drives me. Therefore, I have decided to focus on data science. I am an anthropologist at heart, and data science means that I get to study big things in a big way. I care about understanding culture and how technology can further serve people. I know that in the end, if you don’t have the people, you don’t have anything.
When I finally made a decision, it wasn’t all that surprising. I have been dabbling in it the whole time, but things had gotten clouded by all the shiny possibilities. It is just that I am now at a point where I can’t move forward without truly knowing what drives me. I don’t know if this is required for everyone, but I suspect that it plays a factor in how satisfied you are with your work.
The second time is a charm. At least it is going to be mine. I am embarking on a bold new path where I will be integrating data science and anthropology and strategy together. I am going to document this for others to see. I know that there have been those who have asked me how to put it all together. My hope is to show them and bring them along with me.