“Thoughts From A..” interview Series provides you with a small glimpse of different career paths and advice on getting there.

Marc, Software Developer & Data Analyst, Los Angeles CA

My name is Marc Manguray, I am a Software Developer and Data Analyst. I’m about to start a Data Analyst job, super exciting! I currently live in Los Angeles, but I’m moving to San Francisco for work and to immerse myself in the magical world of software and tech junkies.

Q1: How did you get to where you are now?

Marc: For a good 6-month sprint after college, I had to push myself to work on projects, read books, and take online classes in order to have the tool base I needed to be competitive in the tech industry (they don’t teach you EVERYTHING in college). Combine that with my entrepreneurial spirit, slightly self-deprecating sense of humor, and a strong emotional net from my family, girlfriend, and friends, I managed to snag a bunch of interviews by the end of December. Heck, this isn’t my final form! I’m hoping to go to get my PhD to become a Data Scientist.

Q2: What inspired you to take on this job?

Marc: Reading “Dataclysm” by Christian Rudder helped me discover the potentials of having access to big data and what our digital actions say about our physical selves. As we transfer more of our time living in the digital realm, our personalities, expressions, and preferences are now more available, allowing us to understand cultures, communities, and lifestyles! I’m so glad that my love of understanding people and the dark hours of hiding in the engineering basement staring at a computer screen devouring pizza and chugging soda finally converged!

Q3: What is one thing about this job that you really enjoy?

Marc: Looking at culture and society through this digital lens is a relatively new field; it’s experimental, it’s scrappy, there’s so many roads not yet built. It’s like when someone gives you a compass and tells you “Go find something cool!” I feel like an explorer!

Q4: What would you say is a minor downfall with this job/career (if any)?

Marc: The pressure and fast-paced environment of a start-up is not for the faint of heart. It’s definitely a scary job especially for a recent grad. But It helps that I’m young, it helps that I’m naïve, and it helps that I have people to talk to whenever I feel overwhelmed.

Q5: What is one thing you would do differently when searching for a job?

Marc: Do internships! My biggest regret was never taking an internship during my college summer breaks. The workplace environment is a whole lot different from university and that transition would be less rocky for me if I did an internship.

Q6: What advice would you give to someone who is interested in this career path?

Marc: “David” started as a giant block of marble. With a vision and his tools, Michelangelo carved a masterpiece chunk-by-chunk. The road to getting started and getting further into Data Analysis and Data Science is overwhelming. It seems like a giant boulder in your way and it takes lessons and tools from many different disciplines to truly be great at it. But take your career chunk-by-chunk, find your tools, have a vision, and never be afraid to ask for help.

Also, here are some great online resources:

  • kaggle.com (So many interesting datasets!)
  • coursera.org (I suggest doing the Data Science Specialization Course and Andrew Ng’s Machine Learning course)
  • blog.yhat.com (Awesome Data Science articles there especially for beginners!)

Fun Reads (Not Textbooks):

  • “Dataclysm: Who We Are (When We Think No One’s Looking)” by Christian Rudder
  • “The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference” by Malcolm Gladwell
  • The Foundation Series by Isaac Asimov (Psychohistory is an interesting concept)

http://www.wzchen.com/data-science-books/ has a list of free data science books. I’m almost halfway through them, some of them are tough reads. Oh well! Chunk-by-chunk!

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