How to go from a fake to a real data/ml scientist?

Axtria DesiLaunda
Jul 12 18 Comments

I am a fake DS - I do some data wrangling in SQL, use sklearn library to just pull up a bunch of regressors() to create a shitty model that makes sense from a business standpoint and present the results. Is this really what ML is?

How do I become a real ML scientist? What skillsets are needed and how can I acquire those?

Insights from real data/ml scientists will be appreciated.

comments

Want to comment? LOG IN or SIGN UP
TOP 18 Comments
  • Credit Karma ckftw
    Get a masters in CS and then go work as a ML engineer. That’s where the interesting “technical” work is these days (the bar is also much lower compared to a research position at top tech companies). You’ll work alongside the experts and then can go from there.
    Jul 12 5
    • Axtria DesiLaunda
      OP
      So it's a 2 years of time investment and a lot of debt. Can I become an ML engineer without a masters in CS, like by just leetcoding? Do online courses help?
      Jul 12
    • Credit Karma ckftw
      Masters in CS is not needed.
      Jul 12
    • Credit Karma ckftw
      Engineering skills are needed.
      Jul 12
    • Axtria DesiLaunda
      OP
      Can you be specific, like what engineering skills?
      Jul 12
    • Credit Karma ckftw
      Most ML engineers are solid backend engineers. Being good at math and familiarity with ML is a bonus.

      If you have the engineering skills to land regular backend swe positions, then you can definitely land ml engineering positions because of your DS background.

      Do you want to build the tools that data scientists plug data into, or do you want to plug data in just like you’re doing today?
      Jul 12
  • Uber / Eng fomo
    To be a real scientist, you need to do research and create new knowledge in machine learning. So, you probably need a PhD to be trained in how to do research.

    If your real wish is to get a “scientist” title at some tech company, that’s another story. But still, most of them have phds
    Jul 12 3
    • Axtria DesiLaunda
      OP
      PhD is a low ROI education. Let me put it this way - what can I do to be able to do meaningful work while also getting paid high? I would prefer something in DS/ML but if PhD is the only real choice there, then I'll be happy to explore alternative roles.
      Jul 12
    • Uber / Eng fomo
      What’s your background?
      Jul 12
    • Axtria DesiLaunda
      OP
      Can I pm you?
      Jul 12
    • Axtria DesiLaunda
      OP
      Do you mean I am a real data scientist, and what I do is exactly what data scientists do?

      Are you a real DS or know some?
      Jul 12
  • Uber john_list
    If you are solving business problems, what is the issue? If you are interested in doing super rigorous machine learning theory I would suggest academia.

    The reality is that for most businesses, it doesn’t really matter if your model is basic. If you are making business decisions based on the results, as long as they are directionally accurate, the decision won’t change based on how optimal your model is.
    Jul 12 1
    • Axtria DesiLaunda
      OP
      True. I face this everyday. The business teams care about numbers that reasonably make sense.

      But I am worried my career would be a dead end in a few years if all I do is some basic data cleaning and model building, and yet don't know ML enough.

      And fake DS get paid really shitty because at the end, we aren't adding much value to an org.
      Jul 12
  • PayPal kingpin6
    DS doing SQL can be highly paid e.g. DS at FB or AirBnB, but still less than SWE.......Side story, I know many data scientists who did advanced stuff but deliver little impact to the businss Usually, they end up blogging about it instead...
    Jul 12 0
  • LinkedIn bVMy63
    +1, you need to get into ML engineering. This is much closer to what you want, more challenging and satisfying.
    Jul 12 1
  • Intel rstib
    Publish papers in ML conferences
    Jul 12 0