What Problem Are You Trying to Solve, Anyway?

09:00 AM - 09:30 AM on August 17, 2014, Room 702

Alfred Lee

Audience level:
Core Python


If you're changing careers into programming, or especially data science, don't be intimidated by the stars and the experts. You may know more than you think you know.


As an experimental physicist switching careers into data science, my only directly transferable skills seemed to be "creative problem solving" and "troubleshooting". Two and a half years later, I've come to appreciate these. I'd like to talk about a novel method of clustering our users at Paperless Post into behavior profiles using a combination of standard techniques. My arrival at this method drew inspiration from genetics, a fascination with efficient algorithms, and a visualization I saw from the NYTimes. My hope is to convince people, especially newcomers to data science, that you can step away from textbook solutions to standard problems with creativity as a primary resource.