the dating game: finding your passion


Allow me to start off this post by saying that I am happily married and not, in any way, about to start posting about my romantic life. I’m instead referring to the process of deciding what type of job I’d like to have within analytics. Ever since I decided to start applying to analytics Master’s programs, people started asking me what I would like to do with such a degree.

Actually, scratch that. Most people asked me what can be done with an analytics degree *period*, because most people outside the industry don’t really “get” what analytics is (are?). You can tell them it’s mostly Big Data and you’ll get an “ohhhhh” of recognition, but mostly in the way that I go “ohhhhh” and nod in the universal symbol of “I understand, please move on” when someone explains a Game of Thrones reference to me: I actually know nothing about the subject matter but feel shamed into feigning recognition due to its popularity.

As a result, I’ve been talking a decent amount about what can be done with analytics, and a relatively small amount about what I'd like to do with analytics. I have a vague idea that I’m interested in helping make healthcare better, but can’t really narrow it down much more than that. 

One of the beautiful things about our program is that we get exposed to a variety of analytical techniques and their applications, almost as if each topic is a Bachelor on The Dating Game, or as if my fellow students and I are speed dating. Yes, we should be familiar with all of these tools, but I get the sense that we will gravitate toward some techniques more than others, and that this may influence the type of work we will do after graduation. (We’ll see in nine months whether or not this remains true) Some methods seem like they might be a chore to learn and use, while others I find fascinating - and each student’s impressions so far have been a little different. So far, I’m surprisingly interested in clustering and a little wearied by the idea of stab-in-the-dark predictive modeling.

We’re not diving deep into these subjects at the moment, just getting introduced. And with each one I find myself evaluating: “Do I like you, yes or no?”.

Further Reading: When it comes time to do the job search, we’ll find ourselves in a slightly different “dating” situation.