After a week of pressure, travel, and busyness, it wasn’t until the last night I was in Boston that I had time to meet up with my friend Nik again to talk about everything and wrap up the weekend.
While I was speaking to Nik, I told him I felt a weird sense of disappointment that I didn’t walk away from this conference enlightened and “on fire” for the cause. I thought I would be awe-inspired by the professionals and new project ideas I was presented with and I would have to make a crucial decision choice about my career on whether I wanted to stick with Supply Chain or Sports data analytics (A fight between logic and passion, if you will). Instead, I competed and completed the hackathon better than I expected. I also learned that people who work in sports analytics don’t make more than my average starting engineering salary job does. Most importantly, open source data for professional basketball analytics is not as readily available as other sports like soccer and baseball; therefore to be able to even use new and in-depth data for NBA you would have to work for either ESPN or NBA (basically there’s not a lot of research opportunity and everything that has been done is trite). Long story short, I was not impressed.
Nik told me even though it may feel like I’m back on square one, where I don’t know what I want to do; I can return now to my normal life in a more enlightened state. Enlightened state as in a state where I know my potential, and my abilities better. Also, I’m more well acquainted with my personal learning speed.
Fast forward to the Monday coming back from what seemed like a weekend of eternity. I was unusually wearing a baseball cap that I won at the NBA mixer. That prompted my friend Alex to ask me how my conference went. I considered glossing over what all happened and act like I had all my shit together, but I wasn’t as convincing (to myself) as I thought I could be, and in the end I told Alex about my dilemma and how I would like to continue learning. Not just cliche “life long learner,” learning but learning at the speed that I went when I was preparing for the hackathon. I wanted to keep this momentum of curiosity to improve my mental assets, in a non sports statistics field.
I eventually found out Alex was in the same pickle, he too had his heart and soul poured into a start up project that he learned a lot from, but the amount of work it would take to get his app to the next level was no longer an amount of effort he was willing to put in. In the same way I hit a point where the next step was to take a pay cut to intern for NBA or a sports stats startup, and I was unwilling to make that sacrifice.
Both of us in a previous conversation had touched on how Industrial Engineers always shy away from any coding, and most of our peers have certain coding languages on their resume but they really can’t use the language. Alex and I both wanted to be an exception to this rule, and as a result, Alex introduced me to free data camp. This is a site that will teach people for free how to web design and give people work experience and projects that are low stake (non-profit organizations) so that non-profits/ the world can benefit, and also the person learning can gain experience.
Alex and I have set up a time to meet every Sunday night (usually the time when I blog anyway) to take this new path on. I’m really excited for this learning journey, and this time I have a buddy to keep me accountable.
When one door closes, another door opens.
With that said, this will be one of my last posts completely focused on sports something sports related. (I think I’ll write one about Dirk when he retires in one season next year). However, I plan to still finish reading and reviewing the books I had set out to read in the beginning of the year, but after that all my posts will be more of my logging my personal growth in three areas:
My ultimate goal now, having (by my standard) understood the union of sports and statistics, is to be a triple threat.
- To be the best process/industrial engineer I can be …continue learning lean and optimization principles to the best of my ability; mostly for my future full time job but also to live an organized and efficient life
- To be the best designer of online services I can be…continue learning about web design/ usability on interfaces for opportunities for another source of income outside of my full time job by helping small businesses grow
- To be the best data analytics engineer I can be… continue to sharpen my skill in statistics and coding/parsing information so that I can best diagnose a problem at work /investments/entertainment (like sports)
Look out for changes under the upper tabs for new categories!