Mark Alen, a PhD student at Berkeley summarized these fifteen rule for a data scientists. I think we can all learn from these principles.
1- Do not lie with data and do not bullshit: Be honest and frank about empirical evidences. And most importantly do not lie to yourself with data
2- Build everlasting tools and share them with others: Spend a portion of your daily work building tools that makes someone’s life easier. We are freaking humans, we are supposed to be tool builders!
3- Educate yourself continuously: you are a scientist for Bhudda’s sake. Read hardcore math and stats from graduate level textbooks. Never settle down for shitty explanations of a method that you receive from a coworker in the hallway. Learn fundamentals and you can do magic. Read recent papers, go to conferences, publish, and review papers. There is no shortcut for this.
4- Sharpen your skills: learn one language well so you can be called a pro. Learn other languages good enough to be able to communicate with others. Don’t forget, SQL is like English, it is spoken by every moron on this planet but if you master it you can make beautiful poetry. Learn a compiled language, an interpreted language and R. Or just learn R! It is ugly but it will give you an edge. And fuck Matlab, you are not an undergrad anymore. Learn Unix, even if you use Windows, learn sed and grep and all that. You can do wonders with bash and powershell. If you want, learn how to use Hadoop too but know that it is a crappy system.
5- Know that a data scientist has one purpose in life “Kick ass and amaze people”: Do one thing every day related to this
6- Challenge yourself often, by presenting your work to others. Do not be scared of a few douchebags who might criticize your work. Crush them, If you wanted to be scared of cockroaches you could have not even walked!
7- Be generous with your knowledge and Don’t be afraid to ask questions: some people are insecure about their knowledge and do not share it, forgive them but do not be one of them.
8- Develop some ideas first and then listen to other people’s insights, utilize what they know about the domain but do not restrict yourself to that: If they could solve the problem with what they knew the wouldn’t come to you for a solution.
9- Hang out with people, talk to them, learn how you can be useful in their projects and how their work can benefit your projects
10- Build impressive and interactive user interfaces for your bland codes: Code is our language, let your code shine with a UI.
11- Use visualization efficiently, avoid hard-to-understand graphs: The only purpose of visualization is to make data understandable not confusing
12- Learn about new technologies and strive to understand the fundamentals of classic technologies
13- Over promise and over deliver: this is how genius people work. Do not be scared of proposing creative ideas. Have you heard of “under promise and over deliver?” that’s how shitty cubicle rats work. Don’t be one of them.
14- Stay Creative and Focused: you can win with creativity and focus (caffeine can help here but do not overdo it)
15- Be positive, work hard and if anyone wants to stop you just crush them