Latest DecisionStats Intern

Congratulations to our latest intern for completing the intensive internship at DecisionStats . See work done by here here-

Her latest blog post tries to use Python to understand police shootings in USA


Previous Interns wrote great Python code and R code

see (Sarah Masud and Farheen)


Anshul Gupta

Cricket Analysis –



Chandan Routray

The first Intern


Some points for future interns at DecisionStats-

  1. We normally dont pay interns anything
  2. 80 % interns drop out or are let go because they cannot keep up with the assignments
  3. Remaining 20% usually learn a lot in the intensive program
  4. Internships are like a free boot camp
  5. No more internships till June 2017 because I am trying to write a book
  6. Some research assistantships might be available in December 2016 to help with some code or Lyx formatting for the former
  7. See my LinkedIn profile for reviews given by the 20% interns who manage to stick around
  8. I usually emphasize writing, polyglot tools (both R, SAS and Python) , logical thinking and concise communication for my interns
  9. I usually treat them as students since I dont work for or in a university. That might change as I try and transition out from business to academic research options for a non Phd


Thanking Yoga

So I made an update on LinkedIn where I am lucky to find 12000 connections to talk about Yoga and get 1100 likes.. Connect with me on LinkedIn here🙂

The post

Screenshot from 2016-06-08 11:54:43

The likes

Screenshot from 2016-06-10 07:24:02

The profile views

Screenshot from 2016-06-10 07:19:25

LOL. Internet works in a strange way. I just wrote it as a thank you note to myself on my 39 birthday.

Related- Inspired by my favourite American hacker




Living with BiPolar Disorder

A close friend of mine recently discovered that she had bipolar disorder. It is a difficult to diagnose disability, and living in India added to both the complexity of diagnosis and treatment. Given the states of high, low, psychotic episodes that bipolar have, in a pseudo conservative society like India brought me to the still humbling fact that more data scientists chase how to make ad clicks better than how to study brain imaging data and more money is spent making Hollywood movies than chasing climate change, Mars, or brain imaging. As the Joker said, everybody loses their mind if one little surprise is given, even to budgeting and funding across the world for healthcare.

Anyways, my friend is back on her feet and doing well with yoga. Yoga can help aid mental disabilities at lower costs, but lol, wait till you have FDA approval for asanas

Which tool to learn for a better data science career

Some questions I get from new data scientists

I like R a lot, so should I work towards being better at just that or should I learn excel and python and sas as well (Like a jack of all master of none)?

I like R so much I wrote two books on it. Then I started writing a book on Python and now I am on writers block.

  1. You need to be good at many things (Python, R, SAS, Excel, SQL)
  2. You need to be really really good at one thing ( I prefer Python, but R or SAS could do. SAS people work in large corporations a lot, R people are more statistically driven, Python people are more Silicon Valley /IT driven. I would go with Python)
  3. You should know how data is stored ( in RDBMS and in NoSQL)
  4. You should know how data is processed (cloud computing, server)
  5. You should know how data is visualized ( GGPLOT, Qlikview, Tableau)
  6. You have a limited time to learn all this and again many choices. So try going for more education and more training!

Is it a thumb rule to know advanced analytics with Excel before actually aiming at R?

There are 8 fingers but two thumbs. Thumb rules are shortcuts. They save time (for instructor to explain). Yes I would learn how to analyze data in a spreadsheet too since a lot of employers use spreadsheets. Spreadsheets ( not juts Excel but OpenOffice and Google Docs) are used more than data science tools in analyzing data. Basic principles remain the same.

If I choose to begin with a job so I can get a feel of the industry and get to know it better they ask for all these tools with?

Of course industry wants people with 2 year work experience. Why should they pay you to learn? So learn skills before you expect jobs.

I found out that internships, kaggle competitions, certifications,case studies could help, but not yet in India is what I’ve come to see.. Is that true sir? Am I judging it wrong?

Wrong judging. Judging itself is wrong. Stop judging 1.2 billion people and millions of sq km.

I know many Meetups in India ( I founded one in New Delhi). Kaggle compeitors are great in Mumbai. Bangalore is great for coneferences. So yes, you are comparing to USA ( not fair, its better here because people just are more disciplined in organizing). if you compare to Pakistan we are better.

Best is to stop asking for help, and just go out and attend. Maybe create a Meetup group yourself ( takes only 10$ a month but again someone has to pay it!). Maybe create a desi meetup. Maybe create a Meetup only for Women. or only for New Comers. Or Ask your online education provider. Stop judging countries. Start volunteering. People like are doing a great job for hackthons in India. Meetups in Bangalore

ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country. more meetups in data science. more hackathons. yup.  that is good enough work to start doing for your country.



What the Internet does for people like me in developing countries

  1. It gives us access to the best of knowledge, teaching, experts for free
  2. It gives us unfettered entertainment- free music in Youtube and TV shows like Game of Thrones instead of waiting years for our government to approve it
  3. It allows us to criticize our leaders on blog,s Facebook, Twitter without getting censored by corrupt politicians and a corrupt media- Government nexus
  4. It allows us to keep in touch via Skype via Facebook to people far way without straining our purse
  5. It allows us to learn a lot without paying a lot

That is just me- an urban citizen in a relatively decent economy. The benefits to underprivileged humans is even more

Understanding Indians and their Politics

I am not speaking of Indian Politicians here. Whatever Rahul Gandhi (or his speechwriter) , the ruling party in the state or the central government has always been a perennial source of bemusement to me, unlike the rest of my fellow Indians who keep fighting wars on Facebook and Social Media. Indeed I am surprised by the complete lack of conversation on politics when I am in North America, and a fellow friend of mine confirmed it, Europeans and Indians do talk more about politics than North Americans. Part of the reason is ideologies are much less pronounced between the extremes of political spectrum and  the general culture is to be polite and avoid controversial debates (which explains lack of politics as a dinner topic in the North American West)

I am speaking of politics as I have seen it practiced in Indian companies, startups and educational institutes. The level of politics is much higher than in USA or Canada, and the rudeness and crudeness is much more. Note I have interacted with people at extremely senior levels  (thanks to my blog and consulting) and junior levels (thanks to my teaching).

Without getting into anecdotal details and impose my projections as the New World Order on you- this is what I feel drives Politics between Ordinary Indians (the ones who never get figured in Newspapers)

  1. Insecurity drives politics- Prosperity and luxury is barely half a generation old. The economic insecurity of success is what drives politics in many institutes and institutions. People think- if someone else succeeds I will not get a slice of the pie. That’s because we all came from a socio-economic status where the pie was so small. How small ? Well when I was a Kid, we had one channel on Television, and there were waiting periods for a car for many years. Telephone was a luxury. Even though new India has many malls, many mobile phones and many luxuries, the trauma of childhood endures and ensures educated Indians use sharp elbows at the workplace to grab a share of the bonus or the pie or the economic success on offering
  2. Mistrust drives politics- Mistrust is driven by the different way Indians treat lying compared to North Americans. What is vilified as lying or cunning is treated as being chalu (smart) or jugaad ( innovative) in dodging questions, giving non-clear answers, or plain untruths. Why give promises you cannot keep. That is the Indian way of doing business. Why do people delay payments for vendors. That is both power politics and part economics. In addition a very slow legal system ensures people reach compromises on their own
  3. Saving Face- A big chunk of energy wasted by Indians is to save face, to avoid saying they failed. Everyone fails and everyone learns from their failures. But few people like to admit to mistakes and failures, and the culture in India is vindictive. Saving face is the number one reason people try to harass other people in workplaces when they are trying to leave. They ignore future relationships for the current need to save Face.
  4. Different Ethics– Some people point out to how people joke in Indian workplaces about women as misogny. That is universal. Men treat women badly in North America and are reigned only by legal system and that society. Some people point to hiring people only along state lines (North India, family members, South Indians, Bengalis, Mallus etc)  as regionalism. Midler forms of that racism exist in the US too. No we just have different ethics here. We treat mediocre old people with respect and treat brilliant young  people with condescension. Protestant ethics are different from the ethics of arguementative Indians

What is the solution? One solution is greater intermingling between people of different countries for Indians to learn about the best way to balance your personal ambitions with your professional needs. I recommend Canadians as the politest people among any country I have seen. Maybe we should invite more Canadians to settle in India rather than the other way around!