In 1963, the British comedian Freddie Frinton performed “Dinner for one” on German TV. It has become a tradition in Germany to watch that short piece of comedy on New Year’s Eve, and the question we always ask beforehand is: “Same as last year?”
And that’s my point: Christmas is a time when everyone always looks backwards and forwards, and we do the same thing each year. We always think about the good times from the past year, and those that were not so good. We make plans for the future: To stop smoking, lose weight, do more exercise… possibly even become a superhero (here’s a thought; what would we do the next year if we ever actually achieved all our resolutions?)
We want to optimize ourselves. If we were at the same point in a year’s time, would we be satisfied or proud? Will the next year be more of the same? I for one say no to that. I might be glad that school’s out forever but I believe in life-long learning.New Year's resolution: Lose weight, become superhero or start learning and prepare for the future? #DataScience #sasacademic Click To Tweet
We have now had 23 days of content in our Academic Advent calendar. We have had exciting articles on “employability” from all over the world, showing that there is an increasing need for people with the skills to deal with data. A new generation of data natives is on its way, but remember that handling data is not in our DNA. We are at a point where it is no longer just a matter for universities or companies — the data phenomenon has now spread throughout society. Artificial intelligence is no longer something abstract in a Star Trek Movie. Everyone can buy an Amazon Echo, and have Alexa in their home.
It is, therefore, time to prepare yourself for the future and make some resolutions for 2018! Here’s what I suggest you should consider:
- Watch your mix. Don’t put 10 very heavy things on your list – you won’t change all your bad habits at once. I recommend no more than three difficult items.
- Be easy on yourself. Put some really fun stuff on your list.
- Don’t believe Pink Floyd. It's a great song, but you definitely need education (mind you, it’s fun to practise your air guitar to the song!).
- Review your data science skills and build up your strategy.
- Make time for friends and family too. Maybe invite them over once a month for dinner — and take time to cook it yourself.
- Read job advertisements to get a feel for what kind of employees companies are looking for.
- If you are on holiday, behave like it!
- Register for a mini-MOOC and take your first step into data science (it’s a small step for a student but a giant leap for your career).
- Organise a small hackathon at your university.
- Don’t hug a tree – better to embrace data science.
Go for it, have a lovely time over Christmas and a good start to 2018 – stay tuned!
P.S. Perhaps you would like to add more about what you thought about when making your list? I’d love to know.