J. Walker Blackston, aspiring data scientist, Designs summer curriculum

Last time we spoke, I was trying to grasp how functions worked, failing miserably to get a web scraper up and running, and suffering from the general malaise of an over-educated mid-20’s male who stares at his phone too much.

Beyond the more existential concerns, I have decided (with the help of my lovely girlfriend) to design a mini summer course of self-study. Thanks to MIT’s open courseware, I will take my series of intros to computation and computer science (with a focus in python), algorithms, and potentially some dedicated software developmennt coursework. While many seem to disagree about the best approach for learning something like programming, I will go with the prevailing wisdom that simpler is better in this regard. Lectures, exams, paper, pencil, and whiteboards- the hard and boring way. I will limit my use of a browser as that can be distracting. This may not directly feed into the didactic goals of my PhD, but it will be important that I sharpen these skills for the eventual job search in data science (if academic epidemiology doesn’t take shape).

By the end of June, I hope to have completed 6.0001 and 6.0002, with the goal of more concrete theoretical understanding of how programs work.

Here goes nothin’

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Walker Blackston
PhD Student in Epidemiology and Biostatistics

I am a first year PhD student in Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Tulane University. My research interests lie at the intersection of epidemiological methods, causal inference, nutrition, and cardiometabolic kidney diseases.