The Beginning: Day 1

Original article can be found here (source): Deep Learning on Medium

#‍50‍00‍0cha‍nces #UdacityTechScholars #PoweredByBertelsmann

The dictionary defines ignorant as
ig·no·rant

lacking knowledge or awareness in general; uneducated or unsophisticated.

Until just a few months ago, I didn’t know anything about A.I. other than the common “buzz” (i.e. I was completely ignorant about A.I.)

What changed? In November, 2019 I received the Phase 1 Bertelsmann Scholarship AI and began perusing a myriad of articles, links, entire online college-level courses in related topics, as well as the course assignments and video content. The most surprising of all was the student slack workspace. The collaboration with the other scholarship recipients was an entirely amazing experience all of its own. Suddenly I went from the ignorant “What is Pandas?” to understanding how to import it into Conda.

Every time we want to learn something new, we always have the first day, the day we begin. So often how we begin makes the difference between establishing a new habit with awe and wonderment, or sinking into procrastination, frustration or other unproductive cycles all too prone as an experience to all of humankind. Today was my first day of the Phase 2 Bertelsmann Scholarship Deep Learning Nanodegree program at Udacity.

How did day 1 go? Amazing! I couldn’t even wait until the official email arrived reminding me to log into the class room. No, just after midnight in my time zone, I used my tablet to open Udacity and was THRILLED to discover the course was already available. I dove right in!

When beginning something new to me, I always like to survey the broad topics first. Thus I began by reading down the list of each broad topic, opening the drop-down menus to see the smaller subtitle topics. Dove right in to the Extra Curricular content and took a look at the outline of the various projects. This is EXCITING!

Even though I had only planned on spending about 30 minutes on the course material, which is my general habit for study sessions, I wound up spending about 2 hours then (and came back later in the day for more!) reading through all of the linked articles (such content!) and viewing the course videos and materials, until I had finished Lesson 1, started on Lesson 2 and enrolled in two new-to-me courses:

Udacity’s online course: Intro to Data Analysis

This Intro to Data Analysis course is recommend within the Deep Learning Nanodegree for those individuals without any prior experience with Numpy Pandas or Matplotlib. Whereas I had some previous experience with Numpy and Pandas in Phase 1, I’m taking the course as review.

Likewise the program also suggests a quick review of Anaconda and Jupyter Notebooks. So I enrolled and got started in that short review course too.

Brief overview of Anaconda and Jupyter Notebooks

Not too shabby for a first day’s effort! Hm?
Interested in trying your own scholarship? Here is the link: https://www.udacity.com/scholarships

A note about Quarantine: Like many areas of the world today, the area I’m living in has an evolving quarantine. There are fines for groups assembling in public. There is an advisory not to go grocery shopping more than once every seven days. Many people are home from work or school, businesses are closed, and those who can are working from home. All of this makes for SLOW internet. I hope the quarantine measures help flatten “the curve” and protect many from more serious illness.

How do you study (or do anything) when a quarantine is on and nearly all of the news is gloomy? Focus. Achieving anything is the outcome of what you focus upon. Thoughts do not achieve anything with out a plan and implementation of that plan. Best wishes to all — hope you are staying safe and healthy!