New Skills For 2019

New Skills For 2019

It’s January and the start to a new year, what better time is there to commit to learning new skills? I always remember what my grandfather said to me, “the more you learn, the more you earn.” This is true, but it’s also important to realize new skills can broaden your horizon and help you discover paths that resonate deeply within yourself. But before you shove off to chart a new territory, realize that not all skills are important. If it’s something that won’t open a new pathway for you or improve your life, there isn’t much point in doing it. As such, I chose to concentrate on skills that will help me in my career now and in the future. Here are the four books I’ll be reading.

Title: Learning Python by Mark Lutz

Why? I am on a lookout to add a language to my repertoire and chose Python because of its popular use in analytics and promise to automate tasks to help make me more efficient. I first came into contact with it when setting up my Raspberry Pi, where it promotes Python as its educational language. From there I began researching it more and found a neat fit with what I want to do and was encouraged by its reputation for being easier to learn. Since I work a lot with data I can see a lot of uses for this in the future.

I chose this book because its a fairly comprehensive look at the language and at over 1500 pages will take me most of the year to get through. I have already downloaded Python to my laptop and finished my “Hello World” program, but I’ll have to develop a disciplined approach to work through this manual.

Title: Practical Statistics for Data Scientists by Peter and Andrew Bruce

Why? My last bit of training in statistics came when I pursued a degree in Business Informatics so it’s time to reinvest some time into learning it better. Anyone knowledgeable about today’s economy can see the benefit in having a good grounding in statistics and the viability of the skill in the marketplace. In fact, Data Scientists are in demand and that demand is increasing. And why not? Someone has to make use of the hordes of data available and being able to derive powerful insights from it can immediately drive results to the bottom line.

I chose this book because it concentrates on the concepts that shape data analytics the most including regression and predictability. As Machine Learning continues its trajectory to improving the usability of data sets, data professionals will be well positioned to make sense of it all.

Title: Excel 2013 Power Programming with VBA

Why? Excel is where I first made my foray into my current career path many years ago. At the time of me first learning the software, it was the only tool available that could get my job done in a more manageable period of time. I have not had much opportunity in the last few years to flex my VBA muscle but I hope to brush back up on it and put it to use. VBA is the first language I have ever used and will always have a special place in my heart.

I chose this text because it was the most comprehensive one I could find. Yes, I could probably watch YouTube videos and search websites, but having a full listing of Excel’s capabilities so far has taught me much that I didn’t know that could have been useful me in the past. If you are curious why I’m not choosing to concentrate in something like R, I’d agree that Excel’s drawback is its inability to manage large data sets, but as Power Pivoting can show, Excel can still flex some muscle. It is the most the popular business software for a reason.

Title: SQL Cookbook by Anthony Molinaro

Why? I spent a year as a DBA and got a good understanding of SQL, but there is so much opportunity in my current role to flex some muscle with a proper understanding of this language that I wanted to dive deeper into it.

I chose this book because SQL users need a reference guide to solving SQL problems. SQL is one of those tools that allow you to change it on the fly according to your unique needs, and having a single source, without having to Google solutions that may/may not work, is incredibly helpful. If you are brand new to SQL, you can use this book to start playing around in it and then it’s just how far you take it from there.