Now that I look back it could have been easier (hindsight 20/20).

But I didn't have any money or connections, so it made things so difficult for me at the beginning. I couldn't go back to college or attend one of those super expensive boot camps that were promising me a job in the field... So it became an uphill emotional rollercoaster...

Let me tell you about how it all started...(and how I managed to get out of my no money/no access conundrum...)

Back in 2013, I am a surgical trainee, but I fall in love with data and artificial intelligence. I read an article that the data and machine learning jobs will be the last jobs replaced by machines. Wow! So I loved something that was going to be very impactful. I should take the plunge and do it. 

It is rare to be alive while such a cosmic shift is happening and I just wanted to be part of this change. So much that I quit my training and dived out of the airplane without a parachute (my family and friends did not approve, to put it mildly). I got serious warning that I was destroying my career. 

That was at least scary....

But the adrenaline of the excitement of following my dream kept me going. But then....

....reality hit me hard. The more I research, the more I fell confused and disappointed. And the reason is that I believe in the most common myths that people were telling me.

--> "You need to know advanced math’s" (I haven't touched math since high school)

--> "You need to have an advanced degree" (I didn't even have a computer science degree, and my coding skills were minimal)

--> "There are dozens of tools you need to learn" (everyone had their favorite 20 tools that would take me years to master)

I was almost out of time (a few months were left in my runaway with any savings that I managed to scrape by that point), and I am ready to call it quits.

But then out of pure coincidence, I met a great mentor that changed my life forever.

Sometimes the universe conspires in weird unexpected ways and gives you the path at your most desperate moment...

This guy is in his early forties with a hoodie and sitting next to me in the coffee shop I was hanging out. He is a senior data scientist in one of the big 5 tech companies in the world.

Out of the blue, he starts a discussion because he was seeing me struggling with what I was doing.

I tell him my story and how I was ready to quit. He took a few seconds (I could see his eyes getting deep into thoughts) and then he tells me:

--"Alex, you got it all wrong here. You are starting from rumors about what you need to learn. Start from the job postings, analyze what they ask for and just develop these skills.”

(light bulb, eureka moment, how haven't I thought about it before? But then my stopping thoughts kept on coming)

--"But Joe, people say that I need an advanced degree (he asked to keep his privacy, so we will call him Joe)”

--"Alex, I have hired dozens of data scientists in the last 10 years. Do you know what I value more, Alex? If they can show me that they can provide value to the company fast. I don't care about academic stuff. Show, don't just tell, show me your portfolio of projects, what you can do, what you have done even on your own time. That's what I am looking for”

--"OMG. But then my math skills are infantile, and my IQ is pretty average, Joe. I was never good at math”

--"Lol, IQ is super over-rated Alex. You know what? Can you count? “

--"Seriously, Joe? “

--"Yeah Alex, can you count? That's all you need. Nobody remembers by heart the math of data science. But what you got to have is a practical intuition of this math. And the only way to develop it is to start playing around and learn.”

—"Never thought about it like that Joe, thanks…”

--"I have to go now Alex, that's my card, keep in touch and DON'T QUIT.”
___________________________

That was the beginning of a friendship with a mentor that changed my life. I did exactly as he said. I looked into what the data science market asks for and learned only these skills.

Then I developed a portfolio of personal projects and was always including those to my CV.

But then reality hit me hard, again…

I started applying for jobs, I applied for 10 jobs and was rejected from all of them…. I needed to talk to Joe about it, I never have gotten so rejected before in my life.

--"Joe, I applied for 10 jobs and got rejected from all of them”.

--Alex, you got to kill your ego, my friend. Applying for jobs is just a numbers game. Do you know the story of the founder that applied for a job in a high-profile company and got rejected? Only to go on and create an awesome company and exit later for a large sum?

--“No, I didn’t know this story, Joe”

--“Alex, let me tell you the numbers you should expect when applying for jobs: Apply for 50 jobs, get invited to 5, get 1 job offer. It happened to me even after 15 years of data science experience. How much do you want it, Alex? You are at crossroads right now. You can always quit, but then you will be regretting it for the rest of your life…”
________________________

Sometimes I wonder what would happen if I didn't follow Joe's advice. I needed a mentor that was telling me the truth and had a straight path to help me achieve my dreams beyond all the myths and my stopping thoughts.
_____________________________________

After 8 years in the data science career, 2 jobs, and 2 startup companies, I decided that I want to do for other people what Joe did for me: Help them to break into data science. I love interacting with people that share the dream and are going through the difficulties like me when I started. It makes me feel grateful for the power of the internet that I can connect with all these people sharing the same dream.

Becoming a data scientist made me the happiest version of myself and lead me to an exciting and lucrative career path beyond what I was imagining when I was just starting.

This is the most satisfying job you could ever imagine. It has prestige and it is highly paid. It is like you supercharge your programming skills with magic!

----

If you want to be part of our awesome community join our course for a price of a Starbucks coffee here: 

https://bit.ly/3s6ThG4 

I promise you it is worth it and if you don't like it just ask for a refund and keep the course! 

Till then take care!

Alex
Kind regards,

Alex Louizos
AI Engineer & AI Solutions Architect
ManXmachina 


Alexandros Louizos, MD
Alexandros Louizos, MD

Alexandros Louizos, MD is a vascular surgeon that left his career in surgery in 2013 to join the artificial intelligence revolution. After working for 2 years as a data scientist he decided to leave the corporate career to start his own company in 2015. He is a 2x entrepreneur of AI-related companies, Galaxy.AI (VC funded with $2.9M), and his latest venture is bootstrapped. He has designed and executed artificial intelligence systems currently in production is Fortune 500 companies. What gives him happiness is helping other dreamers to learn data science.

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