Dealing with Doubt in Data Science (My Impostor Syndrome Story)




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In this video I will talk about my own doubts and insecurities when it comes to the field. I will also give you a look into I was able to leverage these feelings into something positive.

Data science is a field filled with doubt. Not all of the problems we tackle have answers, not all of our models will be successful. I would argue that in truth we fail more than we succeed. This has given rise to impostor syndrome.

Real world data science is almost the opposite of academia. In school most people succeed more than they fail. They are used to getting high marks routinely. They aren’t used to only passing a class half of the time. I think that this conditioning makes it difficult for us to accept failure when it comes more frequently like it does in data science. And Failure can come almost 98% of the time if we are talking about job applications…

Videos and Articles Mentioned
Dunning-Kruger: https://www.businessinsider.com/imposter-syndrome-makes-the-best-employees-feel-like-a-fraud-heres-how-to-embrace-it-2017-5#:~:text=It%20might%20help%20to%20understand,to%20realise%20they’re%20dumb.
My interview with richard: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hJetp07LMrw&ab_channel=RichardOnData
Jeff’s article about landing 7 data science jobs: http://www.jefflichronicles.com/blog/2020/9/26/i-got-7-job-offers-during-the-worst-job-market-in-history-heres-the-data
Richard’s Impostor syndrome Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jw693w7cdxk&t=161s&ab_channel=RichardOnData

Try watching this video next!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jf3j0lWmFPU&ab_channel=KenJee

#DataScience #KenJee #ImpostorSyndrome

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Comment List

  • Ken Jee
    December 11, 2020

    One thing I neglected to mention is that part of impostor syndrome is that you feel like you're going to get "found out". Luckily people usually a lot more wrapped up in their own insecurities than they are in exposing yours! Thanks for watching everyone!

    Videos and Articles Mentioned

    Dunning-Kruger: https://www.businessinsider.com/imposter-syndrome-makes-the-best-employees-feel-like-a-fraud-heres-how-to-embrace-it-2017-5#:~:text=It%20might%20help%20to%20understand,to%20realise%20they're%20dumb.

    My interview with richard: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hJetp07LMrw&ab_channel=RichardOnData

    Jeff's article about landing 7 data science jobs: http://www.jefflichronicles.com/blog/2020/9/26/i-got-7-job-offers-during-the-worst-job-market-in-history-heres-the-data

    Richard's Impostor syndrome Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jw693w7cdxk&t=161s&ab_channel=RichardOnData

    Try watching this next: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jf3j0lWmFPU&ab_channel=KenJee

  • Ken Jee
    December 11, 2020

    Got this video on feed and it was a divine timing .
    Ps: we have same glasses 😂💯✌️

  • Ken Jee
    December 11, 2020

    Thanks for this video. Being rejected during many past interviews led to me having similar feelings of imposter syndrome despite past success.

  • Ken Jee
    December 11, 2020

    I am an SAP Business warehouse developer that uses the SAPs proprietary language ABAP but exposure to coding limited to work exposure. SAP's stock tanked 30% since it missed the cloud bus and it has kind of given me a pinch of diversification. Does it make sense to invest in learning Datascience and switch gears?

  • Ken Jee
    December 11, 2020

    I think it's time for you to create patreon and youtube subscriptions!

  • Ken Jee
    December 11, 2020

    Which data structures would you recommend knowing the ins and outs of for a data science interview as opposed to a software engineering interview? So far I’ve been focusing on arrays and recursion, and eventually want to get into graph algorithms.

  • Ken Jee
    December 11, 2020

    Thomas Edison says: I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work. Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.

    So to anyone who is reading this: keep pressing on!

  • Ken Jee
    December 11, 2020

    I work as a data scientist already, I wanted to know how to get clients on my own to work on data science products, I feel that a lot of middle management don't convey the right idea about data science hence I want to see if I could start my own consultancy on getting projects, I wanted to know how is it possible?

  • Ken Jee
    December 11, 2020

    Loosing, Failures, Doubt just have fun enjoy them…
    It's not atom bomb 💣

  • Ken Jee
    December 11, 2020

    Thanks for bringing awareness to this. You've been such an awesome mentor and educator!!!! We all have those moments, imposter syndrome sucks :/ Keep making awesome videos!!

  • Ken Jee
    December 11, 2020

    Ken, I wouldn't sweat it. I don't see it as you giving me advice (which if I were in your position, I would feel it overwhelming and with a lot of responsibility). The way I see it, it is that by you sharing your life experiences and other people experiences, when you do the interviews, your are providing me with invaluable information. I think, it is MY responsibility to take the information that you provide as an advice or just as interesting information.
    I appreciate all the effort that you put into researching the topic and putting it in an understandable manner.
    By the way, I got the point of your video, that is embraced it and grow with it.
    Thanks for your channel!

  • Ken Jee
    December 11, 2020

    “The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence.”

    ― Charles Bukowski

  • Ken Jee
    December 11, 2020

    I have never seen so long meaningful comments in any YouTube video ever. Seriously Ken Jee you are showing the power of truth and doubt (❔ )

  • Ken Jee
    December 11, 2020

    Great video as usual, smashed it and its not only applicable for data science, I think alot of what you said applies in life. If the smartest man in the world Socrates said "I know that I know nothing" what makes anyone think they know everything.

  • Ken Jee
    December 11, 2020

    You are the lamb bearer in a really Dark tunnel.

    It is upto people to follow your advice or not.

    People like me who follow your advice really admire you.

  • Ken Jee
    December 11, 2020

    bro i wanna give you a hug

  • Ken Jee
    December 11, 2020

    This was a cool video! Thanks

  • Ken Jee
    December 11, 2020

    Man mad respect for opening up on this subject.

    Cheers from Bolivia

  • Ken Jee
    December 11, 2020

    Very power message, thanks!

  • Ken Jee
    December 11, 2020

    I needed that! Thanks for sharing and appreciate all that you do for us!

  • Ken Jee
    December 11, 2020

    I wanted to ask you what framework or editor will be the best to learn Python. I want to start learning this language but I wasn't sure how to do so. I saw some videos using Sublime Text and Django but as a beginner I will like to have this big-small advise.

  • Ken Jee
    December 11, 2020

    This is some grade A motivation for those that doubt theme selves. I’m going into tech, and I doubt myself all the time. As you said it can be useful to allow that to drive myself. Thanks for the video Ken, this was important.

  • Ken Jee
    December 11, 2020

    "We fail more then we success" – so Data Science is like real Science… In Academia you only have high success to failure rate at low levels. Once you get to new and complex things it can get hard. Really hard. And depressing. Of course you can always be that lucky one and get your experiment parameters right in first go. 😉

    I used to be what a lot of people would think of as a "real scientist" (the one that does experiments in a lab coat, in a lab to discover and create new things). A lot of things in Academia is presented as if the success was effortless, nobody is showing the amount of work that went into it, results from failed experiments rarely get published if at all.

    One of my friends also has imposter syndrome (I have different issues 😉 I am always hungry for knowledge and new things and I love solving problems; also I'm unemployed atm so I can't have an imposter syndrome)…

    As for failures – this is a normal part of the process. I don't remember who said it, but it went like this: when you enter the a new uncharted territory, when you try new things nobody did before, everybody is underqualified for the job. I think this is a huge part of what being a Scientist is – you try to do new things, and you fail, and you learn from it and you try again. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Some problems can't get solved at this stage – maybe new tools, theories, new data need to appear first. Sometimes it is too expensive to do what is needed to get a good solution, maybe an approximation can be good enough? I'd like to say that this is why you get paid the big bucks – because it requires certain way of thinking, intelligence and skills to solve problems. To be a Scientist it ain't an easy job in general. Sadly a lot of Scientists are really poorly payed. And a lot of research is conducted in a very bad, unproductive way, but that's an off-topic.

    The job hunt – IMO it is a bit of lottery. And just because someone has amazing credentials doesn't necessarily mean they are amazing themselves. I've worked with people that had PhDs from an university ranked in world's top 25, one of these people came even from a VERY VERY good research group… and they were not living up to the standard I imagined. The best Scientists I worked with came from UK (university outside the country's top 10) and India. Of course good credentials do help you to get a job. That's why you should get them. But also get the understanding of the things you are doing and the knowledge of the subject. A PhD diploma is a proof a person wrote and defended a PhD, it does not make someone a good Scientist. Maybe it should, but these are two different things.

    I also heard words of wisdom that went like these: don't compare yourself to other people, you don't know their full story. Compare the you of yesterday to the you of today.

    I'm off with that – this comment is getting too long. Good video Ken 🙂

  • Ken Jee
    December 11, 2020

    Thank you so much for this video! It resonated so much with me. I usually get these waves of insecurity aka imposter syndrome although it's always lurking in shadows. I have learned to just keep going and try to be honest about what I know and do not know. I have been told that I should be more confident though 😬

  • Ken Jee
    December 11, 2020

    Ken been acting kind of sus. I think he vented! haha great video as always!

  • Ken Jee
    December 11, 2020

    I am just a beginner in this field, still trying to adapt data science and ML and whenever I see my friends around me who are also doing the same thing but almost most of them had already started 6 months prior to me and they're doing so good. I doubt that if I will ever be able to learn all these concepts. 😐

  • Ken Jee
    December 11, 2020

    I'm always doubting of my skills lol

  • Ken Jee
    December 11, 2020

    Thank you Ken, this type of videos – honest talk – really helps! Bests.

  • Ken Jee
    December 11, 2020

    letterly this is what I feel almost in every competitive environment I engage in. Some times I have objective evidence that I am worse than most people like in sport when no one picks me to play in their team. And sometimes in the contrary I think I'm bad but when I see other people's performance I know that I'm not. I think that is because we fail to something called survivorship bias. Most of the people that we see are successful since successful people have more popularity so the sample of people that we are comparing ourselves with is not random.

  • Ken Jee
    December 11, 2020

    Me: "Wow I am seriously unqualified for this position……

    better apply!" 🤡
    Okay but in all seriousness, thank you for your honesty on this one. I think you spoke to what a lot of us are feeling & it's great to know none of us are ever alone on this 🙂
    also…….can we or can we not get a #66DaysofData Among Us game night one of these days?!

  • Ken Jee
    December 11, 2020

    As a beginner, I've had this feeling for the past 6 months, when I look at job offers there is always one or two or plenty of things that I'm not familliar with at all .. but you have made it easier for me to improve myself each day through your videos and tutorials, and hopefully I will land an internship in the next 2 months.

  • Ken Jee
    December 11, 2020

    After 2-3 years experience, I have a strategy for dealing with imposter syndrome. Keep a reading/to-learn list, with techniques, frameworks or anything data science related. As soon as you feel a spell of imposter syndrome coming, learn something asap and don't stop learning until you feel better again

  • Ken Jee
    December 11, 2020

    Thanks for opening up , actually after seeing this video i felt so much better it's like you express the doubts inside my head all this time , and honestly, i believe you are doing a good job, at least there are a lot of things i ve learned through your videos

  • Ken Jee
    December 11, 2020

    Great video and topic Ken! I think everyone feels this to an extent. Super important to be humble and modest, although confidence is key too!

  • Ken Jee
    December 11, 2020

    I really liked how he talked about learning to like this feeling. I think a physical training metaphor here is really apt. When you work out it hurts and is uncomfortable as you train muscles you may not be using very often. One thing many people who work out regularly talk about is how good they feel afterwards, even though their body is in pain. Similarly whenever you learn something it hurts, almost phyically. You can feel your mind straining to try and understand whatever abstract concept your reading about. For some reason we are surpised by this. "Shouldn't this be easier?", "How does anyone understand this", or "The guy in the video I watch made it seem like this was easy to understand". of course we do not see how long they had to sturggle to actually understand the concept. If we go in with the expectiation, this going to hurt but I love that feeling of brain ache after a good reading I think it can help with those feelings a lot. The other issue is time, the feeling that you need to become competent in a short ammount of time sucks. I don't know what to do about that, we are finite creatures after all.

  • Ken Jee
    December 11, 2020

    I feel like in the technology field Impostor Syndrome has just become a consistent feeling a lot of people develop..I remember doing my Bachelor's for CS and constantly feeling inadequate or inferior by comparison to my peers cause I felt like my coding abilities in comparison to theirs were terrible..That got heightened when it came to applying for jobs and getting rejections all throughout college…Ironically the one thing that kind of got me out of my own head when it came to that feeling was Data Science..I found a genuine passion for wanting to do it and that kind of helped me subvert the Imposter Syndrome I felt from coding at least…Now I'm in my first semester of going after my Data Science Masters and I still feel that Impostor Syndrome looking at how qualified my peers are by comparison and questioning my own abilities yet again but also having gone through it the first time around I realize a lot of that is just me being in my own head….similar to how you've embraced it over the years…Thanks for posting about this Ken…You, DataLeap and the Data Professor have become my go to channels to watch ever since I started my Data Science journey 2 months ago and hearing that you feel that level of doubt in your own life even with how much of a great figure you are in the Data Science community is honestly kind of relieving to know……

  • Ken Jee
    December 11, 2020

    This approach to the imposter syndrome is really needed and might be a truly helpful for many. Thank you for this Ken Jee

  • Ken Jee
    December 11, 2020

    I’m new to the field. I feel like I know absolutely nothing, but I’m going into a master of Data Science because I truly want to do AI/ML work. I don’t have a traditional CS background, so this is all scary. When did everyone get comfortable with the AI/ML coding interview and overall interview process?

  • Ken Jee
    December 11, 2020

    I'm glad that you don't use background music anymore 🙏

  • Ken Jee
    December 11, 2020

    Hey Ken, I think this video is important because for the last decade or more, life has been shown through rose tinted glasses and instagram filters. Being real with people is exactly what (I) people need I think, especially in this bogus job market. Thanks. Have a good weekend.

  • Ken Jee
    December 11, 2020

    while imposter syndrome is self-focused, it is inherently comparative — trust yourself and what YOU bring to the table 🙂 everyone is on a journey here, and NO ONE knows it all

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