How to Find Your Machine Learning Tribe

Looking for a machine learning tribe? When I first started diving deep into machine learning I always felt like I was alone in the endeavor.  I quit my job and spent hours every day at my computer reading countless research papers and pumping out projects like no one’s business. It wasn’t in till seven months into my journey that I finally started talking to people around me about what I was trying to do. This led me to make real progress towards my main goal of becoming a machine learning engineer.

Talking to friends about my goals prompted introductions to their friends and so on in till I was lucky enough to find my first machine learning tribe. A tribe is a group of people who share a common goal as yourself and who offer support and guidance.

There are many advantages of joining a machine learning Tribe, but here are some of the largest:

  • Technical and emotional support. You can’t know everything. A tribe is there for you when you are stuck on a hard problem and need a new perspective.
  • Networking. The more people who know you are seriously pursuing machine learning the better. This can open up opportunities in business and a job search.
  • Ability to take on larger projects. Some projects are just too large to take on by yourself. With a tribe, you can tackle those bigger projects and start learning some serious skills.

Without my first tribe, I would have seriously stunted my development as a Machine Learning engineer. I credit them with a lot of what I have been able to accomplish, but it wasn’t all sunshine and roses. After some time, I started to pick up on some less than ideal aspects of my tribe that was holding me back. The main problem that I discovered was that of tribe mismatch. The mismatch is when your goals and reasons for learning ML do not match up with what the other tribe members want.

I’ve made a list of four machine learning tribes to help you find a tribe that will match you and your needs.

1. Business Tribe

The business tribe is mainly focused on how machine learning is going to change current industries and how it will create new ones. They are executives and managers that don’t necessarily develop the machine learning solutions but often times need to have a cursory understanding of the technologies.

Read: Highly Recommended AI and ML for Business Leaders

I like these tribes because I can get a high-level view of machine learning and its implications

2. Academic Tribe

An academic tribe is often currently studying machine learning at a university or online course. They usually have a lot of time to spend and work on many projects. This tribe is usually made up of undergraduate and graduate students. They are great people to work with if you want to write a research paper.

3. Engineering Tribe

Full-time engineers and programmers who see ways that machine learning can help change their companies and products for the better. They spend time on the weekends and nights learning the craft. They like to use proven technology and don’t want to waste time on theory.

4. Data Tribe

A data tribe usually consists of data scientists and analysts that have been using traditional machine learning technologies for a long time and have a great track recorded of bringing value. Having come from a data background they are often great to talk to at the beginning of projects when you are scoping out data sources and possible applications

Read: Understanding Machine Learning Data Types

Also read: Top 3 Feature Selection Strategies 

While there are some challenges to being part of and finding a machine learning tribe, it can also be a very rewarding experience. Without my current tribes, I would not be as good of a machine learning engineer as I am now.

Wondering how to break into machine learning? Check out my series on Becoming a Machine learning engineer: 5 Steps

What is your perfect machine learning tribe? Have you come across any other tribes that don’t fit the above? Let me know in the comments section below. 

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