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had a performance check-in at work, seems i'm doing pretty okay and they're trying to get more money for me. it was suggested that we wait for something or other, some nonsense, and i suggested they do it now. the manager liked my reasoning, so she'll run it up the flagpole.


I had a thought recently that I might want to go back to school for a PhD in Statistics - I'd probably be interested in predictive analytics and mathematical statistics with a bit of data visualization stuff. I'd have to scramble a little, as I would only have a little more than two months to get recommendations and put together an application. I couldn't get into a terribly awesome place, as my elite undergrad uni is too far in the past for anybody to remember me (and I didn't ask people to write recommendations and file them away) and the shitty place I'm kinda taking classes at right now because work pays for it is full of shitty profs nobody knows. I thought of this because I saw, while poking around stats papers and reading up on R packages that a guy whose work I really liked (Hadley Wickham), turns out to be a recent PhD graduate of Iowa State University, and I thought, well, I could totally get into ISU! It turns out they have a top ~20 stats program, so maybe I couldn't with my current application profile (I was only familiar with their math department, which is "meh", from having taken a few courses there). Anyway, I have a few ideas about where I would apply - mostly "blah" schools that have a decent person who does what I want and are in specific locations - and I might talk to my advisor (at shitty school) to see what he says. The thing is, I'm used to making money, and the wifing unit might have a hard time making money if we move (she has a hard time making money now), and one can't feed two people on a grad student stipend even if you get a good gig in the summer - and there's five years of that. And I like making money.

But this also makes me wish I hadn't gotten rid of some of my old textbooks. Royden would come in handy, not to mention Rudin.

So I'm in the midst of A Dance with Dragons. I still like it. I definitely see some room for critique compared to, say, the first three books, but it's worth reading. We borrowed it from the library and a bird shat upon it while I was reading outside. That is bad.

I'm supposed to play War of the Ring tonight after class, but the guy's wife was in the hospital last night, so maybe we're calling it off.

We might have a project coming through at work that involves actually doing some Real Math (okay, statistics, which isn't real math, it's applied). I'm having my guy go through the hoops with IT to get them to let me install R and whatever packages I might need to do real math. It's free and it's standard, should be easy to trick them into letting me install it. I would also start using it to make graphics for non-"analytics" projects since I find R-scripting easier than having to figure out how to do VBA properly - I'm talking about crunching around with data and generating dozens of images and doing stuff with them. Maybe I can trick work into buying books for me?

Went to dentist yesterday: need to floss more.

Need moar moneys.

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more stuff and things. | 14 comments (14 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
an idiosyncratic opinion by nathan (2.00 / 0) #1 Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 02:29:15 PM EST
Back in my old consulting jorb, my Indian boss remarked that he'd never have bothered getting his Ph.D. if he were American, because the time spent in industry is always more valuable. Granted, he was an IE (imaginary engineer,) but he was onto something: American science (and math, I guess?) Ph.D. programs are in significant part a backdoor in the immigration system rather than, for Americans, a route into either academia or a better-paid job.

This gentleman is much smarter than me and his feelings are similar, so truffles, blind pigs, etc. Here's a corroborating view from an MIT prof/e-millionaire; the linked article at the bottom of the blorg post is also well worth reading. (Greenspun's take on the shortage of women in science is basically that women who are smart enough to become scientists are also generally smart enough - unlike their equally high-IQ male colleagues - to realize that working as a scientist sucks rocks, and they go into medicine, etc. instead.)

well, the possible idea is... by gzt (2.00 / 0) #2 Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 02:49:58 PM EST
...do a couple years until they give me a masters, try to do some cool work in the summers, publish some stuff, and reconsider whether to stick around or jump ship. a lot of the sorts of gigs I'm interested in would be attainable that way and not some other way. So it ends up being 2ish years.

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oh by nathan (2.00 / 0) #5 Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 04:41:46 PM EST
That's fair enough, since you didn't say "I want a Ph.D.," just "I want to get into a Ph.D. program." This may be one of those cases where 2 > 6, if you see what I mean.

I'm sure your better half has considered working as a paralegal or legal secretary, but if she hasn't, she should. Once you have a good record there, it's easy to become indispensable. My firm would much rather fire lawyers than experiences secretaries. Also, there are plenty of quasi-secretarial positions in, for example, docketing, proofreading, document services, etc.

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as an opportunity to explain/help a career change by garlic (2.00 / 0) #11 Wed Oct 26, 2011 at 06:20:35 PM EST
getting a degree is a good idea.


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and I'm not looking for academic work... by gzt (2.00 / 0) #3 Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 02:53:05 PM EST
...after the PhD. There are a lot of industry positions in the field.

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'data scientist' is the new black: by infinitera (2.00 / 0) #4 Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 04:16:19 PM EST
http://www.forbes.com/sites/danwoods/2011/10/24/linkedins-daniel-tunkelang-on-what-is-a-data-scientist/
http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/jobs_for_data_scientists_explode_across_the_market.php

Plus, everyone already thinks R is awesome:

http://www.readwriteweb.com/hack/2011/09/unlocking-big-data-with-r.php

[…] a professional layabout. Which I aspire to be, but am not yet. — CheeseburgerBrown

you never told me where you're doing these classes by the mariner (2.00 / 0) #6 Wed Oct 26, 2011 at 01:21:18 AM EST
but you may be closer to people who can help you out with recommendations than you think.  

a shitty school... by gzt (2.00 / 0) #7 Wed Oct 26, 2011 at 05:27:00 AM EST
...with a handful of stats and finance classes that i am willing to take if i barely spend any money on them because they are right by my office and work pays for most of it (http://www.roosevelt.edu).

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i almost went there for fiddle in 2001 by nathan (2.00 / 0) #8 Wed Oct 26, 2011 at 10:53:21 AM EST
True story.

All the Chicago schools are good for music b/c they have CSO members as faculty.

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yes, their arts programs are good by gzt (2.00 / 0) #9 Wed Oct 26, 2011 at 11:27:55 AM EST
their acting or writing or something like that is also somewhat known. i know somebody who went there for voice. but it isn't exactly a powerhouse for mathematics. shittiness is always context-dependent.

I should be nicer about the school, but, keeping in mind that there's the following objective scale:
shit, suck, good, great (or elite).

And I'm perfectly willing to admit that I'm at the "shit" level for many things I do on a regular basis and am "pretty okay" at doing. However, there are a couple things I only suck at and maybe even one or two I'm good at.

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wasn't disputing its shittiness by nathan (2.00 / 0) #10 Wed Oct 26, 2011 at 05:33:56 PM EST
Most of the best conservatories are attached to shitty schools. It's not clear which direction the causality flows; could you please code something in R to scientifically determine the answer?

[ Parent ]
i'm having trouble pulling together a data set by gzt (2.00 / 0) #13 Thu Oct 27, 2011 at 03:55:03 PM EST
there are actually several different problems we have to tease out:
  1. do good conservatories pop up out of shitty schools?
  2. do shitty schools grow around good conservatories?
  3. do good conservatories degrade the quality of a school until it's shitty?
  4. does a shitty school cause a conservatory to become good?
scientific research needs to be done.

[ Parent ]
pffft, what good are YOU by nathan (2.00 / 0) #14 Thu Oct 27, 2011 at 04:29:18 PM EST
I'll just sue someone till I get an answer. Then I'll constitutionalize the answer and it will be good law even though it's bad science! As they say, "factual innocence is no defence to legal guilt..."

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oic by the mariner (2.00 / 0) #12 Thu Oct 27, 2011 at 01:09:33 AM EST
do not know anything about the place. 

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