Yet another UPD

Hey everyone whoever might read this.
I last updated more than a year ago and now I’m here for basically the same reason as last time. Namely, to say: it works. I mean open online education, which includes platform MOOCs, peer-learning, interactive platforms like Khan Academy, etc. Combined with the willingness to learn new stuff and apply the new knowledge, it apparently does work.
A year ago, my learning efforts and actual work were still mostly separate. Today, I’m happy to say that they’re not any longer. About a month ago, I first tried myself as an analyst. A very low-level analyst of course, but it’s a huge progress for me. I started applying my coding skills (in Python) to searching and extracting data from a database (both directly and via API). By the way, this is an enormous database of government contracts and procurements managed by a great non-governmental project Clearspending.
Also, I’m currently working on a research of the situation with open data in Russia. Things have change since 2013, when Russian governmental bodies first started to publish their data. So it’s high time we looked at the general picture and tried to describe it. I think we’re going to finish it by February.
There have been no data expeditions recently, although it doesn’t mean that we’re not thinking of renewing this good tradition one day.

Last, but not least, this year I started learning Armenian (սովորում եմ հայերեն), which is an extremely interesting and beautiful language. Last summer in Armenia I got a very nice, although rather old, textbook (until then I had trouble finding some decent learning material). Next challenge will be to find a decent Armenian dictionary (I’ve failed so far).

By the way, here’s a picture of the ancient Eribuni fortress in Yerevan.


Oh, and as usual, I’ve got some nice courses to recommend.

  • MongoDB University is a collection of nice online courses that teach how to use Mongo Database. Most of them are rather practical, so if there’s no need to handle MongoDB right away, they may not be awfully interesting. But if there is such a need, they are great.
  • However, one of those courses, which is published at Udacity, has a wider scope. It teaches the techniques of working with different data formats using Python. Nothing extremely complex, but there are lots of very helpful tips.
  • Also, there’s a nice specialization series by Charles Severance at Coursera. It’s Python again. The first two courses in the series are just basics, but they are followed by two courses on how to work with web data (including API) and databases. Again, rather simple, but nontheless very helpful sometimes.