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STEM on FIRE - Jeff Nigh 10th March 2019
79: Data Scientist at Facebook – Don’t be afraid to try something new – Brandon Rohrer
00:00:00 00:21:26

79: Data Scientist at Facebook – Don’t be afraid to try something new – Brandon Rohrer

Brandon Rohrer earned a PHD in Mechanical Engineering fromMIT-Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is a data scientist at Facebook.

Brandon Rohrer Blog
Electrical Grid Blog
Brandon Rohrer – Twitter Feed

[0:00] Started out with a love of Robotics which got Brandon into Mechanical Engineering and migrated over to machine learning. Deciding how a machine was going to respond is where the machine learning comes into play.

[3:05] Brandon goes into the types of skills needed to become a data scientist – and has never taken a formal class in data science beyond software engineering. Almost all of his knowledge in data science came after his formal degree.

[4:20] How Brandon applies machine learning at Facebook – worked on a team to determine where electrical power existed in developing countries. They used satellite images to make guesses, and use an algorithm to connect all the dots to look for power lines. Now he is taking a lot data, like text, how to determine what the data really means – Text Classification.

[7:00] What are ways to get up to speed on machine learning – you should just start playing around.

[8:20] What a day might look like in the real world — he feels like he is building a big lego tower from all the bits of data and building something pretty spectacular.

[10:37] What has Brandon really fired up today – has kept his love of robots – and seeing how AI and Machine learning is advancing is very excited. There is so much room for growth in this area and potentially a really good career.

[13:45] Story of success – working as a teaching assistant and was only a year ahead of the students asking the questions – and felt very much out of his comfort zone. It is OK to explain and teach things even if you are not an expert.

[16:20] Getting through college – don’t be afraid to try things, you need to be comfortable feeling dumb and doing things badly as you learn new skills.

[18:06] Best advice – the ideal machine has no moving parts – simpler is better. Personal habit is to keep the end goal in mind don’t get sidetracked with the immediate task. Brandon uses twitter to gain insights. Brandon Rohrer – Twitter Feed

[20:40] Parting guidance – don’t be afraid to try something out.

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