I signed up for the Stanford Probabilistic Graphical Models course back in January as this is an interesting topic and one that I enjoyed and was reasonably proficient at when I did a numerical linear algebra course as a third year option as part of my Computer Science degree. As a concept this is still true. However...

In 5 weeks I leave my job at Madgex to venture forth for new adventures. What those adventures are to be I don't know - well except for May when I plan to holiday, relax and recover. What I want them to be more off is data related - be that traditional database work, "big data" work or a combination of the both. As a consequence my learning list is full of things directly related to this. PGM is related too, but is a bit too far down in the advanced learning section to be prioritised right now.

My to-learn list has the following on it at the moment, and seems to be growing on a daily basis :

  • reading books and articles, attending webcasts and events all around the concept of "big data" so I can familiarise myself with terminology and technology
  • improving my JavaScript - being done by following the CodeYear JavaScript tutorials. I'm currently still up to date with all the lessons so far. JavaScript is such a useful all-round skill that this seems like a good thing to improve and make more robust
  • learning python - initially following Zed's book Learn python the hard way. So far so good
  • refreshing my probability knowledge - initially by watching the khanacademy series of lectures. I watched the first lectures of the PGM course and it became obvious that my probability (and stats for that matter) are incredibly rusty after almost 20 years of neglect
  • refreshing my statistics knowledge - I started following the Think Stats book, but my lack of python hampered my progress resulting in me fighting with the language rather than the data. Hence the learning python bit. Then I can follow this book as it looks really useful and interesting. I'll also check out the khanacademy lessons here too
  • doing some tutorials for some of the big data concepts - such as Amazon SimpleDB and Graph data
  • watch the PGM video lectures (if they're still available by the time I get though all of the above) and see if I am now in a position to understand them

After a few years of concentrating my learning around business skills (commercials, forecasts, cost modelling etc) and softer skills (managing people through times of change, motivation techniques etc) it's really fun to be concentrating on some tech learning for a change.