From dev to data scientist - A first post about data science

mohr023 profile image Matheus Mohr ・2 min read

Hello there, I'm Matheus, a brazillian developer, on the road to become a data scientist and I wanted to be a biologist. That didn't actually work out, since living in Brazil means that working with natural sciences leads you to starvation, but after 6 years I definitely don't regret choosing tech...

I'm currently a Java Web Developer reaching my 6th year in tech, working with a fresh new product, but that's about to change, since the product I'm developing is heavyily based on data, and that opened a door for me to start showcasing what data science can do and how a few hours spent with some data (public data, which was around for a loooong time) can lead to a major new feature/service that will "WOW" customers like never before.

Just to make sure we're on the same page, please be aware that data science in Brazil is something extraterrestrial... I'm not saying there aren't any companies making the most out of data here, it's just that most of it happens in big companies with huge products, with data-driven culture still being an aspiration for most SMBs around.

At my 3rd year working as a dev I started a "Data Science (Big Data)" MBA (yes, with the parenthesis on it and all), not sure about what would happen, but feeling excited about the course's content. What started kicking me off during the 2 years that followed was that everywhere I looked said that "you need math to work with data science", and my background in regards to that was... null, since my degree was actually a "Software Analysis and Development" one, with basically no math in it, purely focused on programming languages, UML and software architecture.

Thankfully, internet is an amazing place (most of the time) and I managed to pick off some great courses, content and people in order to get the hang of it. I'm still in the basics, aiming for statistics and exploratory analysis

Anyway, after finishing the course (and starting a dozen others) I tried applying everything I learned in the company I was, but market pressure led my team to be constantly overloaded (now that's a story for a whole other post), and after a few months trying, I quit, joining another software development company in my town which works with public management systems, with it's focus being on public health, and that's where things got interesting.

I'm currently working in the product's MVP and due to it's nature as a data-based product, I'm being able to experiment quite a lot with it and most importantly, generate value from these experiments, which is super cool and motivates me like never before.

With that out of my chest and a lot of motivation behind me, I'm hoping to share the next steps on this great journey I'm having, and maybe some of the experiences I've had with our controversial Java :)


Editor guide
pratikaambani profile image
Pratik Ambani

That's really awesome Mathews!!! Many many congratulations on achieving something you were aspiring for.

Thankfully, internet is an amazing place (most of the time) and I managed to pick off some great courses, content and people in order to get the hang of it.

You may wish to share articles, experts, tutorials who can help others who are aspiring for the same. ☺️☺️

Best wishes with your new role and company.

mohr023 profile image
Matheus Mohr Author

Thanks Pratik, and I'm definitely going to share it all, after all, I've found it through communities, might as well share as a way of gratitude :P

pratikaambani profile image
Pratik Ambani

Can't wait anymore then. :)

leob profile image

Pivoting from Web Dev to Data Science - do you think it make sense in general? Both web dev and data science are hot markets with plenty of job and good salaries, so in that regard it's a toss-up ...

I guess then that a decision to 'pivot' from one to the other should primarily be based on motivation/interest and not on pursuing a pot of gold.

jhwinter profile image
Jonathan Winter

I'm hoping to do the same! I'm currently a Software Engineer, but most of my two years of experience has only been with web development. Do you have any resources that you can recommend for how to learn the necessary skills/tools for Data Science?

Personally, my motivation is just that I love mathematics/statistics and they have always come fairly easy to me. I haven't been in the tech industry for very long, but I have gotten very bored with web development. Personally, I'd much rather spend four hours analysing algorithms or finding patterns in data than trying to center a button on a web page.

leob profile image

Hi, well the good thing is there are many, as in MANY, resources to be found online. You can really learn everything about "data science" on the interwebs.

Over the years I've collected a boatload of links and bookmarks, and I could share some of those if you want.

BUT (here's the disclaimer) I'm not doing anything with it :-) for the time being, and maybe indefinitely, I'm staying in web development, I don't seriously consider 'pivoting' ... my question was more on a hypothetical level ... :-)

Web development doesn't bore me yet and even though I'm also fond of math and all that I'm not prepared and willing to put in a ton of effort to get any good in this (very different) subject area.

I'm still interested but more as a glorified hobby, dabbling with graphs and data on the sidelines. I'm a remote freelancer and my hunch is that it is simply A LOT easier to get "remote" gigs as a web developer than as a 'data scientist', that's one of the reasons why I'm not seriously pursuing it (lol I don't even know Python).

Anyway, maybe going through some "awesome lists" would be a good start? links to lists of links ... ;-)

Just a completely random selection:


Data science is of course an extremely broad subject: visualization, BI (business intelligence), data engineering (ETL and so on), ML/AI ....... I'd argue that saying you're a "data scientist" doesn't even mean that much, you need to figure out what you want to specialize in.

Good luck on your journey!

jay006 profile image

I admire u Mathews because I'm in same situation as you were before. After reading this blog I'm much more confident now that I will be a data scientist. Thank you.