Blaine R. Bateman is the author of The Pandas Workshop. The other authors for the title are Thomas V Joseph, Saikat Basak and William So.
We got the chance to sit down with Blaine and find out more about his experience of writing with Packt.
Q: What are your specialist tech area(s)?
Blaine: Machine Learning, Time Series Modeling, Predictive Analytics
Q: How did you become an author for Packt? Tell us about your journey. What was your motivation for writing this book?
Blaine: I first engaged with Packt to update a book on Supervised Learning. When the opportunity to work on a new book arose, I was excited to pursue it. I use Pandas a lot in my work and thought it would be very helpful to the community to share knowledge.
Q: What kind of research did you do, and how long did you spend researching before beginning the book?
Blaine: Overall I’ve spent about 400 hours on this project. Initially, I looked into the project and began preparations, spending 2-3 months doing research and bookmarking reference materials.
Q: Did you face any challenges during the writing process? How did you overcome them?
Blaine: Pandas changed version, as did Python, and that created some challenges. Mostly small updates to adjust to whatever the package developers had decided to change. The other issue I have faced is there is so much that could be written to help people use Pandas, I wrote probably twice as much as planned! This meant I had to split several chapters. A headache there is changing the structure of the GitHub! But it’s all fine now.
Q. What’s your take on the technologies discussed in the book? Where do you see these technologies heading in the future?
Blaine: I can’t really imagine Pandas ever not being fundamental to Data Science and Business Analytics in Python. I hope some more extensions will be added for some common DataFrame operations, and maybe at some point a simpler index approach can be devised, that is the part that is most confusion to most users. Another issue is the variable data type management, I hope that becomes more harmonized in the future; it frustrates users to go back and forth from Numpy arrays to Pandas structures depending on what other functions are used.
Q: Why should readers choose this book over others already on the market? How would you differentiate your book from its competition?
Blaine: I believe this book is much more hands-on and has easy to use examples, while getting into some complex topics. I hope it becomes very popular, especially with new Data Scientists.
Q. What are the key takeaways you want readers to come away from the book with?
Blaine: There are many specialized features in Pandas. Don’t be afraid to explore! Often, you can find a feature that makes a complex task much easier.
Q. What advice would you give to readers learning tech? Do you have any top tips?
Blaine: Learn by doing. With this book, work the exercises and activities as you go, and re-visit them, and try to re-write the code as you learn more. Treat the book like a project, and work steadily to complete the project.
Q. Do you have a blog that readers can follow?
Blaine: I use LinkedIn to share content.
Q. Do you belong to any tech community groups?
Q. How would you describe your author journey with Packt? Would you recommend Packt to aspiring authors?
Blaine: Overall it’s a good experience.
Q. What are your favorite tech journals? How do you keep yourself up to date on tech?
Blaine: I participate in Twitter and am connected to many ML people there. I participate in Reddit r/MachineLearning and some other related communities. LinkedIn has a good community of Data people and I recommend engaging there.
Q. How did you organize, plan, and prioritize your work and write the book?
Blaine: I mainly just focus on what the editors etc. are asking for.
Q. What is the one writing tip that you found most crucial and would like to share with aspiring authors?
Blaine: The editing part is challenging and can seem like it’s very critical. Keep in mind you can never have a perfect book, so work with the team as early and as much as possible, and be open to changes and improvements.
Q. Would you like to share your social handles? If so, please share.
You can find Blaine’s book on Amazon by following this link: Please click here.
The Pandas Workshop – Available on Amazon.com