Dr. Andrew McMahon is the author of Machine Learning Engineering with Python we got the chance to sit down with him and find out more about his experience of writing with Packt.
Q: How did you become an author for Packt? Tell us about your journey. What was your motivation for writing this book?
Andy: Someone from Packt had approached me about doing a book a while back, but I didn’t think I had the capacity. After a few months went by I thought ‘nah I can do this’ and got back in touch. The process went very quickly from then, I put forward some ideas to one of the product managers and we went with the machine learning engineering idea, since this was the one I was most passionate about and where we thought the biggest impact could be made. I then pulled together the book proposal and apparently got amazing feedback and scores from the review board – so we were excited to start right away! After that again things moved
along quite nicely and before I knew it I was a few chapters deep.
Q: How long did it take you to write the book?
Andy: About 8 months.
Q: What kind of research did you do, and how long did you spend researching before beginning the book?
Andy : I feel like the past few years of my career were really the research for the book. I did most of my extra research in parallel with the writing and coding parts, which was challenging but very fun. It mostly involved me looking into papers, blogs and books from people I respected in the fields across machine learning, Python, cloud and software engineering. A lot of what I found
rang true with what I try and implement in my day job, but I picked up some new tips and tricks
along the way, which all made it into the book after I really understood them.
Q: Did you face any challenges during the writing process? How did you overcome them?
Andy : Becoming an author happened at a very busy time in my life. Firstly, I started a new job in January at the same time I started writing the book. Secondly, I was a new Dad a few months before I started writing and thirdly I started a podcast halfway through the book! I think the pandemic as well, in general, meant there was a lot of anxiety about the health and well-being
of friends and family. I viewed the book as my escape and a good way to decompress. I found it very enjoyable, even though it was very challenging!
Q. What advice would you give to readers learning tech? Do you have any top tips?
Andy : I think books are an excellent way of learning a lot of content on a topic that is brought together in a logical and consistent way, in a manner that you just can’t from reading blog posts or online forums. So I think that reading tech books is a great way to develop your skills. My biggest tip is that you have to ‘learn by doing’, so always try and apply what you are reading, in your spare time, at work, anywhere! The key thing is that you start really building out those skills and that new understanding by implementing them in practice.
Q. How do you keep up-to-date on your tech?
Andy: I read books, blog posts and magazine articles. I also listen to a few different podcasts on AI, ML, software and wider technology trends. I’m also a big fan of content on the business side of tech, which is great way to complement your ‘hard’ skills like programming. I also try and make sure I play with tech as often as possible, even when my job can sometimes mean I have to
take a step back from the code. I’ll then fire up some new repository and start playing around with a new (or old) library and try and implement something new I’ve been learning about. I think this keeps me sharp and helps me have a good understanding of what’s going on in the tech world.
Q. Do you have a blog that readers can follow?
Andy: I have a blog at electricweegie.com and you can also follow me on Twitter @electricweegie. The podcast I co-host, AI Right, is also good to follow to learn about what’s hot in the AI, ML and data space https://shows.acast.com/ai-right.
Q. How would you describe your author journey with Packt? Would you recommend Packt to aspiring authors?
Andy: I have learned a tremendous amount about myself, technology and writing in the past year. Getting to the finish line and seeing my book come together has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I am very glad to have gone on this journey and achieve a dream I have had for many years. I would thoroughly recommend the process and hope many
others share their knowledge with the world.
You can find Andy’s book on Amazon by following this link: Please click here