What will be the legacy you leave behind?

Our time on earth is limited. Nobody lives forever. However, there is a way to extend our short lifespans and that is to leave a shining legacy behind. A legacy that will have people benefit from our life’s work and pray for us long after we are dead and gone. A life lived for making this world a better place for everyone is a life worth living. A selfless life is a fulfilled, happy life. So, in light of these wisdoms, what should be our legacy? What should shape our lives that we live it making the world a better place for everyone? The answer lies first and foremost in the God given abilities for each individual. Secondly, the environment or the time period and the opportunities that are availed by the individual play a huge part in shaping who they really are.

It goes without saying, one of the most fundamental successes are to find our calling, something that we were truly meant to be. Anyone who puts in the required effort can become a doctor, for example, but some people really shine as doctors since they have the necessary skills and the demeanor to be just that good that they exude the aura of success and confidence and people just can’t help but exclaim, that he is really such a good doctor. Or such an exceptional teacher. Or such a creative engineer. Or such a valued mentor. Or such a visionary leader or philanthropist or… You get the idea.

Secondly, the environment and the time period that they find themselves in, is a huge player in shaping their ultimate future. Take Steve Jobs (late, of Apple) or Bill Gates (of Microsoft) or Larry Ellison (of Oracle) or Jeff Bezos (of Amazon) or Elon Musk (of Tesla, SpaceX, SolarCity & The Boring Company) as examples. They became great entrepreneurs, each in their own right. You could say that their success depended on their God given abilities plus the environment, time period and opportunities that they availed.

In order to find our true calling, we need to take a hard look at ourselves and pick an area that we can be truly great. Maybe get a good mentor who can pinpoint the right character trait to focus on. They check out the opportunities that are likely all around us that we could utilize to build our own legacy for ourselves.

And Allah knows best.

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What’s up with this thing called Data Science

Data Science is the newest thing that has become popular for Math, Statistics & Computer Science geeks. This is a new area of study that has increasingly gained popularity over the last couple of years or more. This is evident from the many courses and numerous well paying jobs that turn up with a simple Google search. The courses available online for those who are interested in acquiring this new skillset. And there seem to be tons of jobs for Data Scientists as well. Mose of these jobs require an advanced degree (such as a Master’s or a Doctorate).

Data Science is a new discipline that includes various topics of interest such as Statistics, Data Analysis, R or Python Programming, Regression Models, Machine Learning and more. Usually, the courses demand that learners have Math/Stats & Comp. Sci backgrounds but there are people who have business degrees or humanities background that have ventured into this area because it is so attractive to people who crave creativity and challenge in their work.

A typical Data Scientist does a lot of different things, but primarily it has to do with making sense of data in a meaningful way that is useful for a purpose. That sounds vague actually. It really means extracting meaning from and interpreting data, analyzing it with tools (using pre-built software like Microsoft Excel or custom programming usually with R or Python). It requires the use of Mathematics and Statistics skills. First and foremost it requires acquiring the lots of data, cleaning, cleansing and formatting data and asking useful questions and getting really creative with the use of the data in some way that may be useful for medicine or policy making or urban development or whatever else might be the area you are interested in using Data Science for. In other words, Data Science has tons of applications.

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Words and Phrases to Avoid

Communication is very important in every aspect of our life. Bad communication can result in all sorts of undesirable consequences. It is therefore important that we pay attention to what we convey with the words and phrases we choose in our everyday personal and professional speech and writing. Perhaps the most important aspect of our communication is our personal and family interactions, but let’s discuss that another day, in another blog entry. Today I want to focus on what not to say in the context of our professional work life.

Remove these phrases from conversations at work:

1. “That’s not my job.” It could also cost your job. While a task may not fit directly within your original job description, it’s for the greater good of the company that you lend a hand wherever and whenever possible.

2. “I’ll try.” Not only will you eliminate the trust of coworkers, you’ll also place doubt in the minds of your customers and clients. Replace “try” with “will” for better results.

3. “I dislike…” Avoid constant negativity and filter in more positivity. For instance, instead of saying you dislike meetings because they run too long, figure out a way to energize them or keep them short.

4. “I’m too busy.” Everyone’s really busy. Replace this phrase with something like, “Once I tackle this task, I’ll be happy to take a look at that.”

 

Avoid these phrases during an interview:

1. “I think…” This statement only shows self-doubt — something you can’t risk in an interview. Drop this phrase and replace it with something more confident like “In my experience…”

2. “To be honest…” Stating this before you answer a question may lead the interviewer to believe you weren’t being honest during the rest of your interview. This phrase does not add any value and it should be dropped from all conversations.

3. “We did something…we achieved something” When being asked to describe your contribution to a project or describe your experience, say what you did, what you were responsible for. Say “We” in this context leaves the interviewer thinking what did the candidate actually contribute and often they will ask you to specify.

4. “My previous employer was awful…” Badmouthing is never a good idea — it shows you’re untrustworthy or disloyal. If you’re badmouthing one person, you’ll badmouth others. Even if the previous employer was the worst anyone can imagine, leave the criticism aside.
Remove these phrases from your resume:

1. “Highly qualified.” Show, don’t tell. This simply sounds like a boastful statement and it is most often used by candidates who are not that highly qualified.

2. “Familiar with…” Once again, it’s essential to show an employer exactly how you’ve used technical programs or specific skills. Being familiar with something could mean you’ve heard of it or vaguely remember reading about it. You either know it or you don’t.

3. “Team player.” Rather than say this, share your team work achievement and accomplishments so the hiring managers can see that you are in fact a team player.

4. “Problem solver.” Rather share a problem-solving achievement that benefited your previous employer or client.

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Top 10 Reasons to get an Online Education

Online education is increasingly becoming available for various fields where it makes sense. Business, Mathematics, Humanities and some theoretical courses from physical sciences (Physics, Chemistry, Biology etc.) can easily be taught online. Of course, online education is simply not adequate for some disciplines, but it’s only a matter of time when virtually everything could be taught online.

1-Availability: Online education has matured over the years and is now available from some of the top universities in the world. For instance, check out the following:

2-Affordability: It’s a much more affordable option when compared to the traditional brick and mortar institutions. Some even offer FREE courses online Here is a short list of some of the providers.

3-Flexibility: You can study anywhere, anytime. This is a definite edge for those who wish to acquire knowledge despite their busy lives. If you’re traveling, you can take the class from your hotel room. Or watch class videos offline or write your paper while you’re flying over the Atlantic.

4-Global Collaboration: Your virtual classroom can have students from around the world from various backgrounds. Students can come together to exchange knowledge and benefit from a variety of backgrounds and experiences.

5-Fastest way to learn new technologies: As fast as technologies are evolving, it’s hard for most people to keep up. Offering online education and updating it as soon as changes occur is much more feasible than offering traditional offline instructor lead courses.

6-Way more choices for online courses: There is a dizzying array of courses available online from institutions from all over the world. If you find a subject hard to understand, you can even take the course from, say a university in the US, then follow it up with the same or similar course from the UK or Singapore or Canada or Denmarkor any university from anywhere in the world offering online courses.

7-Easier to acquire marketable skills: Some of the most marketable skills don’t seem to be available in every traditional school. If you need to learn the latest programming language or acquire Mandarin conversational skills.

8-Introverts, stay at home mothers and, in some cases, even prisoners can study: Online education is potentially available to anyone with a device and an Internet connection. You don’t even have to get out of the house much less travel to another city or country to acquire education via online outlets.

9-Great use of new technology: Online education technology has come a long way and matured enough to be very effective both for the providers enabling them to reach a much wider audience and for the students to have much bigger choice of courses available. Furthermore, courses can be provided in mixed media – audio, video, text, live sessions, discussion forums for students and teachers and more. This makes the experience for everyone involved much richer than the standard medium of face-to-face interaction, in some ways.

10-Continue acquiring knowledge long after your college days are over: Traditional education may be stopped after graduating from the university. However, online education can continue and anyone, young and old, can acquire new knowledge and skills.

What is missing from online education is the element of direct human interaction, in class rooms and on campus. This should be compensated for by having offline meet ups between local students and instructors where possible or simply taking some classes in traditional school settings. A hybrid online/offline model is probably the best option to get the best outcome.

In conclusion, do not dismiss online education. It’s real and it’s here to stay. Embrace it now as a viable alternative to traditional ways of learning or risk being left behind.

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