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How to gain expert intuition from self learning and why it impacts employability

When I was in university, I had a peculiar observation when I reached 3rd (junior) year. The courses abruptly became very difficult, but were much more interesting, to a point where I felt like the introductory/100 level courses bore little resemblance to what actual applications in the field were like.

This phenomenon continued after formal education. To use data science as an example: there are plenty of data science courses online, at the introductory/100 level, but the most I learned was from applying what I learned to projects, either at work or self-directed, and discussing research papers with the folks at Aggregate Intellect (

I’ve questioned this when I was trying to recommend online courses to aspiring data scientists. Shouldn’t it be the case that taking more Coursera/Udacity/Udemy courses, is always helpful (positive)? But in reality I’ve found that past a certain point, it “doesn’t hurt” (neither positive nor negative) or at the extreme, is downright detrimental (negative).

The same logic holds for self learning anything: be it musical instruments, public speaking, or programming. How one chooses self learning materials can make the difference between gaining mastery (and employability), or simply going in circles.

In this article I will walk through how to focus on gaining mastery while self learning, and how “expert intuition” makes one employable as a by-product. I’ll also show how to break out of going in circles while self learning, and reach “expert intuition”.

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