There’s an old cliché that when life gives lemons, make lemonade. For a Katy author, the pandemic gave him a chance to write his first book.
Yifan Guo, 26 years old, wrote a non-fiction title called Machine Learning: A Beginner’s Guide. The work is published through Lulu.com, a platform that uses print-on-demand technology to print a book when it is actually ordered. He said he is working to publish the book through Amazon Kindle Desktop Publishing, as well, to increase its availability.
Guo has been learning about machine learning since his senior year of college. “When I started, there was a big learning curve. A lot of machine learning knowledge is found in research papers that are not easy to read.” Guo said. “Thankfully, I had professors and TA’s who organized discussions around the assigned papers. I was able to better understand concepts by exchanging ideas and getting feedback.”
The self-published author has a computer science degree from Vanderbilt University and is a software engineer with Capital One. At the start of this summer, he moved out of his apartment in Arlington, VA so he could spend time with his parents. While working remotely in Katy, he found a lot of spare time. He said he wanted to use that spare time to write a book that would inspire others to pursue a technology-related career.
“Machine learning is one of the fastest growing jobs in today’s data-driven market,” Guo said. “I wanted to create something that would make machine learning more easy, fun, and relatable.”
Guo became interested in machine learning halfway through his time in college and changed his major to computer science so he could pursue his new passion.
“I was very impressed by my peers,” Guo said. “One college friend told me that he was building a video game during his internship at Facebook. He knew I enjoyed playing video games and showed me that there is an industry where I can work on what I liked. After deciding to major in computer science, I took as many courses as I could to explore the field.”
Guo is accepting speaking engagements to discuss his new book on machine learning, but he said there’s another message he’s been sharing as well.
“It’s never too late to change course.” Guo said. “Identify what you want and make every day count towards that goal. Five years ago, I never imagined I would be building complex software for one of the world’s largest banks. I was open to new possibilities and reflected on what I wanted. Once I knew what that was, the rest was history.”
For more information, visit Guo’s website, http://www.yifanguo.org.