By Luke Bernstein
The internet serves as a cornucopia of information, with individuals sharing their knowledge and passions on different online mediums. In fact, the article you are reading right now feeds directly into this information overload as Gould Standard writers “explore current business issues, geopolitical events, and student life at Stern”. For students interested in the tech industry, online resources are plentiful, and all of these sites aim to teach how to code in an easy and painless way. However, for Stern students taught to think critically and analytically, which for the class of 2024 meant a case study on the business of the news in Business and Society, it becomes easy to analyze what blogs are more useful than others. This begs a pressing question, are there too many tech blogs available on the internet?
To help gain some insight into what role tech blogs can serve as an educating tool for business students, I spoke with Sumantro Banerjee, VP of Tech Socials for Stern’s Business Analytics Club. Banerjee distinguished against a commonly held viewpoint of many just starting out in programming, which is that simply plagiarizing code from a tech blog and then tweaking it to suit a customized need is a successful way to complete a task. For example, if he were researching stock analysis, Banerjee “would run the code they provided to see how it would appear and then attempt to modify it to gain a better understanding”. By doing this, he was honing his abilities to take a concept already studied but utilize it in a unique way specific to his interests. Employing tech blogs in this manner could present long-term problems as people move through programming as, without a solid, drilled foundation, it becomes difficult to create more complex and enlightening projects. Therefore, Banerjee uses these websites, specifically, Towards Data Science, “to learn the theory of the concept” he is interested in and then applies this in a personal project. In this sense, Towards Data Science becomes synonymous with a textbook, the way many if not most industry professionals originally learned their skillsets.
During an internship experience, Banjeree turned to a different blog, Analytics Vidhya, to supplement the education he was receiving from the company and to help solve some of the questions they asked him to work on. Again, he emphasized that this blog served as a resource for the mathematics behind what he was working on and that his “mindset was not on learning the programming” but that it could serve as a place to leap off of to continue to work on the projects at hand.
These two blogs, Analytics Vidhya and Towards Data Science, are the two biggest names in the data analysis blogging sphere and for those looking to break into data work, the content offered on these pages can be viewed with confidence for its reliability and accuracy. These platforms stand out for many reasons, but perhaps most importantly, it is not one writer sharing whatever is on their mind, but the pieces published under AV and TDS are reviewed and must meet stringent submission guidelines before reaching the general public. Towards Data Science’s submission guidelines show why this collective publication model stands out from the rest of what is offered on the internet as it must be “a story that needs to be told”, have a clear and cogent message, and be told from a verifiable and factual perspective (TDS Editors). These are the criteria Sternies are looking for when researching sources for their own writing and learning and the fact that there are resources available brings confidence that there is a place for tech blogs in the life of an aspiring programmer.
As a part of Stern’s Social Impact Core, all students are required to take Business and Society, a class aimed at examining how business can both create and solve social problems. In the first of three units, all students examined the business of the news industry and at the end of the month, they tried to explain how the news fits into businesses’ relationship with society. The case of tech blogs specifically is a fascinating lens into the power of information and the opportunities offered to both writers and readers by websites such as Medium. It offers a place for freelances journalists just like Banerjee, a writer for Medium himself, to attempt to make an income while fulfilling their passions for creativity and education. Banerjee also found success in the collective model on Medium as one of his articles was picked up by another prolific blog, The Startup, and this article received over 130 views, a non-negligible number for such a new writer. Seeing how he is able to take the writing and analytical skills he has enhanced in just his first two years at Stern and use them as both a resume builder for his own advancement and an educating tool shows the power of diligent work to create clear and factual insights that can be beneficial for whoever finds his content.
In conceptualizing this article, I imagined I would reach a different conclusion, but examining the net positives brought through massive, sourced publications such as Towards Data Science shows that there are many benefits to these blogs existing and the vast array of takeaways readers can acquire by visiting websites such as Medium. This does not mean, however, that you should take any piece found on the internet as gospel, especially educational resources not written by academics, but the skills Stern instills in its students should provide confidence to those looking to learn programming that their educational background has set them up for success in evaluating and curating their blog-based programming journey. Speaking with students like Banerjee demonstrates that Stern students have these abilities and the most important skill set for success in the data analytics space is the ability to ask the right questions and uncover the most actionable information to achieve success.
TDS Editors. “Write for Towards Data Science.” Medium, Apr. 2021,