My Journey To Kaggle Competitions Grandmaster Status — Chapter the First

The coveted grandmaster status

In this series I will document my journey, from start to grand finale, to becoming a grandmaster on This will be no easy feat. Indeed, I anticipate both sweat and tears, but this arduous accolade will be well worth it in the end. Wish me the best of luck, though I assure you no one is wishing louder than myself.

The list of eye candy that Kaggle provides

To that end, I will first begin by explaining what the purpose of my “journey” is. is in essence an exceptionally user-friendly site that caters to Data Scientists. Within its data-fied walls include basic courses for the aspiring Data Scientist, a Job Board for those a little further along, a discussion forum with fascinating insight, banter, and computer science witicisms on all topics Data Science related, a section for Data and software engineers to create and store their own jupyter-esque notebooks, a database filled with a diverse collection of data and datasets that would make any Data Scientist drool, and the creme de la creme of our attention, the Kaggle Competitions section, location of our coveted Grandmaster status.

Kaggle competitions consist of pre-selected datasets brimming with scrumptious data to use to any Data Scientist’s heart’s content. The challenge: solve pre-determined problems through the use of data cleaning, wrangling, engineering, analysis, and predictive modeling to achieve the highest accuracy score you can and climb (claw! struggle!) your way to the top of the leaderboards, netting performance tier medals along the way.

Kaggle’s performance tier is a tier system based on one’s performance on Kaggle’s many delicacies (surprise! surprise!). Each tier is also broken up into categories allowing a determined data enthusiast to earn different tiers in each of the different categories: obviously my interest of focus is in the competitions category. Tiers are ranked as follows: Novice, Contributor, Expert, Master, and Grandmaster, with tiers Novice and Contributor requirements each focusing solely on account registration and a “tutorial” checklist respectively. From there things begin to get more difficult.

Competitions expert tier requires 2 bronze medals to be won; competitions master tier requires 1 gold medal and 2 silver medals to be won; competitions grandmaster tier requires 5 gold medals and 1 solo gold medal to be won. These medals are awarded based on positioning in the aforementioned Kaggle competitions and can be found in the picture (curtousy of the wonderful Kaggle website itself) added beneath this paragraph.

My long-winded explanation finally complete, I leave you with this promise: future additions to this “Grandmaster Status” series, which will likely come in either weekly or bi-weekly installments, will include a much more palatable ratio of data/pretty-data-science-visualizations to Daniel-ramblings. I’ll end here by thanking you and bidding you adieu. Let the games begin.

I am a Data Scientist and writer prone to excitement and passion. I look forward to a future I am able to focus those characteristics into work I love.