I recently got my first medal in the APTOS 2019 Blindness Detection competition this past weekend!
I describe my experience here:
I started Kaggle 3 years ago. The only course I had taken was Andrew Ng’s Machine Learning course (which is still a great course for understanding the theory behind machine learning algorithms). However, I had no practical experience doing machine learning. I would just play around with existing kernels and I was struggling to do well in competitions. Eventually, I kind of gave up and just checked in on the Kaggle competitions once in a while to see what was going on in the community.
Then, I saw a kernel using fastai on Kaggle. I had heard about fastai earlier and was interested in taking it and I decided to finally start listening to the lectures. Being quite busy, I only listened to a couple of lectures before the next iteration of the course was release in January. Within a couple months I finished the course. I turned to Kaggle to practice my skills. Using the skills I learned in fastai immediately helped me improve my Kaggle game. For my first competition while taking fastai, the Hisopathological Cancer competition, I was within the top 14%, which was the best I got on Kaggle at the time.
Flash-forward to now, and the skills and techniques I learned helped me get my first medal in a Kaggle competition !
Thanks to @jeremy and the fast.ai team for developing an amazing course and library. And thanks to the community for their support and guidance!