I am listing down some of the very basic things that will help you to progress in your machine learning journey..
1. Get a hold over the language to be used for implementation – practice the basics till you are comfortable.
2. Practice and become comfortable with data cleaning and processing – this is essential. You need to know about your data well before analyzing it.
3. Understand and implement one algorithm at a time. You may not understand it completely in the beginning. Give it time. Do not get stuck at one place. Try something else and come back later. Get the intuition of what is going on behind the few lines of code written to implement it. With practice things will keep getting clearer. Keep reading about it from multiple sources.
4. Make extensive notes when trying to understand / watching videos – it helps with internalising the information as well as with the review.
5. Take a print out of the codes. During explanation, even if you are not following completely due to the amount of information shared, making your own notes at that time helps during review.
6. Understand limitations of each algorithm, if any.
7. Understand the usual application areas of each of the algorithms and why are they used there.
8. Try understanding how these algorithms differ from each other. Using a single problem statement and solving it using different applicable algorithms should help here.
9. Remember, the algorithms are just tools to solve problems. Don’t lose sight of the main problem statement during implementation.
10. Many times, simple implementations are good enough. Build a simple solution first quickly and then iterate – you may want to try different features, tuning the parameters and hyperparameters, different algorithms, stacking different algorithms together and so on. Make sure you try one thing at a time and not everything together since you would want to know what change made the algorithm(s) better or worse.
11. Explain what you have done to one person who knows about the algorithms in technical terms and to another who does not know the algorithms but can follow the problem and its solution logically. Gaps in understanding are best understood when explaining to others.
12. Learning is an iterative process – your first implementation may not be the best. It can be made better over time. Please be patient.
13. Journal your progress. This may help you blog later.
Hope these points will help you to achieve your goal in the field of machine learning.