Do you find yourself thinking I'm a bit of an unlikely candidate to do Data Science because I don't have a PhD in Computer Science or Mathematics? Do you feel like almost all of the companies hiring Data Scientists are looking for people with advanced degrees, so you find yourself wondering if you should go through 5-6 years in a PhD program? As you look at the "Data Science Venn Diagram" or the "Becoming a Data Scientist – Curriculum via Metromap" do you find yourself wondering if you have what it takes to make it?
The following steps will help ease your concerns. You just have to take these 6 steps before you decide to further your studies to land your dream data science job.
- Step 1: Figure out 2-3 industries you are interested in which are hiring data scientists
- Step 2: Figure out 4-6 companies you would want to wok at in each of those industries
- Step 3: Find job postings for data scientists at each of those companies to see what skills they are looking for potential hires. LinkedIn, indeed.com, Kaggle, and angel.co have good job forums for data scientists.
- Step 4: Find 1-2 data scientists at each of these companies through the use of LinkedIn and Twitter to get a sense of a) their educational background, b) their work experience, and c) what they list as their bio, summary, interests, groups, and organizations / people they follow and talk about.
- Step 5: Check out whether these data scientists have a blog and/or whether they've done any interviews where they've shared their path / thoughts on how to become a data scientist
- Step 6: Ask these data scientists what they think of these types of programs (Insight Data Science , Metis Data Science Bootcamp, Zipfian Academy, Data Incubator, General Assembly, NYC Data Science Academy etc...) vs Data Science MOOCs vs Graduate Programs, vs learning from books for getting a job in their company.
This last part does two things (1) it gets you to start conversations with Data Scientists at places you want to work and (2) you'll get the thoughts of people who may be ultimately evaluating you and your candidacy. Once you get this far, you can also ask the Data Scientists what their leaders/bosses care about so that you get a better understanding of what exactly what the person who 'owns' the position is looking for when interviewing candidates. At the end of these conversations, you'll have a much better idea whether to spend 14k/16k or some money on coffee, textbooks and coursera.
So before you decide to further your studies by picking some books, enrolling in a Data Science Bootcamp, enrolling in a graduate program, or attending several Data Science MOOCs, make sure you take these 6 steps so that you can find out exactly what is expected of you and your knowledge to get your dream data science job!
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