By Saeed Mirshekari

Nov 18, 2022

We leave a digital trace of our being in the form of data. A data scientist interprets and finds meaning behind this data. It is a very meaningful and high-paying job. So, most of us would want to get into it.

Luckily, the data-science field does not require you to have a specific academic background. However, there are 5 steps that each data scientist would have followed to land their first job. In this note, I will be exploring those 5 steps.

5 steps between you and your first data science job

Step 1 - Learning the required data-science skills

In each job, you’re required to possess a specific skill set. Data science jobs are no different. Luckily, you only need to have two skills to be a data scientist.

First, you must know statistics and machine learning algorithms. You must also know the mathematics behind those algorithms. Why is that? Let’s take a scenario where you’re working on model development. Throughout the different phases, you keep running into errors. You will only be able to fix it if you have knowledge of the mathematics behind the algorithms.

Secondly, you must know programming languages. As a data scientist, you will have several ideas regarding statistical methods and machine learning algorithms. You will only be able to implement those ideas using a programming language. The three best programming languages to know are SQL, R, and Python.

Step 2 - Project Portfolio

To land your first data science job, you must set yourself apart from other candidates. Your experience will help do that. Create a portfolio of all the data-science projects you have worked on. This will help demonstrate your abilities and knowledge in a tangible way.

Step 3 - Review your resume

Positioning yourself is key and your resume is the perfect tool for it. Keep your resume simple and clear. Your resume should communicate a unified story. It should also effectively communicate your technical skills to the reader.

Step 4 - Job Searching

The job searching process is menial and time-consuming. However, with the right strategy, you can make it time and energy efficient.

First, narrow down your options. Understand what your preferences are in terms of location, salary, industry, company size, and more. Then, apply to jobs that fit your criteria and experience.

A good strategy is to apply for jobs in batches. In a singular time period, apply for various data-science jobs. Monitor the progress on your job applications and progress as necessary.

Step 5 - Interviews

If you’re getting interview calls, you’re almost there. It’s time to verbally showcase your talent and technical abilities. Before walking in, research the company and the role you’re interviewing for. This way you will be able to showcase the sides of yourself the company is looking for.

These were the 5 steps between you and your first data-science job. Nowadays, data science jobs are becoming increasingly popular but there aren’t enough data scientists. So. this is the perfect time to get into the field using these 5 steps. Good luck.

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About O'Fallon Labs

In O'Fallon Labs we help recent graduates and professionals to get started and thrive in their Data Science careers via 1:1 mentoring and more.

Saeed Mirshekari, PhD

Saeed is currently a Director of Data Science in Mastercard and the Founder & Director of O'Fallon Labs LLC. He is a former research scholar at LIGO team (Physics Nobel Prize of 2017). Learn more about Saeed...

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