The Data Science (DS) domain is one of the fastest-growing fields, rapidly expanding to be a part of almost all fields of business from education and technology all the way to healthcare and food industry. As the field grows so does the job requirement for various DS roles across different industries. The first step towards preparing yourself for success in Data Science is to find a mentor who has experience in the field.
Having a seasoned professional who acts as a leader and provides you a support system can be invaluable in 2023 as you navigate your career, try to learn new skills, and change industries.
This article aims to explain ‘how’ to find a perfect mentor that works for you online.
How to Find Data Science Mentors Online
Connecting with professionals on Social Media (LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.)
Social media is a great place to find a Data Science career mentor. Developing a relationship with a mentor is the first step in getting in touch. Take your time and do some research on the professionals in the specific field of Data Science you want to break into or the individual whose work you admire. When you locate someone, begin composing a letter of introduction.
What inspires you about their work, professional development, or hobbies? Remember that you wouldn't immediately ask them to serve as your mentor. They need to know you to make sure they will be able to help with your needs first.
After you've written to them a few times, inquire if they have time for an informational interview to talk about how their career path led them to their current position and your goals. If you both still feel positive about the collaboration, arrange a discovery call to determine whether your visions for the mentorship relationship are similar.
One-on-One Online Mentorship Coaching Programs
1-on-1 online mentorship programs are hyper-personalized mentorship programs that have been designed uniquely to be completely “mentee-driven”. An expert from the field of Data Science works with you more closely. Some of the advantages that one-on-one mentorship/coaching programs have over other forms of mentorships include:
- Weekly 1-on-1 to talk about: your progress, your questions, and the next steps
- Full support via direct messaging access in private text channels
- Improving your technical skills by supporting Course/Project/Study Learning
- Improving your career skills by resume review/job interview/search-strategy
The first step towards finding the right mentor for you is to personally highlight those things you want in a mentor. As you begin your search for a data science mentor/mentorship program online, be on the lookout for these qualities you have highlighted so you can choose a mentor that aligns with your needs.
A good data Science mentor must possess the following:
- Expertise, relevant knowledge, and experience
- Passion for Data Science, AI, or any field you're going into.
- Enthusiasm and compassion to help you
- Good communication skills as he/she can give honest feedback and guidance
Online Data Science Communities
Free mentoring groups or community-based initiatives are intended to inspire and aid aspiring data scientists. These platforms allow both aspiring professionals and working professionals to sign up as mentees, giving them access to a wide network of data science experts. These platforms enable one-on-one connections between mentees and the right mentors, who can assist them in their data science journey.
If you choose to go through the FREE mentorship path, make sure you fully understand the possible drawbacks to avoid any of your valuable time. Here is a good resource that compares the advantages and disadvantages of FREE mentorship vs paid mentorship in more detail. FREE does not always benefit you! Sometimes it can hurt you in the chest and you may realize later.
4 Tips on Getting the Most Out of your Data Science Mentorship Program
- Be open-minded and willing to learn: No matter who your mentor is, s/he has experience and expertise to share with you. You and your mentor may have a lot in common or very little. Regardless, if you remain open-minded and want to learn, you will learn and become a better professional as a result.
- Be honest and real: Your mentor will be better able to help you if you are open and honest about who you are and what you want professionally and personally from your life. Talk about your background, current status, hopes, fears, and goals for the future.
- Establish a mentorship plan before you even begin: Think about the topics you would like to discuss with your mentor ahead of time, write them down, and possibly even email them to your mentor in advance of your meetings. The more you prepare, the more you will get out of your meetings with your mentor.
- Take time to listen: Your mentor's responsibility is to provide you with candid criticism and guidance, some of which will be encouraging and some of which will be constructive. Listen to what your mentor has to say and think about how you can use that information to improve yourself rather than ignoring their advice or letting it make you feel bad. Listening to what your mentor has to say to you is crucial, whether or not you decide to follow their advice.
Having a mentor who can help you with learning new skills, writing a resume, creating a portfolio, job searching, getting ready for interviews, and negotiating a salary can make the process easier and improve your chances of success, especially in the tech industry.
Do you feel lost, unsure of what to do next, or simply need someone to talk to about your Data Science career goals and concerns? Schedule a free one-on-one call today with Saeed, one of the trusted experts and mentors in the field of Data Science. Mentors like him are ready to listen to you and guide you in the right direction. You can also follow him on LinkedIn.
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.