Saturday, March 18, 2017

Becoming a Data Scientist - Part 2

Wow, thanks for the out pouring of advice and help.  A special thank you to Ryan Herr who is a Data Scientist!  Follow him on Twitter at @rrherr, I really appreciate the help!!!  Whenever you are moving into a new field, one of the fastest ways to achieve your goal is to find a mentor.  I know several people from work and online who are currently Data Scientists or have been in the past.  Find people online who can be a mentor to you or who you can follow.  Here are some basic things I am doing and recommend so far:

Listen to podcasts on the way to work:  

My commute is 25 minutes each way so I should be able to get through all or most of these podcasts in a month without too much effort.


I have started Data Quest and highly recommend it, it's like an online Data Science boot camp.  One thing I would like to note.  I used to be supportive of coding bootcamps back in 2012 - 2014, I am no longer supportive of coding bootcamps.  The reason being there is a glut of  "junior developers" on the market because of all the coding bootcamps who constantly "churn" them out.  In any new field which is in constant change, there is a huge opportunity for people who are less qualified to break into the field.  This is what it was like from 2012 - 2014 with coding bootcamps, if  you went to a bootcamp you could easily land a job afterwards.  That is not the case anymore, there are literally hundreds of people all applying for the same junior dev job. Most with virtually all have the same story: "I attended a coding bootcamp".  This is not a good way to stand out from the crowd anymore, in fact it almost makes you "unremarkable".

The reason I am doing DataQuest is that the data science field is still very new, and there are no clear paths on how to get hired as a Data Scientist.  Basically in my mind the data science field feels very much like trying to get a junior dev job back in 2011 - 2012.  It's hard because there is no clear path, but it's also very freeing because no one can tell who is truly "qualified" or not.  This is why I am trying DataQuest, I feel like they have a pretty good path ( so far ) that gently introduces you to data science topics.  I think 5 years from now there will be 100 data science bootcamps and everyone will be telling you to attend!

I have always thought and have done the following:

"Don't do what everyone else is doing.  If everyone is doing something then do the opposite"

Also I look at trends and which jobs are getting outsourced or are easier to outsource.  I also know that the reason brain surgeons make so much money is because they are hard to replace.  Not many people can do what a brain surgeon does, brain surgery is a real skill.  The tech field is the same way, the more people who have a certain skill the lower the income, and the easier to outsource the job.  I also believe in doing something that I am passionate about and enjoy doing, it's not only about which job makes the most money.  You need to enjoy what you are doing, this is the reason I am not interested in becoming a Javascript developer, I simply do not enjoy using Javascript.  I was a mid level software engineer in testing for 6 months and realized it wasn't for me.

The whole key it to learn the basics of programming, once you do there are so many different opportunities for jobs out there!  Spend at least an hour every day learning something new in the tech field, for me it is data science.  Get moving peeps, you can do this!!! :-)