A word of advice to help you get your first data science job

data science job

A word of advice to help you get your first data science job

Creativity, grit, and perseverance will become the three words you live by

Whether you’re a new graduate, someone looking for a career change, or a cat similar to the one above, the data science field is full of jobs that tick nearly every box on the modern worker’s checklist. Working in data science gives you the opportunity to have job security, a high-paying salary with room for advancement, and the ability to work from anywhere in the world. Basically, working in data science is a no-brainer for those interested.

However, during the dreaded job search, many of us run into a situation where experience is required to be hired while in order to gain experience you need to be hired first...

Pretty familiar, right?

Having run into many situations myself where companies are often looking for candidates with 20 years of work experience before the age of 22, I understand the aggravation that comes with trying to look for a job when you’re a new graduate, someone looking for a career change, or even a cat, with no relevant work experience.

However, this is no reason to become discouraged. While many data science jobs require work experience, there are plenty of ways to create your own work experience that will make you an eligible candidate for these careers.

All you need is a little creativity, grit, and perseverance.

It’s not about what you know. It’s about who you know and who knows you.

In countries similar to Canada where having some form of university qualification is becoming the norm (in 2016, 54% of Canadians aged 25 to 64 had a college or university certification), it’s now no longer about what you know. Instead, it’s about who you know and who knows you.

Google “the importance of networking”, and you will be flooded with articles from all the major players (Forbes, Huffington Post, Indeed, etc.) on why networking is one of the most important things you can do for your career. Forbes says it best:

“Networking is not only about trading information, but also serves as an avenue to create long-term relationships with mutual benefits.” — Bianca Miller Cole, Forbes

While networking is a phenomenal way to get insider knowledge on how to become successful in a particular career, it can also serve as a mutually beneficial relationship later on down the road.

I got my first job in tech by maintaining a relationship with a university colleague. We met as a result of being teamed up for our final four-month-long practicum. After graduation, we kept in touch. Almost two years later, I got a message saying that the company they work for is interested in hiring me to do some work for them. Thanks to maintaining that relationship, I managed to score my first job after graduation with no work experience thanks to my colleague putting my name forward.

In other words, it’s important to make a few acquaintances while you’re going through university, to attend networking events and actually talk to people there, and to put yourself out there so recruiters begin to know your name.