Your journey of becoming a data scientist only begins when you graduate with a data science specialization. The ‘scientist’ in Data Scientist is not easy to achieve. It takes a lot of practice and experience to gain that status. And the preparations should start quite early. There are a lot of resources to help you get better at the tools and the techniques, but being a data scientist takes a little more than just those. So, let us look at some observations made by successful data scientists and see how you can apply yourself differently to stand out in this highly competitive field.
Writing code for others
A lot of experts maintain that students, in the years of college, write code for projects they need to submit to get marks. That code is read by professors or peers. They never really learn how to write some code, design some algorithm, or model, for others to see. They do not strive to achieve the simplest form of a solution. The code still might work, but the coder fails to take others on board. Data science is a team game. You have to work for and with others. Colleges do not teach that. This is something you need to learn along the way with experience. Start by trying to code for others.
Focusing on the job
No data scientist knows everything. Each one of them specialize at some tool or technique. What characterizes them is the fervor for learning. So, in order to be a successful data scientist you need to figure out what your job really needs. The focus should be on the problem you want to solve rather than what you are good at. If they concur, it is a win win situation for you, if they do not, you must be ready to learn.
Understanding that there is more to data science than training algorithms
According to most data scientists training a machine learning algorithm is just half the job. The trick to success in data science lies in the data itself. Bad data produces bad results even if the algorithms are on point. Cleaning and organizing the data is a very important part of a data scientist’s daily living. Even if you have a team of analysts cleaning your data for you, you should actively participate in guiding them.
This part of a data scientist’s job is often ignored. But any successful data science professional will tell you that effective communication is a key element in their success story. Data scientists work with a lot of people who are not from computer science backgrounds. Briefing non-technical co-workers and stakeholders on your plans or models takes storytelling skills. Organizing your findings in a way that is comprehensible by all is not a very easy thing to do.
Adding value to the business
The best of the data scientists mind the business they serve. They are driven to add value to the business with their work. All the complex techniques and state of the art technologies mean nothing unless they have an impact on business. Data scientists who understand this and work in that way are the most sought after.
Being familiar with software engineering principles
The business world needs fast solutions with passable accuracy as opposed to meticulously designed accurate models. Data science professionals create rag tag statistical models which are then prepared for scalability by software engineers. Data science professionals who are familiar with the principles of software engineering can make the process smoother.
Every list of tips given by senior data scientists to aspirants starts with the advice of learning new things consistently and continuously. You can never fall out of the reading habit. You can always take up a data science online course if you do not have time for physical training. There is something new happening in the data science world every day. Do not let yourself fall short.
These were some tips that experts extend towards interested aspirants. You can follow in their footsteps or design your own practices. Just remember that organization is the key to success in this field. Once you establish yourself as a reliable data science professional, it will start raining opportunities because there is still an acute gap in demand and supply. Be the best you can, focus on the soft skills as much as on the hard skills, learn consistently and you will be good to go.