What’s one thing you can do that can completely change your career and is free?
Find yourself a mentor. Better still, find yourself two mentors!
“Mentorship is simply learning from the mistakes and mastery of a successful person in his/her field.” – Bernard Kelvin Clive
There are two components to a successful career in Data Science: your technical prowess and your ability to traverse the business world.
When you’re starting out in Data Science, learning about the broad range of Machine Learning, Deep Learning, Mathematical and Statistical models, and all the tools available to implement them, including R, Python, Julia, etc, you can feel overwhelmed with where to start, where to go and if you’re on the right path.
Who’s My Yoda?
A great way to know what to learn, how to learn it, how well your code is developing, your intuitive grasp of key concepts and algorithms, is to have a Technical Mentor guide you.
This can be a senior work colleague or someone who’s a technical leader in the field.
What better way to improve your coding than to have it reviewed by a guru, someone who can offer helpful tips and suggestions, and offer important ways to take your coding to the next level.
They can also help you gain the all important intuitive understanding behind key fundamental algorithms and concepts, and help push you to learn more advanced ideas.
If your coding mentor doesn’t have the relevant knowledge of the mathematics/statistics to help with this, then you may need an additional mentor. The more the merrier! It’s an invaluable way to learn the ropes, boost your learning and push beyond any limitations.
Once you feel that your technical skills are on track, you should also find yourself a business mentor, someone that can help you traverse the invaluable world of networking, knowing how to build and structure your career progression, and help advise on what roles to take and which to let go.
As a Data Scientist, these skills can be difficult to acquire and make the most of. Having someone who is experienced and excels at this, and is willing to take you under their wing, can drastically change the career path you take and the the opportunities that are presented to you.
Try find people that you respect and share the same values with, people that have time and are eager to assist, and people who will offer constructive feedback.
The onus is on you to respect their busy schedules, do the ground work in setting up meetings, and have realistic expectations of their time and the assistance they can offer.