You’ve made it!
The years of hard work and gaining experience in your field has finally paid off. You’re a Data Scientist! You’re a part of an innovative, forward-thinking team working on exciting, world-changing projects. You’ve got a great salary and tasty benefits package, flexible working and not an uncomfortable suit and tie in sight. Time to put down the books and enjoy the ride? Absolutely not! Quite the opposite in fact, and here is why.
The field of Data Science is a vast landscape where possibilities for professionals are endless.
It is by no means a static profession, you can apply your skills to an array of different industries and domains, so knowledge on the area you work in is key so that you are able to derive the most valuable insights out of your data. With so many businesses hiring for and building out data science teams, it’s important that you have knowledge of the business you’re working in, or if you’re looking to move jobs - the one you’re wanting to make a move into. The job role is so much more than numbers and big data sets, it’s about contributing to the bigger picture, solving problems for businesses and individuals alike.
Continuing your education in Data Science and all related facets within the field throughout your career will benefit your working life greatly. This real-world application of your work requires constantly learning new skills, technologies, and approaches. You may have done your best work to date, but don’t think that it will be long until someone else discovers a new technique or upgrades a previous methodology.
Frameworks like Hadoop, Spark, or Flink, for example, get regular updates, so it’s key that as a Data Scientist, you keep on top of these and continue your learning of the basics of these, especially if you’re leading a team of more junior Data Scientists.
Contributing to the wider data science community will also stand you in good stead as you actively learn whilst engaging with others. Kaggle competitions are a great way to experiment and practice with Machine Learning and join in with the wider data science community. You can learn collectively whilst having the opportunity to win prize money or secure interviews for some top tech companies. As its typically done outside of work, it shows your commitment to your profession, and your ranking will exhibit your capabilities.
Another great way to join in with online communities is to start or contribute to an open source project on platforms like GitHub where you can code, manage different projects and build and contribute to building software.
You can often find absolute gems and the latest information by being part of social media communities. Follow relevant blogs, social media accounts, groups, and influencers, and they’re bound to have the latest news on their channels. Don’t just keep it digital - there are a plethora of books being published regularly on the latest tech. KDnuggets recently shared a fantastic resource on 10 free must-reads for Machine Learning and Data Science.
Keeping up to date with the latest research published at top conferences is another great way to keep your knowledge topped up, and even find real applications for your own work and business to achieve the best results. If reading isn’t your type of learning, YouTube and Ted are goldmines of videos of talks, conferences, and guides that you may find useful that you can fit in on breaks or commutes.
Learning every day will also help you stay relevant in a competitive job market. Being able to showcase a broad range of skills, and the ability to apply the latest techniques and algorithms to your work will add great value to your resume. Hiring managers for Data Science teams need to know what you can bring to the table, including your passion for the role, which is inextricably linked to self-learning and being an active contributor to the field.
What are your favourite ways to keep up to date with the latest developments in your field?