“One of my favorite things about this industry is: if you like to learn, you can keep learning each and every day for the rest of your life,” said Springboard mentor and data scientist David Yakobovitch at our recent New York City meetup.
In that spirit, we wanted to share highlights from the panel, which covered networking, interviewing, and more.
“You’re as strong as your network.”
David shared an example of how surprising the development of your professional network can be.
“One of my friends from high school, this is now dating myself so much, but we go back a long time, and for a different cause—nothing to do with tech or startups—we met this summer in Washington for March for Our Lives—we’re both organizers for that movement. Well, it ended up being that he’s running Halcyon House in D.C., the number one nonprofit startup space, and I was doing some work with AngelHack and it’s just minds coming together. I don’t look at his LinkedIn every day to know that, but we found out and it was: wow, how cool, how could we work together?”
“I wish I had stuck with that.”
Rich Wolff, a Data Science Career Track alum now working as a data scientist, said his one regret from his early days transitioning into data science was not being more consistent about attending community gatherings.
“When I started my journey, I started to go to a couple of meetups—data science meetups—and I kind of fell off that wagon.”
Find the magic number.
Attend as many events as you can—within reason, David suggested. “I wouldn’t say go to 20 a week—then you’re not spending time studying and learning and growing your craft. But if you can get to two or three a week, I think that would be a win,” he said.
“Speak to everyone.”
“Don’t be afraid to talk to anyone that shows even the slightest sign of affinity for what you do,” Rich said. “I was on a flight going to Kentucky and I saw someone with ‘Automate the Boring Stuff With Python‘ and I struck up a conversation with him and we worked on a little project to help him get up to faster speed than what he was. He was just in finance and wanted to get into that exploratory data analysis world.”
In major tech hubs like New York and San Francisco, there are startups and larger companies that open their doors to data scientists regularly. Take advantage of these opportunities, suggested David.
“A ton of these startups will invite you for free lunch on Thursdays or Fridays with their team, with the data scientists. So you can reach out, have free lunch, have coffee, go to their happy hours,” he said.
“If you don’t ask, you don’t know.”
Springboard career coach Allison McLean pointed out that Rich is the subject of one of the stories she often shares with students she advises. He was inspired to reach out to the director of data science at Etsy after listening to him on a podcast. The two eventually met for coffee, simply because Rich decided to give it a shot and ask to meet up.
“Don’t be afraid to reach out,” Allison said.
The panel offered plenty of other advice, including how to keep up with all the new developments in data science (without feeling overwhelmed) and how to nail a data science interview. Watch the full panel here:
We’re planning to hold more of these meetups in 2019, so stay tuned!
For more career-focused guidance, check out Springboard’s Data Science Career Track, a mentor-led bootcamp with a job guarantee.