By David Penhearow
I look after the careers advice element here at Pivigo, for S2DS fellows, Alumni and data scientists of all walks of life and I thoroughly enjoy supporting you all in your career journeys. I am pleased to say that already this year, several S2DS Fellows have secured new data science jobs in exciting companies looking to harness the power that can be found through data science. Well done!
For those needing a little more motivation and guidance, here are a few pointers to consider when kicking-off a job search; whether it’s your first foray into the job market or if you are a seasoned professional at the game.
Happy versus challenged
Whether you’ll be happy is, of course, one of the most important aspects to consider when you first start at a company. And rightly so. Work takes up a significant portion of your time and affects everything else you do in life (have you every dreamt about your work? I do!). But is it a good enough reason to stay in the long term? Maybe. It all depends on what your long terms goals are and whether your role is taking you closer towards them. If you are not being challenged, it is unlikely that you are adding value to your profile.
Who dares, wins!
Sometimes the saddest, (and most frustrating), aspect of my role is watching someone miss out on a great opportunity by their own account. Of course, I can’t possibly know what is best for a certain individual, but I often do get a broad overview of what is possible with someone’s CV on the market. Often options are missed when people are more tentative about their search. So, if you have that niggly feeling that you should spread your wings, commit yourself to giving 100% to the process. Even if you are unsure, do ensure that you present yourself in the best way possible, whether that’s writing your CV or on a final round interview. This ties into networking, which should be a constant in everyone’s mind. You never know when in the future someone may be able to influence your career. Also, a tentative search and interview now may have a negative impact on a potential employer in any future interactions.
I want to believe…
I find that data scientists are very modest people. There can be a fine line between embellishing and boasting, but make sure you never undersell yourself. Believe in yourself and your achievements! There are ways to compare yourself against your peers. Pivigo’s new hub for data scientists is an example of where you can challenge yourself and get a better understanding of where your skills sit in the community. A lot of companies I speak to, and particularly start-up founders, put a lot more emphasis on personality and team fit. At the end of the day, technical skills can be taught, but someone’s mindset and personality aren’t as easy to mould. If you do feel that you are not as strong in one aspect on your CV, have enough belief that you can overcome this with other aspects that you can bring to the company. After all, data science jobs and their role specifications are often just wish lists.
There will always be trade-offs when comparing one company or role with another. How material to you is one benefit over another? What status does this give you? Does the job title matter? The path to the pinnacle of your career isn’t necessarily going to be a smooth one. More experiences are always going to benefit your career in the long-run, perhaps even in ways you never initially anticipated. You may have to take a few sideways steps, and maybe even one back, before you can step-up. Moving to a company that doesn’t give you free office cookies (as we have at Pivigo) may be worth it in the long run!
Move on up
There is no reason why all the points mentioned above can’t apply to switching roles within the same company. Promotion, or increased responsibility within a company, will be a great addition to anyone’s profile. Your colleagues are also stakeholders in your career and are perhaps the easiest to influence within your network. When the internal politics allow, make sure your manager knows and has bought into your long-term career ambitions.
As always, I am here to answer any questions you may have, especially regarding data science jobs! Get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org.