In September 2019, I decided to pursue a data science master’s degree from the University of Denver. I wasn’t sure if investing 2 years of my time and money would actually help me reach my goal of becoming a data scientist. There were several other options, such as attending a bootcamp instead of a graduate degree, but after some research, I concluded that pursuing a graduate degree would put me into a better position for reaching my goal. This article will break down what helped me break into the data science industry in 2021 and how I went from being a graduate student to receiving a full-time offer before graduating. I hope that this article will help current students because, from my experiences, just graduating with an MS is simply not enough to break into the industry. It takes more than just receiving the piece of paper!
First things first, master the fundamentals. My graduate program was a two-year program, and for the first year, my goal was to learn as much as possible. After completing half the courses, I felt comfortable enough to start working on side projects and present my work on the internet. I put all my projects on my GitHub profile and also wrote articles about my projects. The ultimate goal was to have a good enough portfolio to showcase what I am capable of creating. Before attending graduate school, I didn’t have any data science experience, so I had to create my own experiences. If you are curious about how to create a great data science portfolio, feel free to check out my article below.
This point is probably one of the biggest pieces of advice I can give to aspiring data scientists. Getting involved in the data science community early helps you learn more about the field and meet experienced data scientists who can provide you with valuable insights and career advice. What I did, for example, is follow experienced data scientists on YouTube and listen to popular data science podcasts to learn from the professionals in our industry. Joining the #66daysofdata challenge initiated by Ken Jee helped me meet many more aspiring data scientists, and posting my daily updates on social media helped my personal branding. If you want to learn more, who to follow on YouTube, and which podcasts to listen to, please check out the two articles I wrote.
During the last quarter…
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