In the current era, there has been an increasing demand for data scientists. And, considering the demand is high, it has been extremely difficult for data scientists to get a desiring job. Companies nowadays are expecting their data scientists to have a superior set of skills and knowledge of various tools, in order to stand out in the market. This can be challenging for data scientists unless they get guidance from someone expert from the industry who knows the business ground reality and can guide newcomers.
Oftentimes, data science aspirants plan their career by reading online articles, talking to their peers or by following other professionals. Although these strategies might deliver results for some, it can lead to a lot of failures as well. Mentorship has proved to have many benefits for data science professionals. For amateur data scientists, mentoring can make up for their knowledge gap, and for data science professionals, it can improve their skills and core understanding of the industry.
Self-learning can help you to a certain extent, but it is essential to have guidance from experienced professionals to upskill yourself and make yourself industry-ready.
Bastin Robin, a chief data scientist at CleverInsight, once said in an interview, “One can succeed by solely depending on their understanding and taking decisions accordingly, but a mentor can assist in reducing the number of roadblocks one would hit otherwise.”
Why would one need mentorship in data science?
- A mentor will help data science enthusiasts stay motivated and guide them along their career path.
- A mentor will fill the knowledge gap and help aspirants understand the core of the industry.
- A mentor can explain how amateur data scientists can fit into their team and how their analytics efforts will pay off in the organisation.
- Mentorship can help aspirants analyse their progress and help them upskill accordingly.
- Mentors can also help you connect with potential job opportunities with their expert network in the industry.
In short, a good mentorship will help aspirants work on their progress by providing continuous feedback along with constructive criticism. Such guidance can help in handholding newcomers with their data science journey. However, in this competitive landscape, it is difficult to get an excellent mentor to enhance your data science career. Here are a few ways one can find a good data science mentor:
Free online communities
Joining online communities can help data science aspirants be in constant touch with professionals in the industry. Platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, among others, have several online communities for aspiring data scientists. By joining these communities, aspirants can not only be updated on recent trends but can also get knowledge by engaging in different data science communities.
One can also follow professionals and data science experts on these platforms to get real-time knowledge of the industry and can also have the possibility to reach out directly to potential mentors. Also, aspirants can share their work on these platforms, which will help them network with other professionals and find possible mentorship.
Additionally, there are free mentorship circles or community-based programs, which are usually designed to encourage and support aspiring data scientists. Aspirants and working professionals can join these platforms as mentees, which will provide them access to an extensive network of data science professionals. These platforms allow them to connect one-on-one with an appropriate mentor, who can guide them through their data science journey. One such program – AIM Mentoring Circle – was launched by Analytics India Magazine to encourage and support mutually beneficial, long-standing relationships between data scientists.
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Networking in tech conferences
Networking events and conferences also have been a great way of connecting with potential data science mentors. These tech conferences and events hold technical sessions, and therefore a lot of experts attend these conferences, which, in turn, provides immense opportunities for young aspirants to get a hold of them and approach for suitable mentorship. Usually, it can be uncomfortable to approach a stranger for mentorship. However, a tech conference or data science meetup can help aspirants find a mentor without going too far out of their comfort zone.
Alongside this, several organisations are arranging virtual conferences for data scientists, which could be another opportunity for aspirants to get in touch with professionals at the comfort of their home. Analytics India Magazine has recently launched their virtual conference – plugin – where people can not only attend various sessions conducted by industry experts but also network with panellists and speakers and set up meetings privately.
Joining data science courses
One of the proven ways to get mentored by professionals and experts of the sector is by enrolling for a data science course. Sometimes it gets difficult for aspirants to find the right mentor, but a data science course will not only provide necessary knowledge about tools but also provide one-on-one guidance on aspirants’ data science journey.
These data science courses provide hands-on training with personalised attention to every student. Some institutions also offer instructor-led live online training sessions for individual students. In fact, due to the COVID-19 lockdown, various ed-tech firms have made some of their data science courses free to support aspirants who wish to learn cutting-edge technologies. Some of these free courses provide one-on-one mentorship, in-depth project reviews and access to a community of like-minded people as well.
Participating in hackathons & boot camps
Aspirants should also participate in hackathons and boot camps to showcase their talent. Hackathons and boot camps provide hands-on training and are the best ways for aspirants to get a comprehensive knowledge of the subject. By continuously participating in these programs aspirants will stay abreast with recent trends and business problems of the market. And can learn new ways to solve them with the help of experts.
Moreover, hackathons have proven to be an exciting way to demonstrate skills while competing with the best programmers in the domain. With the help of these initiatives, aspirants also get a chance to learn through peer-to-peer networking. Being a part of boot camps and participating in hackathons will be beneficial for aspirants willing to start a career in the space of data science. It not only enhances their skill sets but also adds a lot of value to their resume. One such platform is the MachineHack by Analytics India Magazine. This online platform hosts the toughest business problems which can be solved using machine learning and data science techniques.
Workplace mentoring and training sessions at work are some other great ways to get one-on-one guidance in the industry. As the demand for data science is increasing, organisations, to keep up their pace, are now arranging workplace mentorship programs and training sessions to support their employees with necessary skills.
This can be even more challenging for newcomers in the data science space and therefore, to make it easier, organisations are also arranging meetups and mentorship programs for their fresh recruitments. For organisations, having a mentorship program can not only help in enhancing the teamwork between employees but also help in upskilling their employees for this dynamic world, which in turn, benefits the bottom line of the organisation. Such initiatives will help young aspirants, and newcomers get a real view of the business.
There are many benefits of having mentorship in the data science space. Having a mentor can help aspiring data scientists, newcomers as well as professionals of the industry in understanding the market, defining their career goals, and upskilling themselves.
To get mentors assistance, you can register in the ‘AIM one-on-one mentorship network’.
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Sejuti currently works as Senior Technology Journalist at Analytics India Magazine (AIM). Reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org