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Should Data Scientists Offer Their Skills For Free?

Should Data Scientists Offer Their Skills For Free?


Data Science is one of those domains that is growing at a breakneck speed. However, the industry is in the need for more skilled professionals. Being a vast domain, the number of professionals is less compared to other technology domain. This also means that if you are you are a data scientist, you are in high demand and you are a part of a community of people who has the superpowers of extracting meaningful insights out of scattered data.



However, there is a question that has emerged in the world of Data Science — while experts from other technological fields are offering their skills for free to the ones in need, should data scientists also do the same? The answer is something that cannot be flagged as a ‘no’ or a ‘yes’ as it completely depends on the person. So, there are a few points we would like to put out why and why not it is okay for data scientists to work for free.

Why It’s Okay To Offer You Data Science Skills For Free

Work For A New Skill

When we say working for free, it is not exactly free all the time. There are instances when we are offered something else rather than money. So, this concept also goes well with data science. If you are a data scientist and you lack a certain skill, you can always look for unpaid internships where you can get a chance to work and learn.  So, this is a win-win — instead of investing money on a course or class, you are investing your skills to gain new skills.

Get Noticed In The Industry By Helping NewBorn Companies

You must be thinking about why one should help startups or newborn companies for free? This is more of a strategy to achieve your long term goal. When you help startups and newborn companies for free, you are basically paving a path for yourself to get noticed. Being a data scientist, working on online projects is one thing, but when you work on real-life projects and deliver value, you start to become a significant member of the community.

So help as many startups as you can. The more you use your skills to help others, the more they spread the word and the more you start to get noticed. And when you reach a level of where you work becomes the talk of the town, maybe then you can think of monetizing your data science skills (however, it completely depends on you).

If You Are Working For Free, Work For A Cause

While organisations who are making a huge amount of money might use your skills for their benefit, there is one more field where you can offer your skills for a cause. If you are a data scientist with a significant amount of knowledge, you can always provide free classes to students who cannot afford to take up a course or classes. You don’t have to teach a huge bunch of students; you can always do your research and pick up students you think are really passionate about data science.

Also, if you still want to deliver your knowledge to a wider base, you can start a blog and publish lessons and tutorials.  

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Do Not Undersell Your Skills For Free, Set A Value To It

Data science is a lucrative and expensive domain. Not every technology enthusiast can become a data scientist. It requires a tremendous amount of know-how to become an expert in this domain. So, when you start gaining a public profile by offering your skills for free to a number of organisations, other companies tend to reach out to you with their data science problem as they would like to get the work done for free or less, rather than spending a huge amount of money of hiring data scientists. And to be brutally honest, if you keep doing it for free, you won’t be able to make a living out of it.

You just can’t deny the fact that no matter how much we say that money is not everything, at one point in time you need money for your bread and butter and to pay your bills. So, when you are offering your skills, make sure you do it for a certain amount of time and then start monetizing it and set a

Word to the wise: When you are struggling initially, work for free. But when you gain momentum and thrive, know the worth of your skills and set a significant value to it.


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