How do data science freelancers grab the attention of companies, successfully network with hiring agencies and find work?
The market for freelancers has expanded considerably over the past decade, and this rings true for India as well. According to a report, there are 15 million freelancers in this country as of now, and this number is likely to double by 2023. This trend is attested by LinkedIn, which has seen a spike in the number of freelancers registering on its platform, signalling a higher preference by companies for independent contractors over employees.
Coming specifically to data science freelancers, the draw of a flexible work schedule with high pay is pulling them to this market in droves. Although this indicates an increased level of competition, it also means greater scope to find more work.
How do aspiring data scientists grab the attention of companies, successfully network with hiring agencies and find work as freelancers?
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A good place to start would be to create a profile on freelancer directories. These platforms not only receive a lot of traffic from potential employers but also help data scientists grow their professional networks and are thus, vital to their job prospects.
However, before you progress to this step, it is critical that you first identify your niche and build a portfolio around it. For tips on how to differentiate yourself from your peers in this community, peruse through this. Only after you have built your brand should you actively look for work. Here are the top three websites where freelance data scientists can find jobs:-
Having merged with popular freelance platform Elance, Upwork is highly sought after and has emerged as a familiar name in the freelancer industry today. It boasts of high quality and quantity of data science job postings, which users can access by simply browsing through and applying for the ones that best suit them. With over 5 million businesses listed on the platform — including Microsoft, GE and Netflix — it offers you an opportunity to get yourself noticed by these top companies.
You can get started by signing up for an account – for free. Applicants are expected to submit a cover letter and create a profile outlining their skills and experience.
Alternatively, it also connects freelance professionals to businesses seeking specialised talent. That is, it gives companies an opportunity to connect with independent professionals and engage with them on their own terms. How? After selecting the type of data science and analytics work — be it data mining, data extraction or data visualisation — they select the estimated scope of work and project duration, and thereafter, connect with qualified talent from a pool of professionals who have been reviewed by peer companies. What is recruiting agencies can also update or modify their requirements at any time to find the right talent.
This exclusive network of freelance professionals connects talent with relevant companies. With listings from top companies and startups, including Morgan Stanley, SpaceX, Airbnb, Zendesk, and HP, the platform claims to admit only the best ‘3% of applicants’ into its directory. This includes an evaluation on the basis of language and personality, in-depth skill reviews, live screening, and test projects — typically conducted over one to three weeks. What is more, you also need to pass an interview, and the entire application process typically takes about a month to complete.
Although the rigorous screening and vetting process would make it challenging for data science candidates, if accepted, it assures you world-class job openings and a chance to work with some of the best companies in the world.
Data Science Central
This online resource is meant for big data practitioners where they can get access to helpful resources, including book recommendations, webinars, useful blog posts, tutorials, discussion forums, networking events, and industry job opportunities.
Users can browse for jobs by category and location, and select from a list of openings relevant to them.
Data Science Stack Exchange
Although not a straightforward job listings site, this forum is meant for data scientists and machine learning specialists to network with each other and a channel for them to get indirect leads. It is essentially a Q&A site that provides a great resource for both data science experts and enthusiasts. Much like Quora, anybody can ask questions – or provide answers – and the best answers are voted up by users.
By joining this online startup community, data scientists can filter their search to find top startups – from seed to post-IPO – and apply to over 1,00,000 tech jobs with just one application. What is more, users can also see the salary and equity upfront.
You can begin by creating a profile and clicking ‘Jobs’ off of the main navigation menu. By selecting the filters ‘Data Scientist’ and ‘Contract’, you can narrow down your search and find openings relevant to your interests and skill sets.
This growing network of entrepreneurs can be the perfect resource for data science freelancers seeking advice on jobs to get relevant leads. Moreover, the platform can connect you to people with similar interests, some of whom may be looking for consultants to work with.
Users need to register as an entrepreneur. After that, they can look for entrepreneurs and filter their search by looking for those with a background in data science. With further exploration, you may find entrepreneurs looking for someone with your skill sets, whom you can message directly.