You are a data scientist if you help turn data into decisions. This may be a non-glamorous excel sheet, Python or R, or writing one more query to your RDBMS. Data to Decisions is the key. Don’t turn data into just one more Powerpoint or one more spreadsheet for management to say hmm, interesting and then ignore. Be a data scientist for the next epoch not just for surviving the next meeting.
Don’t believe what they told you in Harvard Business Review on competing on analytics. I am trying to talk you into competing within analytics.
Learn one new thing a day. This may be trick in coding, a function in R or a library in Python. Read a lot of technical blogs. Write one blog post a week. Clarity of thought is only proved when you can write clear words. Blogging is a great way to build your personal brand.
You are not a data scientist if you are in the middle of Drew Conway’s Venn Diagram, that lovely impossible sweet zone of being balanced in business, coding, and math. You are a data scientist if the world acknowledges you as one.
So do those free courses or MOOCs, and do those hackathon contests, but write one blog post a week and learn seven new things in data science in a week. Learning one thing every day. That’s just it. Look at babies. They learn so many things rapidly.
Suspend your cynicsm and your greed for a year or two. Focus on the knowledge. Knowledge shall set you free, but getting paid is what makes you rich. People pay data scientists for their skills, but also their branding. No one wants to lose their job because they hired a sexy data scientist. Help your client or your boss look good in front of their bosses and clients. The one way you can do that is excellence.
Like Bill and Ted, focus on your excellent adventure in data science. Tools- check. Techniques -check. Business reading- check. Blogging-double check. Make a checklist of things you need to learn every day, every week, every month, every year.
Go to meetups, you putz. Dont just sit home on the weekend. Go shake hands with your fellow data scientists. Only way you can beat them is learning more things faster, being branded as a better data scientist by your writing and social media, and finally by being known in the data science fraternity as the person to go to when stuck.
Data scientists are fire fighters with code. Fight the fire in the business and a day will come when they celebrate you as a hero. Put in 10,000 hours of practise in data science. Start from giving half an hour to blogging every week, and half an hour to reading about code and techniques every day.
You give nine hours to the job, two hours to your commute, three hours to the family. You even give six hours of sleep as your brain reboots. Give yourself half an hour.
No one sees the invisible fire fighter. No one sees the man who knows a lot but is too shy to explain , share or give away a part of his code, his knowledge and his wisdom.
Code well. Dig Data Hard. In the future everything related to a decision will have a data scientist lurking somewhere. Be the guy they trust for decision making assistance.
Dont try to maximize your brilliance in your go to visible efforts, instead focus on minimizing your incompetence. Curious people often find solutions wise men overlook . What made DJ Patil, Hillary Mason, Hadley Wickham celebrated data scientists. Not just Their ability to learn and create, but also their ability to expand and share their learning. Surely you can share some stuff and improve your visibility.