Career Advice From a Principal Data Scientist
By: Olivia Fallen, Career & Industry Specialist
What are some of the top skills needed to be successful in this field?
It honestly varies from company to company however some of the general ones are being mathematically inclined, analytical, coding, and knowing how to pull, store, and manipulate data. Additionally, one skill that most people overlook is having business acumen. You will be a lot more marketable if you understand how a business operates in addition to the technical and scientific aspects.
Regarding some of the “hard” skills, it’s important for students to have a working knowledge in python, machine learning, and software engineering.
What do you think is one of the biggest mistakes students make in the job search process?
They think that they have to know everything. I’ve hired some students that did terribly on the technical test in the interview and equally didn’t hire someone that aced that portion. It’s okay to miss a few problems. Additionally, it’s important to be yourself. While the interviewer wants to know that you’re capable of doing the job, they also want to know that they would enjoy working with you.
What is the best professional advice you’ve received?
The best professional advice I’ve received is to always be learning. I have a pretty long commute into San Francisco and I spend most of that time reading articles. Also, when you’re assigned what is seemingly a mundane task, work to find something interesting in it. Earlier in my career, I was offered to work on a project that I immediately dismissed because I thought it was boring. Then, my colleague took on the project and explained it to me in more depth and it was actually way cooler than I had originally thought. Had I been more curious, interested, and investigative in the first place, I wouldn’t have passed over such an incredible opportunity.