How Blogging and Making YouTube Videos Landed Me the Best Job
I’ve been blogging and making videos about data science for a few years now. When I first started producing, circa 2014, I was surprised by the amount of interest and positive comments they generated. Data science was a bit different back then and hardly any schools offered applied programs around that subject. For those wanting in, the barrier to entry was low but so was the amount of material to get in. That said, today, that barrier is still relatively low, and the industry is still desperate for talent and experience.
Passion Is Great but Proof Is Better
Passion is a great driver but padding that with some proof can sometimes drive you much further. Proof is a subjective measure at the whims of strangers, but once it is given, the rewards can surprise you. And, thankfully, when you’re really into something, sharing it to the world is reward enough — all the extras are just more icing on the cake.
Where You Live Matters, or Does It?
Unlike San Francisco, NYC, or Seattle, I lived in an area where applied data science master groups weren’t plentiful. Not having access to these advanced networking circles, you would naturally gravitate online and follow or create digital ones. And that’s what I did, my virtual community grew along with my digital network.
I was too excited about the nascent field of applied data science and machine learning that I couldn’t shut-up about it. As my community was mostly online, it came out in the form of blog posts and YouTube videos. Every new thing I learned, I wrote about it and posted it online. Once worried about finding topics, it quickly became apparent that triage was going to be necessary to sort through the waterfall of ideas flowing. Once worried that people would laugh at some of my naive stories, the thanks, and encouragement I received made that point moot. Remember, there will always be people ahead and behind you, and those behind you really appreciate reading about what lies just a few steps ahead.
I did go a little overboard and got into green screens, lights, even a teleprompter. I quickly downgraded back to the core minimum to not waste time on trappings and focus entirely on content.
Finding that fantastic job was a bit of a back thought, nice to daydream about. Actually, I also really liked the job I was holding at the time. I was contemplating starting my own venture. See, I live in Portland, Oregon, where leadership jobs in data science aren’t as plentiful than in the other areas mentioned earlier. In this town, if you want to shortcut your jump you have to be crafty and either work remotely, invent your own ride or relocate.
From Passion to Thought Leader
A thought leader is a buzzy word these days but it fits. Eventually, people reached out to collaborate, some to offer their services and others looking to hire me.
And it happened, I started collaborating with a few startups and a special relationship grew with one of them.
In a lot of ways, it played out exactly as I had imagined. I would get my leadership job, a rarity in this neck-of-the-woods. Got the pleasure of getting involved in a small startup and seeing it grow 10-fold. And best of all, I got to cook in the kitchen, along with the founders, without leaving my home turf.
One more tip, and that’s what I love about Medium, there’s always a practical gift or two buried in there. Here is mine, I keep my Linkedin profile up-to-date with all the buzzwords you can imagine and the highlights that intersect well with what is hot in the industry. The one thing I put on Linkedin that I think clinched the deal, was adding the following sentence in the headline field:
“If you need a CDS, ping me”
CDS stands for ‘Chief Data Scientist’. You need to let the world know what you’re looking for and by using a discreet abbreviation made it feel like a secret handshake.
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