To start this post, I want to thank everyone in this group who has helped make the IBM Data Science Community one of the largest and fastest-growing at IBM. We at IBM cherish the opportunity to speak to our clients and partners directly, and we hope, in turn, that we have helped you solve some of your most pressing problems and facilitated your ability to collaborate and network.
Since the inception of this Community, a recurring thread of interest has been around advice for data scientists at different steps along the way of their career journey. Accordingly, I'm excited to announce the new IBM Data Science Community Career Corner! Throughout the year, we will post threads here with career advice from some of the most seasoned data scientists in our Community. I encourage you to ask more questions of our experts and to provide any questions you'd like us to dive further into in future installments! Additionally, if you see a question posted here that you feel you could contribute to answering, please jump in!
Our first expert is IBM Champion, John Hassman. @John Hassman currently works at AbbVie as an Analytics Leader in the Customer Analytics Center Team. He has held various executive-level analytics roles across multiple industries and has over 20 years' experience leading analytics teams.
-If you could go back in time and give yourself advice as your first started your career, what would you tell yourself?
One piece of advice I would give myself if I were starting my career again, would be to spend more time networking and keeping in touch with work colleagues. This should start even before you are working, take time to make connections, and keep the contact information of people who are interviewing you for roles, even if you do not end up taking/getting the jobs. The phrase its' a small world is true.
-What advice would give someone today who is just starting their data science career journey?
In terms of starting your data science career today, I would be open to the type of industry you are willing to consider. In my experience data skills are transferable across industries and you can build up your work experience across any industry. When you are interviewing make sure you highlight how you uncovered insights and made recommendations, you can use these skills in any role.
-If you were to list the top three skills you would look for when hiring a data scientist, what would they be?
When I look to add additional analytics team members, I like to focus on three things:
1. Critical Thinking – How well can you uncover insights? Do you ask detailed questions and approach a problem by looking at all the data available to you?
2. Communication/Presentation Skills – Can you explain why your insights are important? How do they impact the business and help unlock value?
3. Analytics Skills – In my experience I have found great analysts from a wide range of backgrounds. Engineering backgrounds (chemical, mechanical, etc.) often make great analytics professionals as do those with a financial background. A passion for numbers and looking for patterns/uncovering trends is always a great starting place.