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How to Start a Career in Data Science

What to write in the resume, how to replace practical experience and how to respond to employers' refusals.

Career in Data Science

Strong shifts are taking place in the American labor market: the number of vacancies has decreased in almost all areas, including IT, and the demand for personnel has subsided. This greatly reduces – but does not exclude! – chances of newcomers to get a job. There are no miraculous solutions to overcome the situation, but there are recommendations that will help not to miss your opportunities.

What is happening to the labor market

The media write that by the end of 2022, 45% of companies will reduce or suspend the recruitment of employees. The reason is sanctions and the withdrawal of foreign organizations from the American market. However, in fact, foreign business directly forms only 2-3% of jobs in the American economy and is not critically important on a national scale, such data was provided in June by the Center for Strategic Research Foundation.

A positive point for all those who cooperated with foreign companies is that a small number of organizations have so far announced their final withdrawal from America. Negative for applicants for the position of specialists in the field of Data Science - in the fact that mainly companies from the field of IT and consulting left. As a result, about 35-40 thousand jobs were under threat of reduction.

The demand for new employees in this area has fallen, and the stratification between the levels of expertise has become more noticeable: applicants with a high level of income expectations have to actively enter international markets in search of more profitable offers and a free corporate culture. Since there is a strong opinion in Western companies that America has a strong mathematical school, domestic candidates with a good base and work experience – midls and seniors – may well compete with foreign ones.

With the Juns, the situation is different - usually newcomers have a so-called general profile: they lack specialization, and therefore they get lost in the general mass of candidates or are eliminated, unable to withstand competition.

Although even so, some organizations may invite juna to the staff for a position in Data Science – the main thing is that the candidate has knowledge in computer science, statistics, applied mathematics or another relevant field, an understanding of statistical approaches and methods such as regression, distribution properties, maximum likelihood estimation, hypothesis testing and their correct use.

Why do juniors refuse?

The Junes believe that companies are afraid to hire them. However, the point is not in any fear, but in pragmatism: today most of the American market is forced to play by the rules of crisis time and optimize costs, including for the development of the company's technological stack.

It's no secret that the new developer (middle or senior) begins to bring real benefits to the company in 3-5 months, and in the case of junes, we can talk about a period of up to a year. That is, it is long and expensive to teach jun – and in times of crisis, such expenses can be an impermissible luxury.

Also, the hiring manager needs to be sure that after a while for a trained beginner who has become a more expensive and valuable specialist, there will really be a place in the company - already as a midl. Expectations from the result in connection with the investments made in the employee are also increasing for the employer.

A jun can get a refusal if he has:

  • general profile without a specific specialization and sphere of interest;
  • overly ambitious expectations;
  • low activity in the professional community (at Kaggle championships, hackathons, contests, ODS, professional events, and so on).

How to make a resume for a position in Data Science, so that it is not closed immediately

The rules are simple: nothing superfluous – only facts. Here's the right resume:

  • all information takes up one page;
  • basic skills are indicated;
  • practical experience of participation in contests and hackathons, with the help of which companies try to solve product problems (even if there is no experience in a particular organization), is indicated;
  • there are keywords that correlate with priority vacancies.

If you want to get into a specific team, a specific position or a certain team leader (for example, a company is a recognized leader in the DS industry), then, sending a resume, place the appropriate keywords from their vacancy and the area of interest to you. Keep in mind that the NLP team will be looking for a candidate who understands what it is or at least has a deep interest in this area in machine learning.

If you do not yet have practical experience in Data Science, use all additional features:

  • Diploma. Describe it as a project – what model you built and what the results were.
  • Hackathons, Kaggle championships. Describe your decision, as well as indicate whether you worked on it yourself or with a team.

Please note: the decision is not made by HR specialists. Having received a resume that at least minimally corresponds to the desired profile, the recruiter sends it to the manager, who will evaluate practical skills.

Where to look for vacancies?

Today, the main platforms for finding vacancies are professional communities, so companies that understand the industry well, first of all, go to them. A small percentage goes to sites like hh.ru, LinkedIn.

Where to send a resume?

Before sending a resume, it is worth conducting a mini-market research: google the organization in which you want to be, see who is the decision-maker (LPR) and participating in the hiring in it. Usually these are group leaders or recruiters. You can send a resume addressed, accompanied by a short letter.

Even if at a particular moment there is no suitable vacancy, the applicant will be remembered and entered into the database, and he himself will be in direct contact with the LPR and, most likely, will receive an invitation to an interview at the first opportunity.

What else is important?

In addition to the resume, you need to pay attention to the following:

  • Communicate more. Don't be afraid to ask questions. A good tool is to communicate with alumni (graduates) of the university, ask them about a particular company, open opportunities and vacancies, ask for advice. They are always open to communication.
  • Be open and as ready as possible to discuss any topics, even those not directly related to the profile of the vacancy, to solve non-standard tasks and offer interesting non-obvious solutions. During the interview, the hiring manager will, among other things, assess your potential and ability to cope with non-trivial tasks.

In fact, junes are critically important for any project and the company as a whole: they bring new fresh ideas, set the dynamics of the project development, form the atmosphere and spirit of the team, add more lightness and informality. Companies are fighting for "screen time in the digital age": there are many studies of collaborations with popular bloggers that show that young people in these processes are the main target audience. But it is necessary that the development team has representatives of the target audience.

Conclusion: it is important for applicants for IT vacancies to be in a professional community, participate in hackathons and so on. If you are a June, but are active in the community, are not afraid to communicate and ask questions – you will be noticed, and your opportunities will be appreciated by future leaders and mentors. And this already increases the chances of getting a job.