Making a transition in data science is not easy. If you are from the computer science domain then the transition would be a little easy compared to those who are from a completely different sector. But what’s common is the fact that it takes a significant amount of time to be data science ready.
If you are a working professional and want to make that much-awaited move to take a data science role, then read along as we list some of the tips and tricks that would help you to learn data science in 6 months.
A plan is the most important thing to have when you are starting your data science journey. It is not an easy task for any working professional to complete learning a vast subject like data science in 6 months. People end up spending years to gain that upper hand in this domain. Therefore, it is imperative to have a plan about how you are going to go about your data science learning process.
- Start by assessing yourself — what you know and what you don’t
- Find out what are the mandatory programming skills you need to have
- Look at all the industries that are leveraging data science and try to figure out what suits best for you
- Just like the industry research, look at different job roles in data science. Understand the job descriptions.
- When your goal is to learn data science in 6 months, play the milestone card. Set a milestone every month.
By doing this, you would be able to decide where and how you should start your learning process. A proper plan would help you stay on track as you would have a fixed industry and job role to focus on.
Pick The Right Course
This is one of the most crucial phases that you would face. When you are 9-5 full time working professional, you cannot afford to waste your time on courses that just claims — “become a data scientist in 6 months.”
Talking about courses, you can either go to an institute and enrol in a data science course or you can take up an online course. Despite the fact that institutes and training centres deliver more value (as the student gets that much-needed handholding), this option won’t be feasible for a professional with a full-time day job.
Therefore, in order to keep both your work life and learning process balanced, take an online course. You can always look up to online platforms like Udemy, Udacity etc. to get a data science course.
Word to the wise: Most of these courses cover a lot of details about each and every topic in data science. And if you go through everything, you might end up taking a lot more time to complete it. What should you do? Go back to the first point — assessment. The concepts and topics you are already clear with, keep them for the last lap of the marathon. Start studying the topics and concepts that are completely new. And once you reach the final phase of the course, take a look at the topics you kept for the last lap.
Practice is one of the keys to master the data science field. You have to spend a significant amount of time practising programming or working on other data science projects. You have to keep that knowledge flowing.
But when you already swamped with a day job, how would you make time for your practice session. You have to take a very smart approach to this —either you can take time out in the office or you have to wait till you reach back home after work. However, you can take both the approaches; this is how you can do it.
- If you know how to do it, then the office could be the best way to learn and practice things. If it is programming, ask your colleague who is from the data science to help you with programming. There may be an instance when you don’t have much work and that colleague is also free, you can ask him/her to let you some coding while s/he helps you if you get stuck. You can also clear doubt from them.
Word to the wise: Utilise your lunch hour wisely. It would definitely not take an hour to have your lunch.
- Connect more with data scientist from your workplace. Ask them to help you out with concepts as well as project. And if you want to take it to the next level, you can ask them on projects (not completely but at least a bit of hands-on) to let you work with them when there is free time.
Word to the wise: This all boils down to your networking capability. The better you connect with your colleagues from the data science domain, the more chances you have to get that hands-on experience.
- The time at home after your work is also one of the best times to practice. However, the only downside is that you might have to compromise a little with the family time (bitter fact). And when you are doing so, make sure you pick up some of the best programming and data science projects to get that experience. You can also take part in hackathons to get a real-time experience.
Make The Best Out Of Free Content
Even though you have a paid full-time online course, it is considered to be a good practice to keep looking at free resources. And in terms of that, one of the best sources is YouTube. There are several channels available that are focused on data science, programming and even solutions to hackathons.
When you are not working or studying or practising, you can always free data science tutorial videos on YouTube. These are absolutely free and deliver a significant amount of knowledge. Some videos might not be covering in-depth about the domain, but they do give you an understanding that is also worth it.
You can also take a look at our YouTube channel for content related to the data science industry — Analytics India Magazine.
Networking Is Real
You must be wondering, you have only 6 months to learn data science and in that time frame why and how do you network with people. But the truth is, networking is also a part of that learning phase. One doesn’t have to spend a lot of time meeting and connecting with other folks from the data science community but at least attend events and conferences focused on data science.
This gives you that much-needed fuel to your learning process. It gives a view of how the industry is operating, what and all job roles are there, how companies are hiring etc. You could get this answered on the internet as well; however, in-person talks and interaction are clearer.
Also, you never know if you make a connection and that someone might even step in to help you with your learning process by providing you with resources or materials, or help you land a project.
If you are looking for such an event, then you can definitely have a look at Cypher.