I Am Fresh Out Of College And Want to Be A Data Scientist (Part 1)

I want to write this blog to remember the past two years since I graduated from the graduate program in 2014 November. I get questions like these a lot. 

  • I did not graduate from Ivy League schools. How could I get an interview?
  • I did not how to code. Where should I learn about how to program?
  • Which programming languages should I start learning first?
  • I don't have a Ph.D. degree. What should I do?
I want to walk you step by step about how I landed a job as a Data Scientist. 

                                                 2 Months After Graduation                                               
Keywords: SQL, Connections, and 350+ applications

Story #1: SQL
I was aware of that no matter no matter what projects, purely data analysis or fancy machine learning, the job descriptions asked the same skill - SQL. Unfortunately, SQL was not listed in the curriculum of my school so I cut out all my social activities and self-taught SQL for 1 month. 
"School cannot provide and prepare yourself everything the industries are looking for. So get your hands dirty and start practicing coding."
Story #2: Connections
I reached out my friends and professors about looking for a job in the tech industries and was very lucky that my friend referred me to an opening position at Amazon. At first, I did not know how to describe the ideal job position to my friends because I knew so little about the industries. Later on, the more people I reached, the more I knew about the variety of interesting positions and projects in tech, the clearer I could see about the job I wanted to take. 

An advanced degree in Ivy League schools could open up a lot of phone interview opportunities to a candidate. However, I also met excellent engineers later on in the next two years who graduated from high school and dropped out of college.

Story #3: Sending 350+ applications
I sent out my resumes for at least 350 positions when I graduated from college. I eventually got a lot of calls, average 3 to 5 weekly. My friend told me that he wrote a script for submitting his resume automatically through API based on the keywords in the job descriptions, which eventually helps him reach out a lot of recruiters. 

Even though my first job was not Data Scientist, I felt very grateful for everything I learned at Amazon, like how to use SQL to answer business questions in the real world. My first job as a BI Engineer prepared me with better SQL skills and better understanding in data engineerings than any of my previous internships, but at the same time, I was farther and farther from the statistics world, where most of the data scientists are dedicated to putting efforts in. Read my next blog I Am Fresh Out Of College And Want to Be A Data Scientist (Part 2) . 


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