At The Data Incubator we run a free eight-week Data Science Fellowship Program to help our Fellows land industry jobs. We love Fellows with diverse academic backgrounds that go beyond what companies traditionally think of when hiring Data Scientists. Lindsay was a Fellow in our Summer 2015 cohort who landed a job with one of our hiring partners, DuPont Pioneer.
Tell us about your background. How did it set you up to be a great Data Scientist?
I’m grateful for the path that led me to a career in data science. My background in biology has given me the ability to think scientifically about a problem — to understand the nuance of data collection, and how to design a good experiment, and which analyses might provide the biggest insights. Because I ran a clinical study and none of the members of my lab had a background in machine learning, I had to practice explaining this complex data science problem to non-technical audiences, which has been an asset when presenting results to the business side of the company I work for. It’s been a very natural transition, which I think speaks to what a good fit it is for my personality and talents.
From a research perspective, working in a vibrant academic setting also meant learning how to ask bold questions, even at the risk of sounding stupid in front of a large group of mentors and peers–something I’ve done more than I care to admit. For me, finding the right question to ask is just as important as having the technical expertise to find an answer, and that’s one of the things that makes Data Science so exciting.
What do you think you got out of The Data Incubator?
(1) Exposure (not expertise!): I learned the latest data science buzzwords, and got some brief experience using the tools. It was enough to allow me to speak intelligently during my interviews without having glaring gaps in my knowledge. I had a high-level understanding of the tools necessary to solve different types of data science problems, and through the problem sets, I gained confidence that I could learn the low-level implementations when necessary.
(2) “Personal” introductions: My participation in TDI got my resume to the top of the stack. Having their seal of approval led me to not only have more conversations with employers, but to have ultimately more fruitful conversations with employers.
What advice would you give to someone who is applying for The Data Incubator, particularly someone with your background?
More importantly, I uncovered the value that my “softer-skilled” background brought to interviews. I gained valuable experience explaining complex data science problems to non-technical audiences during my time as a clinical researcher, and I think it may be part of the reason why I had great success during my job search.
What is your favorite thing you learned at The Data Incubator?
And lastly, tell us about your new job!
Visit our website to learn more about our offerings:
- Data Science Fellowship – a free, full-time, eight-week bootcamp program for PhD and master’s graduates looking to get hired as professional Data Scientists in New York City, Washington DC, San Francisco, and Boston.
- Hiring Data Scientists
- Corporate data science training
- Online data science courses: introductory part-time bootcamps – taught by our expert Data Scientists in residence, and based on our Fellowship curriculum – for busy professionals to boost their data science skills in their spare time.