One of the best ways to know what to expect from a career in data science is to chat with someone who is in the field. We were fortunate enough to speak with a data science career professional to get his opinion on what it takes to launch a successful career in data science. Daniel Solow, a senior software engineer for Sayari spoke candidly about his experience and insights into this dynamic field.
A Glimpse into a Career in Data Science
What do you do at Sayari?
I specifically work with data collection to improve the company’s infrastructure. This entails a lot of research into data collection to see what is working and not working for others when it comes to retrieving data and making sense of it. I also write codes so that others can more easily set up a framework for data collection.
How did you start a career in data science?
My data science career path started off with a government job with the National Security Agency (NSA). A government position is an excellent place to start for anyone entering the job market. In my first few months, my work consisted of projects that required little responsibility. This is very common for new hires. It allows a person to build skills and a critical understanding of the processes involved in an overall project without taking on too much risk for the company. I would urge new data scientists to not shy away from this. Be open to learning because there’s a lot of it. After acquiring that experience in my first couple of positions, Sayari hired me.
How important is education?
In terms of educational credentials, a bachelor’s degree is highly-valued. Though, a master’s degree will help people move into managerial roles. So if that’s what you strive to do, a master’s can really help you advance.
What do you love most about your job?
I really enjoying problem-solving. Computer science is the purest form of that. I enjoy the satisfaction of watching something I’ve built run successfully. That feeling is what drives me. If this is a driving force for someone reading this, then this field is definitely a good choice.
What skills are absolutely crucial for someone entering this job force?
The most important thing is to understand the fundamentals of computer science and be able to understand the algorithms. Basic algorithms will come up again and again. People often underestimate the importance of practicing a new skill. Start writing code and try to run it. The best way to understand is to try and fail. Eventually, it will make sense. Most entry-level positions consist of writing code immediately, but once you get more experience you can create your own frameworks.
What advice do you have for someone entering the field?
The main challenge a person might have when entering the field is not having a lot of professional experience. This makes your first job very important. Challenge yourself in it. Pay attention to everything and anything. Learn the algorithms and understand the foundational knowledge behind computer science. Go all in and absorb as much experience as you can.
Keep this in mind – almost every sub-field of computer science relies on its fundamentals. So it’s absolutely necessary to know them.
One last vital piece of advice I have is build your experience by looking into tech meetups, especially in the Baltimore DC area. Check out meetup.com to meet others in your field and spark conversations that revolve around data science.
Data analysis is a quickly-growing field and demand for experienced data science professionals will only continue to grow. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, data analyst jobs are expected to increase by nearly 20% between 2014-2024 and the Baltimore-Washington metro area has seen a disproportionate rise in the number of employers seeking candidates with expertise in data science.
Are you ready to claim your future in Data Science? Check out our master’s and certificate offerings.