[Recruiting] Issues with Data Science / Data Analytics

As a faculty member, one of my roles is to mentor and give career advice, which I love to do.

It’s really hard to have people listen to you these days given all the short communication (e.g. twitter/snap chat) and short attention span.

So I am thankful when students send me emails/messages or visit me during office hours for career advice (before COVID19…).

One of the common questions that I get is should I go into data science /data analytics (apply to data science positions).

This question is a bit hard to answer actually. First, it depends on your skill set.

If you are reasonably good with numbers and can run statistical programs and do some programming then you can ponder about it.

If you are not good with numbers and do not want to learn how to use statistical programs nor learn programming, you probably shouldn’t pursue it.

You need to know your edge. There are engineers, math, statistics and physics majors that will crush most economics/finance/accounting/business majors in terms of computing and math prowess so you need to know where you stand.

Of course, data science/data analytics is not all about math and programming skills. It’s really about creating value through analyzing the data.

Now comes the second point. Data science/ data analytics is so wide and vague. Some jobs require you to be a programming prodigy while others are actually business analysts who can use some data analytics programs like Tableau/Alteryx.

So yes, you can be a data scientist even if your math/programming is not so good as long as the job description does not require that much analysis and programming.

I have seen students claim that they did data science and data analytics in their internships but it sounded more like using Tableau/Alteryx instead of Excel to do a task.

So let’s get back to the data science/ data analytics. Because the area is so wide and vague and because data science positions vary so much, it is not easy to give good advice.

But let’s focus on what data science/ data analytics is supposed to do. The reason we have data science/ data analytics is to generate insightful and relevant information through data analysis.

Thus, if you believe that you can produce insights and decision useful information through data analysis then data science/ data analysis may be a good track for you.

Thank You Jesus for all Your wisdom and love. Thank You Lord for giving us freedom to choose. Amen!

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