What is an easy and sustainable approach to transition to Data Science?

What is an easy and sustainable approach to transition to Data Science?
Photo by Robert Hrovat / Unsplash

If you are in undergrad and are contemplating a career in Data Science and Analytics, pick up tools and technologies that enjoy industry wide usage such as Tableau, PowerBI, R, Python and others that are commonly used. Learn from online courses and free YouTube resources such as freeCodeCamp.

If you are a working professional and contemplating a switch to Data Science, the easiest approach is to start preparing slowly but regularly. I often advise my working professional mentees that they should not take on too much. They often have a family in addition to a full-time job which can keep the daily schedule full.

My advise is simple, pick up a book on Data Science (I can recommend a few if you'd like) and read a few pages a week (preferably on a weekend). Set an alarm for 60 minutes and do your reading for 45 minutes. Last 15 minutes, write 5 bullet points of what you have learned (or whatever you can remember from the reading) in your notebook. Close the notebook and don't come back till the next weekend.

That is it. Do this for 6 months.

How does this help?

  1. Very little expectation from you. You can take this easy. The commitment is very little so most likely you will complete it.
  2. It creates an ongoing mental thread. It keeps Data Science top of mind. If you can keep Data Science top of mind for 6 months, then we know your interest is real and not just a result of the hype.
  3. You get a sense of what is involved in Data Science. The concepts you come across, the necessary understanding and additional reading you will need for depth of understanding, all of this starts to become apparent to you.
  4. Gives you time to reflect. Gives you time to digest and connect the dots.

Once you have completed 6 months you should have 24 pages of notes and bullet points. You would have completed 6o to 80 pages in the book. Now you can reflect back, review your notes and sense what your interest levels are. Are these the kinds of topics and concepts you like to deal with. Will your mind thrive in learning more of these concepts and ideas?

Now is the next phase.

For the next 6 months of phase 2 try to run the accompanying code snippets from the book. This you will do over the next 6 months. Same schedule and same time commitment.

Remember, we are not trying to change jobs, switch careers etc. This is not the goal right now. If you are already a working professional, your goal is to do well in your current commitment, and create an easy approach to sample what Data Science can involve and what it can offer in terms of the day to day mental and intellectual activities.

The first six months, do the reading and make notes about what you can understand and what you cannot. The next six months, try to implement the code snippets. This will give you some sense of the actual work that needs to be done when you implement DSA ideas and methods.

At the end of the year, you will have a new sense of understanding about Data Science and Analytics and will be in a great position to commit yourself even more to learning DSA. If the last 1 year was fun for you and you can see yourself doing more of the work you did on those weekends, then you can now make an informed decision to increase your commitment to learning DSA and can chart your journey into being a DSA professional.

Or you will come to an understanding that DSA isn't for you and that will be just fine. You may realize a new found interest in your current work and career and will renew your commitment to it.

Best of luck.