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How to Start Your Data Science Career in Your 30s

Making a career change can be a daunting task for any professional – especially when you’ve established yourself in one industry for the past ten or more years. But, if you’re feeling the pressure to switch to a data science career, you couldn’t have come to that decision at a better time! 

Employers in data science are experiencing a dire shortage of candidates and a surplus of open jobs in a highly competitive search for their next tech hire. As a result, many companies are adjusting their benefits, looking for potential rather than experience, and investing in on-the-job training. 

If you’re looking to make a career change into the world of data science, you’ll need to prepare, research, and put in the effort to make that pivot. Below, you can find a great start in making this a viable transition.

Decide What Type of Data Scientist You Want to Be

Data science is a vast field with many sectors, so it’s a good idea to research each domain to decide which would be the best fit for you. Some of the most popular industries for data science include:

  • Marketing
  • Finance
  • Corporate Services
  • Software and IT
  • Human Resources
  • Media

See if any of these industries correlate to what you’re doing now – are you currently in a marketing role? Maybe a marketing data specialist would be a good transition for you since many of your skill sets and knowledge would roll over to the new position. 

Give Yourself Time to Learn

When you decide what industry you want to be in for your data science career, you can dive into what you need to learn. Data scientists have an extensive skill set, including:

  • Fluency in coding programs like Python, SAS, and SQL
  • Technical skills in mathematics, statistics, and data-mining
  • An understanding of the business sector they are working in
  • Data cleaning
  • Data visualization and reporting techniques

Some of these skills you may already know, and some businesses may also be willing to teach you. But, if you need to learn how to data-mine or code, there are endless resources at your disposal. From online courses, certifications, accelerated degree programs, and video tutorials, you can put in the effort to learn the skills you’re missing and practice using the tools data scientists have prowess in.

Take the Time to Discover What You Want Out of a Data Science Career

When making the shift to data science, you want to be excited about your next job, so it’s essential to take the time to figure out what exactly you want out of your data science career. Is it more money? Flexible work options? Better benefits? An engaging subject matter? Determine what you want to see in your next job and be picky when applying to open positions. Look at the job descriptions and ensure it’s the right fit for you. 

Network, Network, Network!

Once you find a few companies you’d like to work with, it’s on to networking! Before applying to a job, a powerful first step is to connect with people already working at that company – specifically data scientists. An easy way to make these first connections is by searching for the company you’d like to work for on LinkedIn, going to the “People” tab, and typing in the specific job title you’re seeking (data scientist). You’ll now have a list of data scientists and other related titles that work at said company. 

Try connecting with 1-2 people at each company you’re interested in to learn more about their role there. If the conversation goes well, ask them if they’d be open for coffee to discuss any available opportunities. Even if that conversation doesn’t land you your dream data analyst job, it’ll still give you invaluable information for your job hunt.

Work with a Recruiter

Another great option to finding a job in a new industry is working with a recruiter specializing in locating opportunities in that sector. There are many benefits to working with a recruiter, such as: 

  • Opening you to exclusive opportunities that aren’t posted on public job boards.
  • Saving you the time and hassle of applying to endless jobs.
  • Working with a specialist in this field who can offer you expert career advice.
  • Having increased visibility on your resume.

At ITAC Solutions, we help people connect with leading organizations seeking data analysts in various specialties. Contact our team at ITAC Solutions today to learn more about how we can help you find a data science career.