Essential Branding Guidelines For Aspiring Data Scientists

Aspiring data scientists can benefit from developing personal brand guidelines to help stand out to potential future employers.

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August 27, 2019
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Data science is one of the most promising career paths of the 21st-century. Over the past year, job openings for data scientists increased by 56%. People that pursue a career in data science can expect excellent job security and very competitive salaries.

However, a background in data analytics, Hadoop technology or related competencies doesn’t guarantee success in this field. If you want to excel in this profession, then you are going to need to develop your professional brand.

There are many things that professional speakers point out when discussing the importance of personal branding. Here are some essential branding tips that every data scientist needs to know.

Don’t underestimate the importance of dressing appropriately for a data science workplace

I haven’t found Myers Briggs information on the personality types of data scientists. However, I would speculate that the average person in this profession would be classified as an INTP.

If you have this personality type, then you are probably not a shallow person and are accustomed to looking at the bigger picture. You believe that people should be judged solely on their competencies, rather than their fashion choices.

Unfortunately, this is not the case in the real world. You could be the most talented data scientist in existence, but you will have difficulty earning credibility without dressing the part. Around 70% of all judgments are made on nonverbal cues, including the way that we dress. This is something that many professional speakers point out when discussing the importance of personal branding.

You need to understand the expectations in your industry when choosing your attire. You should listen to other people in the data science or information technology profession, rather than parents or uncles that work in other fields. The traditional business suit is not going to make you look like you fit in with the company culture at most major tech companies. A lot of STEM professionals have not put on a suit in their lives. On the other hand, wearing sweatshirts and a tank top won’t work either.

Data scientists typically dress in nice button up shirts and jeans. You should just the same. You want to dress casually, but also try to look nice and keep your clothes clean and fresh.

 Find a mentor with a solid reputation in the big data field

Springboard recently publish an article on breaking into the data science profession. They pointed out that one of the most important things that aspiring data scientist can do is find a qualified mentor.

You need to look at several factors when choosing a mentor:

  • How well respected they are in the data science field
  • The volume of research they have produced
  • The breath of skills they have accumulated
  • The relevance of their background to your specific career goals

You should choose your mentors carefully. It can make or break your career as a data professional.

Consider the benefits of blogging

Yoel Zeldes is a data engineer that wrote another guide on branding for his profession. The first tip that he shared was on the benefits of blogging.

There are a lot of things that data scientists can blog about. You can talk about a data project that you worked on or a paper that you read. You can also write opinion articles about the field. However, opinion articles are best left to experienced data scientists that have already earned a name for themselves. You want to make sure people will take your opinion seriously. You also need to be cautious about writing opinion pieces that alienate people in your field when you still need their support to build your reputation in the industry.

Branding is essential to success as a data scientist

You need to be smart about branding if you want to build a career as a data scientist. Your knowledge might get you a foot in the door, but you are going to need to know how to carry yourself the rest of the way.