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Writing on Medium Got Me a Job in Data Analytics

Hello

ARTICLE SUMMARY

Megan Dibble shares her top tips on how writing on Medium landed her, her dream job!

Here’s my story of transitioning from Industrial Engineering to Data Analytics & Data Science

First of all, I would like to say that I am humbled by the response that my articles on Towards Data Science have received. I owe a huge thank you to the people who have followed me, consistently read my articles, and gave me feedback — you all are awesome.

I would also like to note one caveat before I jump into my story: the position I recently accepted is titled “Global Solutions Analyst,” and it is really a mix of data analytics, some data engineering, data science, and some industrial engineering.

Here we go

For those of you who do not know me personally, or who have not stalked me on LinkedIn, I attended Cal Poly from 2015 to 2019 and got a Bachelors’s degree in Industrial Engineering. During my time at Cal Poly, I had two internships that focused mostly on process improvement in manufacturing (at Keysight Technologies and Tesla) with the goal of saving the company money. I learned a lot at both companies, but I really only liked some of the work. Spoiler — it was the work where I dealt with lots of data.

I realized I did not want to be a hands-on, down on the factory floor, timing-processes-and-fixing-machines-kind of Industrial Engineer. So, I decided to take a job in technology consulting to switch things up when I graduated.

Technology consulting (for an accounting firm) wasn’t exactly what I thought it would be. I dealt much more with business/change management than technology and data, which was the opposite of what I was looking for and where I believe my skills lie. It became clear that I needed to make a change for my own happiness, so I quit after only 6 months, which was really outside my comfort zone and it felt… scary.

After lots of deliberation and looking at job descriptions, I decided to enroll in a data science boot camp through Thinkful.com. It is a 6-month program, and I am so glad that I took a chance on it. The course I chose is self-paced and fully online, so I had the freedom to spend more time on concepts that were challenging or interesting to me. I also had extra time to write Medium articles, since I was not concurrently working a full-time job.

I started out writing Medium articles to build my resume/portfolio for applying to jobs. Then I realized that: 1. I really like writing, and 2. There seemed to be a shortage of good articles for data science beginners. I read (and appreciated) a lot of technical articles on statistics and specific data science techniques, but I didn’t see many people trying to make data science concepts really easy to read for a non-technical or beginner audience.

My all-time most popular articles are on explaining data science concepts and machine learning models “to a five-year-old.” Here’s the cool part: people started reaching out to me on LinkedIn because they read my articles. And then, I got an interview with Stanley Black and Decker because of my writing, and that lead to a full-time job offer. I’m still a little in shock about the whole thing, to tell the truth.

I have a feeling I am going to get some LinkedIn DM’s asking me for advice about switching careers, landing a data analytics job, doing a boot camp, etc. I’m not an experienced professional, but I’ll be proactive and offer my general advice: work hard, utilize free resources, make personal connections in your desired field, and try to find a way to set yourself apart. Whether it’s writing articles, being active on LinkedIn, building a cool portfolio website, posting YouTube videos, or something else, you can build a “brand” for yourself and it can really help with the job search.

Additionally, I believe something that helped me change careers was to highlight my industrial engineering domain knowledge as an asset. Whatever your background is, if it allows you to better understand the data you are analyzing, or even better, allows you to prescribe changes based on analysis, that’s pretty valuable!

Please feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn, but keep in mind I might not be able to answer all of your questions. (For some reason I get a lot of LinkedIn messages that ask me questions as though I were a seasoned professional, or as though I have offered to be everyone’s personal mentor.) And, no matter where you are in your data science career or Medium writer journey, I wish you the best of luck!

Here are a few other articles where I talk about what I’ve learned in the last 6 months during my data science boot camp:

And, if you are looking to start or continue your data science learning, here is an article with lots of links to free learning resources:

As always, thanks for reading 🙂

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