This is the second part of my previous article on how to build social capital in the data science ecosystem. As expressed in part one, I believe all efforts to increase social capital should be done from a place of humility and honesty while also being your most authentic self. Although the ideas in this article seem most appropriate for seasoned data enthusiasts, my personal experience is to the contrary and most of these opportunities are available to anyone with an intermediate experience level.
8. Become Adjunct Faculty or Consultant
Teaching data science or other skills is a great side hustle that can be done at a university, as a workshop series or any myriad of avenues. Teaching will improve your understanding of data fundamentals. You will become more comfortable talking about data in front of others, giving you greater credibility in data circles. Getting this role isn’t impossible; I was teaching data science at Georgetown University before I had my first job offer for a data scientist position. Make yourself highly available to your students. Students will present unique and challenging problems that will help you grow intellectually.
9. Develop Coursework
Make the leap from teaching to developing your own course. You could easily build upon an established course’s structure and create your own. Most universities now employ curriculum designers that guide you through building effective courses. The hardest challenge you will face is simplifying data concepts down to their core and conveying them to a new learner.
10. Build Out Your Local LinkedIn Network
Cold contact local data professionals with two types of messages. The first is to plainly say you are looking to integrate with professionals within your career. The second form is to target people in positions you would like to ascend to and ask them sincere questions about career trajectory. The secret is to have no ulterior motives when asking fellow data practitioners about their projects and career journeys. People are more than happy to share. You may receive job offers, but most importantly, you will establish relationships.
11. Organize a Meetup or Become a Co-Organizer
Leverage your local LinkedIn network to create a meetup or team up with an established meetup by becoming a co-organizer. Establish relationships with influencers in your community by adding to it. Examples are hosting panels, hosting hackathons and open-source sprints, and starting a Speaker series.
12. Sit on Panels
This is a great opportunity to better understand your opinions on certain topics and learn to express them clearly to a receptive audience. Invitations to these are outgrowths of participating in conference development, building your LinkedIn network, and engaging with your local data community.
13. Internal Branding Opportunities
If you’re already employed, there are opportunities to build social capital within your organization. Every organization nowadays wants to be considered data-driven. Here are some examples of things I did to help my organization realize this dream while simultaneously building my personal brand. I understand that this is easier for me because I work in a start-up environment.
- Build a data literacy program. You could base your program on Qlik’s data literacy courses.
2. Create a Data Science Playbook. This is a document that outlines how data science is performed in your organization.
3. Create a Data Science Roadmap. Help your organization understand the possibilities of data science.
4. Teach a Python or data science course to staff. This can help improve analytical thinking across your organization.
14. Give Others the Opportunity to Grow and Show Gratitude
All of these only works when we all give back to the community and lend a helping hand to others. No matter the stage you are in your career, sharing your knowledge, experience, and time with others will greatly benefit you in the long run. We should be thankful every day.
15. These are opportunities I would like to explore in the future
1. Submit a conference talk proposal
2. Host a regional conference
3. Start an Internship program
4. Write as much as possible (books & articles)