My Advice to Aspiring Data Juniors: The Hidden Gems of Writing Analytics

By Vincent Tatan, Alumnus, SMU School of Information Systems

Four years ago, in 2015, I became one of the early batches to take Analytics specialisation for Singapore Management University (SMU).

Despite an initial influx of students trying out the specialisations, many business students found them hard and dropped out. They were business students who suddenly faced with the difficulties of coding and analytical thinking. As the curriculum was still new, the amount of support to help them bridge the learning gap was very few.

Therefore, as an analytics enthusiast, I found a gap that I could contribute to.

 

“How do I help my juniors (with business background) learn about data analytics better?”

 

I thought this would be a great opportunity for me to learn, and help my juniors learn analytics at the same time.

 

Writing and teaching what matters

How I started: Building value investing tools

I realised that many struggling students moved to study finance and stocks analysis due to their prospects of working in prestigious companies. Therefore, I decided that my first goal is to build analytics applications that matter to them. With the help of the Local Investment Club, I built an analytics tool to extract and process relevant financial ratios quickly.

 

Building and teaching solutions that matter

As it became successful, I further taught my juniors more use cases for their studies. For operations management students, I taught them linear and integer optimisation (LP & IP). For marketing students, I taught them Twitter Sentiments and social media analytics.

The result was a success; I received notes from my junior who used my code to go beyond (“spoil market”) to develop Twitter Sentiment Dashboards. Then, I received enough interest to facilitate an informal community for business students to learn analytics. I booked small study rooms to facilitate my projects on Github.

 

Teaching analytics on Youtube

Soon, I had an initiative to draft a curriculum for SMU Business Intelligence and Analytics Club (BIA). I started teaching on Youtube which allowed me to promote my channel and review my teachings scalably. In a few months, my channel was used as the genesis curriculum for SMU BIA to teach their students.

 

“To help my juniors learn data analytics better”… and many more

Within half a year, I have blogged 30+ of my side analytics projects on Medium and received 800+ followers. This proves the many potentials to add value to aspiring data scientists who need guidance.

 

The five hidden gems behind writing data analytics

I would like to share with you how writing analytics has helped me grow as a competent data scientist through five hidden gems: career, inspiration, income, credibility and value.

 

Career: It gets me into Google

 

Inviting Singapore Institute of Management (SIM) Society of Mathematical Sciences Org Comm to Google

 

As you might know from my recent article, I got headhunted by Google. Google is one of the top companies with the smartest employees. How is it possible that Google HR headhunted me? Shouldn’t they already have lots of highly qualified applicants begging to step through their door?

The answer is very interesting because I happened to be one of the special cases. In Google, there are two conventional ways of getting hired: referrals and direct applications. I did neither of them and got headhunted instead.

 

“So how did I get headhunted?”

 

HR gave me a simple answer: I was the top recommendation from LinkedIn.

I was surprised as I never update my LinkedIn regularly. There are lots of data scientists and machine learning engineers who decorate their Linkedin profiles better than me. So why did I make the top recommendation?

After some deep dives into Linkedin stats, I realised that my Towards Data Science Medium articles had invited lots of traffic to my Linkedin page. Many of you connected with me to ask for data analytics advice. Therefore, you are the reason I got into Google! Thank you!

Similarly, I encourage you to share your knowledge. It will give you access to better opportunities in ways that you could never foresee.

 

Inspiration: It gives me meanings to learn data science

 

Source: Unsplash

 

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. — Matthew 5:14–16

 

I really love to see the growth of my juniors. I love learning and educating other people. And most of all, I love to give dreams to my juniors. I always invite them to Google office for lunch and share with them what I experience. It becomes my pleasure to learn and receive feedback that what I do matters to them. Our time in the world is limited, so I decided to become the salt and light of the world in everything that I do to glorify our Father in Heaven.

This has become the source of motivation to why I spend a lot of time educating myself. Learning as much as possible and educating others have become my inspiration. Despite all of the imperfection I have, I am glad to share my struggles in learning and becoming a better data scientist. The more I learn, the more I teach. The more I teach, the more I learn.

Similarly, I hoped that you could find the big reason why you study analytics and share it with the world. This will become an inspiration for you to continue traversing through the deep world of analytics.

 

Income: It gives me the autonomy to learn

 

Source: Unsplash

 

Writing for Towards Data Science also gives me a good stream of income. Initially, when I first became a medium partner writer, I was quite happy to receive as little as USD10 in a month. But now, as I gain more followers, I make approximately USD300 for every good article I write.

This demonstrates the compounding income of writing, which corporate environment does not possess. Today, I have my articles promoted to thousands of viewers through Google Home and Medium apps. Within six months, I watched my writing income per month grow exponentially.

Furthermore, the biggest advantage of writing on Medium is that you get paid in US Dollars. Coming from a weaker currency (IDR and SGD) country, I receive sufficient amount from my Medium income.

This opens up many doors of possibilities. You could rely less on income from your current full-time work and be great at what you do instead.

 

Credibility: It allows me to find better learning and teaching opportunity

 

My Analytics Journey sharing at National University of Singapore (NUS)

 

Writing has given me opportunities to speak and learn. I have been invited to top universities, companies, and analytics gatherings to share my thoughts on certain topics.

Writing articles has given my audience a credible platform to test my ideology and thoughts. This gives them the assurance that my thoughts are aligned with their goals.

Similarly, writing has also made me more valuable for the company I am working in. I have represented both Visa and Google in many events. This credibility also allows me to seek education reimbursements from Visa and Google to pursue master studies in the Online Masters of Science Computer Science.

Similarly, I would like to encourage you to start teaching data analytics. It would serve you well in the future to boost your reputations and become more meaningful and knowledgeable data scientists.

 

Value: Finding your voice to write and teach

 

The joy of growing with SMU BIA Club

 

I still remember that when I was in university, the SMU Business Intelligence and Analytics Club (BIA). was really small. In an effort to revive the club, my friend and I booked small rooms and recorded Youtube videos to teach simple curriculum for our juniors. Fast forward to now, the organising committee has grown to 20 with full attendance in all of their events. SMU BIA has taught me a lesson that I always appreciate: that I could always help others even with my limited knowledge and time.

I am glad that my writing has done just that. Many of you have connected with me on Linkedin and shared stories of how my writings added values to your life.

I have found my voice and so could you.

 

Conclusion: Embark on writing your stories

 

“You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.” — Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

 

If you are afraid to start, then remember this quote by Anne Lamott. I personally suggest reading this book to have a better mindset of writing your thoughts.

While it is good to be smart and technical in your machine learning knowledge, it is also beneficial to put some personal touch into your findings. After all, your stories belong to you. Share it well 🙂

Another tough moment being a writer is when you face the fear of rejection—imposter syndrome. But you could slowly overcome these obstacles by starting small and writing your articles ‘bird by bird’.

Start writing and I hope you will gain:

  1. Career: Prepare for better opportunities by writing your thoughts
  2. Inspiration: Seek out why you study analytics and stand tall
  3. Income: Expand opportunities to write what the world values
  4. Credibility: Set up foundations for you to test your ideology
  5. Value: Find your own voice and write to inspire

 

Finally…

I really hope this has been a great read and a source of inspiration for you to develop and innovate.

Please Comment below for suggestions and feedback. Just like you, I am still learning how to become a better Data Scientist and Engineer. Please help me improve so that I could help you better in my subsequent article releases.

Thank you and Happy coding 🙂

 

This article was originally published on Towards Science Data and has been republished with permission.

 


 

Vincent Tatan is a Data and Technology enthusiast with relevant working experiences from Google LLC, Visa Inc. and Lazada to implement microservice architectures, business intelligence, and analytics pipeline projects.

Vincent is a native Indonesian with a record of accomplishments in problem-solving with strengths in Full Stack Development, Data Analytics, and Strategic Planning.

He has been actively consulting SMU Business Intelligence & Analytics Club, guiding aspiring data scientists and engineers from various backgrounds, and opening up his expertise for businesses to develop their products.

Vincent also opens up his 1 on 1 mentorship service on 10to8 to coach how you can land your dream Data Scientist/Engineer Job at Google, Visa or other large tech companies. Book your appointment with him here if you are looking for mentorship.

Lastly, please reach out to Vincent via LinkedIn, Medium or Youtube Channel

 


 

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