My tips and experience to become a high quality data scientist

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko:

Once you become a data scientist, it’s a great feeling knowing that your days, weeks, and even months of studying and learning have finally paid off.

However, this is just the start.

Chances are you don’t want to be any data scientist, but probably a great one. So, in this article I want to go over several things you should do to push yourself into the top 1% of data scientists from my personal experiences and from what I have observed from these top echelon of practitioners.

Photo by David Gavi on Unsplash

An idea that the book Atomic Habits (by James Clear) made popular is that improving 1% every day greatly compounds over time.

  • 1% improvement every day is 1.01³⁶⁵ ~ 38
  • 1% decline every day is 0.99⁹³⁶⁵ ~ 0.026
Diagram by author.

By making small positive choices each day as a data scientist, your progress will compound, pushing you into that elite tier.

Ok sure, this sounds nice on paper, but what can you do to implement this in practice?

Well, the best way is to learn something new each day. It doesn’t matter how small it is, if you are picking up knowledge every single day, needless to say, this will benefit you in the long term.

I can give you some examples to try:

  • Instead of Pandas, use a package like Polars or Spark to learn a new data manipulation framework.
  • Write aliases for any terminal or command line prompts you frequently use.
  • When doing a code review, ask why someone has done something a certain way.
  • Pair with a software engineer to learn some productivity tips for your IDE.

A good way to keep yourself accountable is to write down something new you learned at…

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