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How I Got My First Job as a Data Scientist

After hundreds of applications and rejection emails, I finally landed an interview with my current boss, Eric. During the interview, he asked me if I knew anything about BERT, a robust natural language processing algorithm developed by Google. Unfortunately, I had to tell him “No.”

I was disappointed but excited. This interview was the turning point in my job search. The field of data science is broad, and I was applying to various roles with little focus. But after my interview with Eric, I decided to focus on sequence models and natural language processing. I needed to learn about BERT.

Over the next two weeks, I completed the Udemy course Learn BERT-most powerful NLP algorithm by Google, and two guided projects from Coursera: Fine Tune BERT for Text Classification with TensorFlow and Sentiment Analysis with Deep Learning using BERT. I was so excited about what I had learned that I sent Eric an email to tell him how much he had motivated me. I told him about the projects I completed, and he was impressed. As a result, he scheduled a second interview with another team member.

During the second interview, I talked about my projects and my newfound knowledge of BERT. I was offered the job!

There are a few key things that I believe contributed to my success:

  • First, refrain from allowing rejection emails to discourage you. You only need one “yes!” Keep applying, and don’t give up.

  • During your job search, keep learning. I didn’t let my initial lack of knowledge about BERT hold me back. Instead, I took the initiative to learn about it and demonstrate my enthusiasm for the field.

  • Complete some guided projects from Coursera and apply the knowledge you gain to your projects. Projects are a great way to showcase your skills and show potential employers what you can do.

In conclusion, my experience showed me that persistence and a willingness to learn could go a long way in the job search. So keep going, and keep improving your skills. You never know where it might lead.


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