NSDC Data Science Panel Series

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Do you like to solve problems, but wish you knew how data could help you? Are you thinking about pursuing data science but don’t know where to start? The NSDC Data Science Panels can help you learn more about how to leverage data science for good. 

The National Student Data Corps (NSDC)‘s Data Science Panel webinar series features students and experts from academia, government, industry, and nonprofits who share their experiences learning and using data science. These individuals share their personal journeys in data science, highlighting the wide range of educational opportunities and career paths available in data science and data analytics.

Upcoming PanelsWatch Previous PanelsTestimonials

Become a Student Facilitator or PanelistGetting Started in Data Science

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Upcoming Panels

Check back soon for upcoming panel information!

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Watch Previous Panels

September 2023 Data & Health Career Panel

April 2023 Data & Earth Sciences Career Panel

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The NSDC Panels inspire attendees to explore all the career possibilities data science offers. Here is what some Community College students have to say about the panels!

“What amazed me while listening to everyone’s journey is that all of them started from a different background, whether it was business or computer science, and ended up working in the field related to Data Science. Everyone’s intake and job experience prior and present gives me a reason to consider Data Science as a potential career goal.”

“I believed that the meeting would involve a lot of complex terms and concept implementation of data science, which would be hard for me to understand at the moment as I just started learning about data science. However, it turned out to be very different from what I had thought it to be. At the end of the conference, I feel highly motivated to expand my knowledge of data science.”

“One piece of advice that one of the panelists gave that I will remember is ‘choose your job, don’t let your job choose you.'”

“As a graduate student, these panels have been a great way for me to hear perspectives of experienced data science professionals. I always come away with some new valuable insight. Thanks for helping to make them possible!”

“The panel was a super engaging event and the panelists were responsive to my questions.”

NSDC Data Science Panelist Insights

Read on for a sampling of our panelists’ insights on the most frequently posed questions in our Panels.

1) What excites you about the field? What drew you to data science?

What really excites me about data science is actually a that the field has recently experienced a change in paradigm. There are so many new tools out there that we can use to help drive decision making and create a much more lasting impact. I used to be in academia, but now I’m in industry and really enjoy building something and having people actually use it. That really motivates me. Watch the Full February 2022 Career Panel

I personally love that this is a horizonal field that and any industry can benefit from working in data science. There’s so much innovation going on in the space. Everyone is thinking about how they can apply data science. There’s lots of room to run and create value. You have to be able to think both creatively and mathematically. Watch the Full October 2021 Career Panel

When I transitioned my career to the public sector, I began to see how my work in data science could have a big impact on people’s day to day lives. Data science, ML, AI, those are the tools that allow us to have a direct impact in a particular domain. And throughout my career, I’ve seen how important it is to be working in a field that makes that kind of impact. Watch the Full February 2021 Career Panel

2) How do you find a job or an internship in data science?

When I am looking through resumes, what I am really looking for is a portfolio of experiences. We’re looking for someone with the necessary background, knowledge, experience, and skill set, not necessarily of every ML algorithm out there, but there’s proof in a portfolio that you’ve tried to apply different frameworks. The idea is to come into the organization not necessarily with one framework that you know really well, but with a diversity of knowledge. Watch the Full August 2021 Career Panel

I recommend forming a close relationship with your faculty members and your peers and establish yourselves as data scientist students so you can learn together. Speak with your faculty because they often have opportunities cross their that they’re looking for students to provide them to. Explain to your professors what you’re interested in and put your name in their mind. And as for your peers, spend time with people who you have common interests with because it makes your goals seem more attainable. Watch the Full June 2021 Career Panel

Traditionally, you’d do a job search and send out your resume, waiting for interviews. But I took an unconventional route to land internships in data science, so it is possible! One unconventional thing I did was select my electives very carefullyu003c/emu003e and took an a capstone project working as an unpaid worker at a data science firm. This gave me the knowledge and experience to put on my resume, and for me, that experience then turned into a full internship with that firm. Watch the Full April 2021 Career Panel

3) What education or background should I develop if I’m interested in a career in data science?

In terms of specific tools, I would say Python and R are great languages to start with to get your feet wet and get programming on some level. And I don’t think you need a degree in Computer Science to get started in Python or R or other platforms because there’s so much information available online. You can follow YouTube tutorials online, do programing challenges or tutorials, everything is out there. And then another area to focus on is visualization tools like Power BI or Tableau so you can learn to represent your data. The goal is to be able to share your work and get quick recognition for it’s usability in a non-data science space. Watch the Full February 2022 Career Panel

I realized when I started working that collaborative skills and having an open mindset are very important. Tools change and companies adopt new policies. So you need to be able to adapt and have a growth mindset. Know that if you can teach yourself R or Python, you can teach yourself how to learn anything and you’ll be well set up for success.
It depends on where you’re coming from. If you’re in middle school or high school, you’ll need to do something different than someone switching from another career field. So first consider where you are. That said, focus on strong mathematics, statistics, modeling, simulation, programming skills, visualization analysis – those are all important tools. Develop skills with those before you go to a Ph.D. program. If you’re in high school, take all the math classes available to you. Equally important is the ability to be able to listen to people in other fields or backgrounds, understand their problems and goals. Learn from them and communicate back effectively on technical things to people who may not be technically savvy themselves. Those are important skills if you want to be an effective data scientist. Watch the Full August 2021 Career Panel
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Become a Student Facilitator or Panelist


Are you a student or data science professional interested in participating in a future NSDC Data Science Panel? We’d love to hear from you!

Become a Panel Facilitator!

Join the NSDC’s REAL program! The NSDC HQ Team will reach out to you with opportunities to facilitate a panel Q&A or write a panel summary for the community.

Become a Panelist

What career or educational advice would you share with the rest of the NSDC Community? Reach out to the NSDC HQ Team to show your interest in joining a future panel.

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Getting Started in Data Science 

Check out the NSDC’s Career Central portal to find updated jobs and professional opportunities in the field. Use our resources to prepare application materials, practice for technical interviews, and learn interview tips. 

Check out the NSDC’s Learner Central portal and learn data science at your own pace! Leverage this collection of free resources for learners of all backgrounds. Whether you’re just getting started or want to learn advanced machine learning techniques, you’ll find something for your data science journey.

Stay Connected with Us

Email us at nsdc@nebigdatahub.org with any inquiries or questions.

Some ways to stay connected with the NSDC community:

    • Check out the REAL Program for more collaboration opportunities.