Unlocking the Job Market: Strategies For Data Science STEM, Business, and Sales Careers
This article summarizes and compares how those working in STEM, business, and sales found work after college graduation based on data from the U.S. Department of Education’s (US DOE’s) National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) nationally representative sample survey of students known as the Baccalaureate and Beyond Longitudinal Study (B&B).
A similar article looked at the experiences across all professional fields but broken out by gender: “Where the Data Say Job Seekers Get Hired.” For more background on these data and the DataLab platform read: “US Department of Education’s DataLab: A Data Scientist’s Guide.”
If you are job searching in data science be sure to consider a close look at the details that show the experience of those working in Science Technology Engineering and Math. The information about those working in business and sales can also provide you with important context.
In the simplest terms, the folks behind B&B wanted to gather lots of information about the school and jobs of people who finished a four-year college degree. The goal is to understand how going to college affects people’s lives, especially when it comes to jobs, more schooling, and other important life stuff.
B&B follows the same group of people over time. This lets researchers see changes and connections between different things over many years. They usually keep an eye on people for about 10 years after they finish college.
B&B uses talks and questionnaires to get data. They ask about a lot of things, like school and job history, how much money people make, family details, and plans for more schooling.
Results For STEM Workers
These results show how job seekers found their work in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) roles:
- 9.1% found jobs through a colleague or mentor
- 11.5% got their jobs with the help of a faculty member or alumni
- 21.4% got their jobs through friends or family
- 12.7% were found by a headhunter or recruiter
- 13.0% landed a job through an internship
- And 33.3% found their jobs through online job postings
Looking at these findings, it seems clear that online job postings are the most common way people get STEM jobs. That of course, does not mean you should spray and pray. You need to be strategic. But, for better or worse, the online job board is going to be an important part of your job search. The second most common method is through friends or family and colleagues or mentors – in other words this is networking.
If you’re interested in finding a STEM job, these results suggest a few things:
- Regularly check online job postings, because they are the most popular way people find STEM jobs.
- Talk to your friends and family about your job search. They might know about opportunities you haven’t found yet.
- If you’re still in school, internships could be a great way to get into a STEM role.
- Also, don’t forget to network with colleagues, mentors, faculty members, or alumni. They make up a smaller percentage, but they still could be helpful for your job search.
Results For Business Professionals
Here’s what the numbers show about how business professionals found their jobs:
- 6.4% found jobs through a colleague or mentor
- 7.1% got their jobs with the help of a faculty member or alumni
- 27.7% got their jobs through friends or family
- 7.1% were found by a headhunter or recruiter
- 9.2% landed a job through an internship
- And 34.4% found their jobs through online job postings
Conclusion + Recommendations
Once again, if you are job searching in Data Science be sure to consider a close look at the details above that show the experience of those working in Science Technology Engineering, and Math. Keep in mind that the job search journey is a marathon and not a sprint. You should not expect to see results overnight.
You need to be strategic. The journey to landing a job can differ depending on the industry, and understanding these variations can serve as an effective compass guiding your own career path. The data presented demonstrates that online job postings stand out as the primary source of employment for both STEM and business professionals. Nevertheless, the role of personal relationships such as friends and family, colleagues or mentors, or faculty members and alumni is crucial.
These connections may not account for the majority of job placements when compared to online job postings, but they contribute a substantial part. Beyond that, the insights, support, and unique opportunities offered by these personal relationships can be a game-changer, presenting benefits that an online job description cannot convey.
It’s also essential to consider the limited power of internships. If you’re a student or can undertake internships, this avenue could lead to significant opportunities (but only for a small few). My advice, especially given these numbers, is that any internship should be paid. Unpaid internships have a low, seemingly hard-to-justify, return on investment.
As you target a career in data science specifically, it’s vital to remember that your field sits at the intersection of technology, business, and analytics. This provides a unique advantage to learn and draw from both the STEM and business job-seeking trends we’ve discussed.
Aim to master your technical skills but don’t underestimate the power of your network. Engage with online data science communities, attend industry meetups, and connect with faculty members and alumni from your university who are in the field. Remember, the data science community is collaborative, and these relationships can often open doors to exciting opportunities.
In short, no matter whether you’re an aspiring data scientist or a burgeoning business professional, take these results to heart as you chart your career path. The road to your dream job is a blend of online search, networking, internships, and cultivating meaningful relationships. Keep these in mind as you navigate your career journey, and you’ll be well on your way to finding your place in the job market.
Thanks For Reading
Are you ready to learn more about careers in data science? I perform one-on-one career coaching and have a weekly email list that helps data professional job candidates. Visit coaching.adamrossnelson.com to learn more.