One of the biggest skills necessary in data science is storytelling. Once you move from academics or research to the business world, you’ll have to deliver business value, something qualified by good, truthful storytelling. Businesses are looking for data scientists that can help them understand their data, not just present insights like a magician. One way you can improve that soft communication skill? Writing for Medium (regularly).
Ok, Medium isn’t the only place you could post writing, but it does offer serious exposure. That isn’t the only reason you should consider writing for Medium. The world needs your input, and you need the exposure. With 60 million monthly readers, you can’t afford to miss out. Let’s look at a few ways that writing on Medium can benefit your career and make a potentially make a huge impact.
It’s Good for Soft Skills
Employers continually cite soft skills as a huge factor in determining if employees are the right fit. They’re in demand for just about every department of a business and even more so with data science. Since what you do as a data scientist is unfamiliar and mysterious to a lot of people in your organization, you’ll need to hone those communication skills to get your point across and create some continuity between data science goals and business value.
[Related Article: Check out the ODSC Medium Publication here!]
Writing regularly gives you the chance to build soft skills. Potential employers can see your written history and know if you’ll be able to communicate well enough to be an asset to the organization instead of an obstacle.
Employers aren’t the only ones reading either. Written skills are another form of networking. Excellent communication resonates with your audience—a group made of peers, potential mentors, and possible collaborators.
It’s Good for Clarity
It’s not just about communicating with others. Writing could be an excellent way to get your thoughts out of your head and into a digestible form. You’ll have a record of your journey as a data scientist and never wonder about that great thought you had in the shower and have never forgotten.
Teaching is an excellent way to know if you deeply understand something. Writing down simple concepts to teach non-specialists and more complex ideas for teaching fellow data scientists can tell you where your own skills gaps are and how to fill them in.
Finally, a record of your journey as a data scientist is always a fresh way to gain inspiration and maintain an appreciation for how you got where you are. It can also be a good record for talking to employers or recruiters who are interested in how you might fit into their organizations.
It’s Good for Promoting Yourself
You’ve got your GitHub or AngelList set up, but data scientists aren’t the only ones you’re targeting. Key decision-makers aren’t always going to be able to go through your GitHub commits to see what you’re up to. You might need to talk out what you’re doing in a conversational way.
Medium’s platform gives you the option to talk about projects you’re doing in a way that’s accessible to a wider range of people. Your blog can help people get to know you and understand the direction of your work. The project specifics are excellent, sure, but drawing out the story behind what you’re doing and what your results could mean? That requires a little more than just the numbers.
How to Get Started on Medium
Once you’ve got your space started and begun writing for Medium, you should keep a few things in mind. The format of Medium doesn’t disqualify technical language and numbers, but remember that your Medium account is the story of your data. Find your ideas based on what you’re exploring and thoughts you have about things happening in the field.
Your writing should reflect your voice and style, but it’s ok to peek at a few accounts to see what others are doing. You can gain inspiration and a clearer understanding of what you bring to the table by reading other accounts first. You can start with ours!
If you aren’t sure how to promote your Medium or you want to get your feet wet with writing, you could move beyond reading and contribute to Open Data Science’s Medium blog. We are always looking for writers with big ideas and interesting experiences.
Whatever you do, it’s essential to get started. You may not be a perfect writer, yet, but as you hone your communication skills, you’ll be gaining the types of abilities that benefit you long after you begin blogging.