So I thought of creating a data science support group for my ex-students after they graduate. The reasons are relatively simple; 

  • It’s not easy to get a data science job. Many companies don’t want entry-level data engineers, analysts or scientists. They want someone with a decent amount of experience so that they can contribute to their work immediately.
  • Even if you got into a job, you realize the amount of learning and adapting to do. 

The second point is especially true. I hired a graduate from my class and the learning curve for him was tremendous. 
Knowing that this is going to be a pain point for my ex-students, I thought it would be nice to have a support group where people can be honest in their pursuit of a data science career, and we can learn from each other along the way. 
A support group is a gathering of people where common experiences and counsel are shared. There could be some form of teaching, but it’s geared to the context of the members’ situation.
The goals are simple:

  • Everyone should learn at their own pace.
    • Allow everyone to set their own goals and objectives.
    • Different circumstances and people require different amounts of time to succeed. 
  • We need a nurturing environment to help each other. That includes:
    • Peer support.
    • Someone experienced to help.

With these goals in mind, that’s where we break down the different needs into buckets:

  • Fortnightly to monthly meetups
    • We gather together for a session to teach or share a relevant topic among ourselves.
    • We share our personal experiences among ourselves and help each other in our career paths.
  • Online forums (Yet to be built but it’s coming.)
    • We should make threads and discuss relevant topics within a system when we can’t meet. Meetings take time, and if we don’t have a good resource to lean back on when we cannot meet, it would be difficult to maintain a support group.
  • Online resources
    • I will try to create tutorials and discussion points within the site to help.

The list is not exhaustive and it’s expected to grow. I’m going to create a Google form to gather requirements and see if there are additional relevant points to consider as I start to create this group:

  • What is an immediate problem you’re facing now?
  • What are some of the things which you wish you can get advice on?
  • What do you want to see in your support group? 

If you don’t see the form generating below (Firefox and Safari doesn’t seem to work), please click on the link here: https://forms.gle/o2CSzmHJT28gbJwTA

Currently, I’m not opening up the meetup to anyone else other than my ex-students. I rather keep the group small so that I can manage it well, but perhaps in the future, I can think about inviting other people in once I think this is going to be successful.

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