New Brunswick, NJ–Sixty-five New Jersey data science job seekers now have formidable job-hunting skills, thanks to the recent Data Science Career Prep Workshop held March 10 at Rider University and co-sponsored by the New Jersey Big Data Alliance (NJBDA) and The Center for Business Analytics at Rider University. The workshop offered sessions on navigating job postings, creating a data experience story for interviewing, a young professionals panel, and advice on showcasing skills sought in data science professionals. The Career Prep workshop was open to all undergraduate and graduate students at NJBDA member institutions.
Dr. Emre Yetgin, assistant professor, Department of Information Systems, Analytics, and Supply Chain Management and Director, Center for Business Analytics at Rider University, opened the workshop with welcome and introductory comments. He stated, “By studying in data science and business analytics programs, I think you have all made a very wise choice and a solid investment in your future. I hope today will help you prepare for what’s next in your data science journey.”
Laura Glotzbach, president of LGS Marketing Services, presented a Navigating Job Postings workshop. She explained the different levels of enterprise data maturity, the types of data skills that are currently in demand, and the types of experience data job seekers should get in the first one to three years of their career path. She also gave practical advice about the different kinds of job openings to look for and questions to ask during an interview.
Glotzbach, along with Lindsay Alvarado, a career advisor at Rider University; Andrea Garrido, career management specialist, Rutgers University, also delivered a presentation, Creating Your Data Science Story: Interview Tips. The presenters reviewed the STAR Structured Storytelling Framework, which advises interviewees to tell interviewers stories about their work experience by relating the situation, task, action, and result. The speakers emphasized that compelling storytelling is a skill that takes practice to learn well. They also advised students to work with a career advisor, mentor, friend, or professor to help refine and strengthen their story.
Dr. Marina E. Johnson, assistant professor, Information Management and Business Analytics, Feliciano School of Business, Montclair State University, gave an overview of the tri-state area data science labor market. She noted that interest in data science is on the upswing, reviewing the major employers in different industries who are hiring. Johnson also reviewed the specific knowledge, skills, and tools that data job seekers need to have. She gave practical advice about what all new data practitioners need to prepare themselves for the workplace.
Other speakers included Judith Sheft, executive director, New Jersey Commission on Science, Innovation, and Technology, who highlighted the benefits of working in New Jersey. A Young Professionals Panel included Lucas Marxen, associate director, Rutgers Office of Research Analytics; Alex Cunningham, data scientist, Church and Dwight; Amber Stile, global data synchronization product owner, Johnson & Johnson; and Grace Chi, co-founder, Pulsedive.
Barry Bierenbaum, founder and CEO of Mountain Express Oil, delivered the closing remarks, providing the high-level executive perspective. After highlighting the critical role of data scientists in extracting actionable insights from data and finding business solutions, Bierenbaum summarized the expectations of executives from practical data scientists: “I don’t need to know how the clock was built. I want to know the time.”
The workshop was well-received by the attendees. Pritika Gulati, an undergraduate student at Rider University, commented, “This workshop offered candid information and lessons when it comes to building a professional profile which enhanced my knowledge of the day to day of the data science world. Hearing from individuals who have been in the data science field for a while and some who have just begun their journey allowed me to get a feel of the endless possibilities available for me.”
“The program was an essential need for data science students. It gave us a really strong and clear direction about the industry. The workshop helped me gain confidence in what I am doing. The workshop gave me detailed insights about the industry which was really helpful!” added Umer Khan, a graduate student at Rider University.
The workshop concluded with a networking session.
Rutgers University, along with eight higher education partners, established The New Jersey Big Data Alliance (NJBDA) in 2013. NJBDA’s mission is to catalyze collaboration among New Jersey academia, industry, and government in building advanced computing and data analytics capabilities and expertise. Today, the NJBDA is a consortium of 16 higher education institutions and NJEdge, as well as industry and government members. The consortium builds and leverages collaborations to increase competitiveness, generate a skilled workforce, drive innovation, and catalyze data-driven economic growth for New Jersey. The New Jersey State Legislature recognized the alliance in 2014 as “New Jersey’s Advanced Cyberinfrastructure Consortium.” This legislation formalized the partnership among the state’s higher education institutions in building the computational and analytics capabilities and expertise in New Jersey. For more information go to www.njbda.org.