How writing on the internet can help you get a job

In your path to learning programming and data science, you’ve probably learned a lot from blogs and tutorials on the internet. They’re everywhere and they’re great. Although I too am all for extrapolating the course and going after answers yourself, reading blogs, forums, etc., I’m here to tell you that you should not only read e learn but also write and teach!

I started writing about data science for fun. I just wanted to be part of the data community on the internet and it felt great to have an article published on a blog. But then I realized how helpful those articles were (and still are) to my career.

Once your article is on a blog, it begins to work for you in multiple ways. First of all: they’re advertising you. People will stumble on your text sooner or later, either because you wrote about what they are learning or, even better, because they’re hiring people with the abilities you just demonstrated, either for a full-time data job or for a freelance writing job (yes, you can get paid to write).

Make sure to insert your LinkedIn profile on everything you write, and the blogs will draw people to your network. I still get lots of connections from people who found something I wrote two years ago.

Also, when you get an interview (and you eventually will), having a portfolio of published blogs can make all the difference in your favor. It will give you more stuff to show and talk about with the interviewer, of course, but it also creates a sense of authority over you and your work. Not to mention it will improve your communications skills, which are critical for any data scientist.

And yes, I’m aware that its’ not easy to start. Maybe you don’t think you’re a good writer or you don’t know what to write about. Here’s how to overcome these:

  1. Don’t think you’re good at writing? Write. Again. Keep writing. It may seem contradictory, but it’s not. The more you write, the better you get. And don’t be ashamed to submit your texts to blogs or publishing in your social network. The community is very welcoming and, just by publishing something, you’re already doing more than 90% of the people who are fighting you for that same job.

  2. Don’t know what to write about? Write code. Your own code. If you don’t do it already, start creating your own projects. Find something you like, and see how you can apply data science to it. Every time you make something, write about it. That’s how I started to have a frequency in my writing. And it does not have to be a giant, complex, rocket science project. You will be surprised to see how much you can write about only 25 lines of code.

Keep in mind that it won’t be easy but it sure will be worth it. If you need any help, feel free to ask me here or to drop a message.

Writing code and writing text are closer to each other than you may think and this combination can make you a better data scientist. Remember: Your articles will work for you 24/7 and for free. Take advantage of this!

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That’s a really great piece, Otávio, can’t agree more! :heart_eyes: :+1: It also reminds me my own way :blush: I still remember my excitement when my first article was accepted and published in Towards Data Science, and especially when after several months since then I was contacted for a freelance writing job in data science! :rocket:

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Yes, I almost did not believe it when my first article was published. It’s an awesome feeling!

Glad you liked the post!

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Great stuff Otávio,
I love it :clap: :clap:

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First of all, such an enlightening post. This community does not cease to amaze me.
I have a question though. I believe I am at a beginner stage of my data science journey. And after doing some courses, I am finally jumping on the bandwagon of personal projects. At this stage, is it nice to start writing? At this time, all I can think is that I am a beginner myself, what and whom I can teach or talk about?

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HI @sahiba.kaur.stats , I’m glad this was helpful to you.

I once read something that helped me when having similar thoughts as you: no matter how much of a beginner you are, there will always be people who are even more beginners.

Data science and programming are very popular nowadays, so there are always new people starting their journey and looking for basic content. So you don’t have to be afraid that your article is too basic. As I said earlier, you’re not writing about rocket science, state-of-the-art, world-changing projects, and you don’t have to.

Here are to tips to find what to write about:

  1. Once you learn something that amuses you, go dig deeper into that subject. Courses like Dataquest are very good but they won’t go deep into every topic, so don’t wait on them. Go after more knowledge of that particular subject you liked, implement some code using it and write about it.

  2. Unguided projects. Guided projects are great but are what you do on your own that makes the difference. Apply data science on stuff you like or need:

  • Looking for a job? Create something to find and store job openings on the internet for you.
  • Big sports fan? There are tons of data about sports available on the internet. Find what interests you and make some data science on it. Create good charts, find good insight, make some predictions, whatever.

When you do these things, you:

  1. can write about what you did.
  2. will run into problems of your own, and you’ll have to go after solutions on your own. Write about that problem. Maybe the problem is too specific and is hard to even find some solution on the internet, but when you solve it, you’ll have something even more special to write about it, because you are writing about something not many people have written about.

So if it’s nice to start writing? Of course! It’s a win-win situation. Remember, you’re not trying to change the world and your first article won’t become a best seller. You are just sharing some knowledge, improving your communication skill, creating a portfolio, expanding your online presence, making some new connections, and trying to stand out. Those have to be your goals.

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Thanks so much for the detailed response. @otavios.s .

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Hi @otavios.s,

Thank you for this helpful post! I have a question though, where would you post your writings if you were just starting out? Would you just post on Medium or would you try to submit your writing somewhere? And if so where?

Thanks again for the help!

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Hi @Johnsonk51502 ,

You can submit it to publications on Medium, for example. Actually, I suggest that you do that before posting it only in your medium profile, at least while you don’t have many followers.

My first English article was published in Towards Data Science, which is arguably the biggest Data Science blog in the world.

Others like Hackernoon, freeCodeCamp, and Level up Coding are great blogs as well.

You may think that because these are big publications, they will only accept very advanced articles, but that’s not true. As long as you have something well written and show some interesting work or thoughts, they’ll publish it.

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Hi everyone!

So, I combined the original post on this topic with the questions that were asked here and my answer to those questions into an article that was just published on Towards Data Science!

I hope you like it:

Now this message can reach even more people.

Thank you @sahiba.kaur.stats and @Johnsonk51502 for the questions that made think even more about the idea of writing about data science.

And it seems like I’m not only writing abou data science, but I’m writing about writing too :joy:

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Loved your article, Otávio!! :heart: I noticed that you expanded a lot on your original post. Very well-structured, capturing, helpful, informative, and inspiring! You’re doing an awesome job not only for our learners but also for a broader audience of Medium! :star2: :dizzy:

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Thank you so much for this, I want to know how you submit your article on towards data science?

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Hi @OlutokiJohn,

Sorry for the delay.

TDS has a guide for people who want to write for them:

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Hi otavios.s,

I’m a new user here, I’d like to thank for your insights. As I had to do a research project at the university to obtain my bachelor’s degree, I used this opportunity to introduce myself into data science and built my first project from scratch. I used R to verify how income inequality has spatially changed in Madrid’s (Spain) districts. As far as I know, this analysis hasn’t been done before.

Now, I’m adapting the research (8,000 words) into something more digestible. If I remember correctly, in Medium you can’t insert interactive content and write formulas (you have to convert them into images). Because of that, I was thinking of creating a GitHub Page. I don’t have a personal domain (is it essential?).

I have two questions:

  1. Is it a good idea to create two versions? One would be a short article for common people, with the main results and a dashboard, and the other one for technical people where I’d include both the formulas and the code. This approach has one major issue; it’s very time consuming.
  2. Can you submit something into the sites you’ve mentioned that you’ve already published elsewhere?
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Hi, @vasilygrz ,

First of all, congratulations on your project!

I do not recommend you to spend time and money on a personal domain. I think you should focus on learning and sharing your knowledge and Medium and GitHub are great tools for that already.

About your questions:

  1. Having distinct versions is important so you can reach a larger audience according to their expectations and backgrounds. Since you have a huge project, here’s what I recommend:
  • Share a detailed version on GitHub. In this version, you can be as technical as you want. Write formulas, code, etc.

  • Share a less detailed version on Medium. Medium is a great tool and you should not discard it. This version will probably be shorter and with fewer details than the one on GitHub, but you can also insert formulas (I know it’s harder on Medium) and code as the Medium audience is somehow technical as well. From 1000 to 2000 words.

  • An even shorter article with just a few details for common people on LinkedIn. In this version, you’ll basically explain your work, the methodology the insights you had, and your conclusions. Around 1000 thousand words.

Both Medium and LinkedIn articles should contain a direct link to the detailed article on GitHub. It’s important to write different versions like these, but it’s also important to share them in the correct places. A non-technical version makes much more sense on LinkedIn than on GitHub, for instance, and you’d also be drawing people from your LinkedIn network to see your technical work on GitHub.

  1. That depends on the site. You’ll have to check on their submission guidelines. I know, for instance, that Hackernoon does accept articles that were published elsewhere. However, if your concern is that your work was published academically, then this is not a problem. What you have now is an academic paper. You’ll transform this paper into a 1000-2000 thousand word article for the internet that has not been published elsewhere. But once you publish this on a blog, other blogs may not accept it anymore.
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Thank you very much for your response, otavios.s. I’m glad to see that I’m on the right path.

Do you know of previous works that, in your opinion, have been correctly adapted for a different target audience? I’d like to see what others have done, especially their use of language.

For what I’ve learnt, you should only display formulas with a specific audience. Most people brains shut down when they see one. :smile: Sadly, this is because mathematics are poorly taught at all educational levels.

In addition to writing, what’s your opinion about presenting your work on meetups? I’ll contact the local R group to see if they will allow me to make a presentation.

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Yes! Here’s the same project on LinkedIn and on GitHub:

You are correct about formulas.

About meetups, I think any opportunities to show your work to other people is great and can help you make connections, so go for it!

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