For rookies: How To Build a Data Science Career

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What is Backwards Planning?

Backwards Planning essentially means looking at what you want to get to as an end product (e.g. writing a book, building a data product…hooking a data analyst job) and working back from there.

  • What’s essential and what’s nice to have?
  • What do I need to prepare up front?
  • What has to come first? Etc. etc.

The 5 Step Guide To Backwards Planning Your Career Change.


Go to a jobs site like Linkedin or Indeed and search for “junior data analyst” jobs in your hometown. Go through the wordy job descriptions and make notes on what they are asking for. Pay particular attention to the technical skills, education and soft skills sections.


I’ll go out on a limb here but you will probably see Excel and SQL pop up most often in Required Skills. These are the fundamentals of working in a BI or analytical role in the vast majority of companies, both large and small.

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Do you need a 2 year college course or bootcamp in Analytics to learn Excel and SQL? No. Not at all. Despite that, not having even a bachelor’s degree will tend to be a barrier to getting in the door of many organisations. I don’t agree that they SHOULD require it.


Let’s say you’ve worked as a chef. If there is a more highly stressful, on-demand, pressurised working environment I’ve yet to see it. You should have learned plenty of skills running your kitchen that can transfer over to a BI analyst role.

  • Have you worked on something on your own?
  • Been under pressure on the job? How did you deal with it?
  • Was there something broken in the process you were meant to follow? How did you fix it?
Photo by Myriam Jessier on Unsplash


When you’ve built up your skills a little, it’s time to show people what you can do.



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