Why to even bother?
Now here I am, with my brand new blog, it is been difficult to set it up and running; I had to think of an appropriate name that reflected my intention with this blog; I had to buy a domain name and pay for web hosting; I had to learn how wordpress operates, then I had to tweak it to be able to work with svg’s and external libraries; I had to come up with some interesting subjects in order to write actual blogs that may be of interest to someone; then, I had to make it all bilingual because a bilingual blog is important to me… Huff! it already seems overwhelming, doesn’t it?, well I haven’t even listed half of the myriad of little details!
With all the work that setting a blog implies, a fair question may be: Is it even worth it? especially considering all the chores and responsibilities of everyday life. I think it is, let me tell you why.
In emergent fields like Data Science, it is difficult to assess who really possesses the skills and know-how that will help a company to give a leap forward; and who is a phony. As of today there does not exist a major in Data Science, at least not offered by the most prestigious institutions. Currently the Data Scientist ranks are formed by professionals as diverse as Statisticians, Computer Scientists, Software Engineers and their likes. In a field that is still shaping itself it is vital to have lighthouse keepers, this is, people who have dedicated all their lives to the development of their field; experts with decades of experience accumulated; people whom we can look to in search of advice, guide and knowledge. A blog can be precisely the lighthouse that facilitates how to recognize and find these people.
The aforementioned is also true for people like me (and maybe you), who have the drive and the passion; who, through time, hard study and experience, have acquired valuable skills ready to be put to good use; nevertheless we don’t count with the credentials that may back our dexterity in the field in which we’re trying to make a break through; using my case as an example, my major in Chemistry does not really help me very much to prove my abilities in data analysis or data visualization. For these instances a blog is an excellent way to put your name out there.
Displaying your skills
We all have seen job descriptions completely disparate, haven’t we?; companies asking for experts in 10 completely different technologies and an experience of 10 years in each technology, not to mention 2 majors and 3 PhDs. When I see these jobs descriptions I don’t see a high standards, super specialized company, I see a completely lost company; they know what they’d like the would-be employee to do but they have no idea how to find the right person for the job.
Let me share with you a piece of wisdom I first heard from Kirill Eremenko, a Data Scientist I highly respect: Companies have NOT the responsibility of finding out that you are the right person for the job; it is YOUR responsibility to let them know that you are the ideal candidate. A blog is perfect to showcase all your superpowers and display how valuable your work is and all you can bring to an organization.
One of the best ways to really learn something is to teach it to someone else. The mental process required to distill, organize, present and explain the knowledge you are acquiring, really forces you to attain a deep understanding of what you are studying. The best learners are also great teachers! A blog is an excellent platform to share your wisdom without the need to find an audience.
Generating a side income
While it is not my main goal, I’m well aware that some very talented people make a living out of their blog; that’s right, you can actually monetize your blog! Of course you’d need to have a high traffic blog before even considering making it your sole income source; however, we don’t need to be so drastic and some side income sounds attractive, doesn’t it?
Where did the idea of a blog come from?
I’d love to say that all this idea of creating a blog was an epiphany of my superior mind or the result of divine inspiration but the reality is that it came from John Sonmez; and, who is this gentleman?, you may be wondering; well, he is the creator of the Simple Programmer brand, whose purpose is to help programmers develop their careers by providing them with simple and practical resources and advices; in fact, I’m borrowing these ideas of simplicity and pragmatism for Hark! The Data.
What I like about John’s brand is that, while he clearly is trying to sell you products and services, he also offers many high quality resources for free, one of them is this e-mail course about blogging. I really got value out of this course, so, if you are interested in taking it as well, here is a handy link:
While the aforementioned course is aimed at programmers, I think the advice is applicable to just anybody.
And with this post I’ve finalized my last homework for John’s blogging course, which was to spread the word about the course as long as one had gotten value out of it; I certainly did and I hope you do as well!