Webinar discussion: I’m currently a data scientist and I am interested in moving into leadership. What do you think I should do?

Continuing the discussion from the Building Effective Data Science Teams Webinar:

I’m currently a data scientist and I am interested in moving into leadership. What do you think I should do?

Some discussion from the webinar:

Our panelists for this webinar were:

  • Kobi Abayomi, Senior VP of Data Science at Warner Music Group
  • Gregory Berg, VP of Data Science at Caliber Home Loans
  • Elaine McVey, VP of Data Science at The Looma Project
  • Jacqueline Nolis, Head of Data Science at Saturn Cloud
  • Nasir Uddin, Director of Strategy & Inspirational Analytics at T-Mobile
  • Moderated by Julia Silge, Software Engineer at RStudio, PBC

Elaine: To hit more on the theme of communication, I would say ask for opportunities to communicate the work that your team is doing to more and more people at higher and higher levels and get really good at that.

Jacqueline: A lot of leadership is organization and communication, as said, so I find the things that have helped me in my career are running a project on my own. Find places where you can do the whole thing instead of asking your manager, “well, now what do I do?”” Find places where you can be the person calling the shots, and eventually, you find yourself calling shots with other people and then you get titles and stuff like that.

Nasir: I would recommend developing your business acumen. I’m sure you are a data scientist, so you’re technically very sound. You know your technical details. You need storytelling experience and to be able to speak in terms of the business language, rather than the technical language. So while you will be explaining your heuristic curves, instead of using the heuristic curves, how can you explain that in the language of the business?

Also as Jacqueline suggested, be the leader of a project. Take your project, take the ownership of that project, and see whether you can execute end to end.

Greg: As Nasir said, putting on your business hat rather than your data science hat and expanding your horizons. Also, talk with your manager and have an individual development plan. A lot of companies have training for new managers or people who want to become managers. If your manager doesn’t even know that you want to grow and become a manager, they may not push you in that direction. So definitely communicate that “hey, I want to do this. How can we make this happen?”

Kobi: Apply for leadership jobs.