Moving up the ladder

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Moving up the ladder by Mind Map: Moving up the ladder

1. Intro

1.1. Different paths beyond senior data scientist

1.2. Opportunities and risks of possible career trajectories

1.3. Managers

1.3.1. Lead teams

1.3.2. Hiring and promoting

1.3.3. Setting strategy

1.3.4. Giving career mentoring

1.4. Principal data scientists

1.4.1. Masters of their field

1.4.2. Rely on them to solve difficult technical problems

1.5. Independent consultants

1.5.1. Freelance for a living

1.5.2. Enough skills

1.5.3. Large enough network

1.6. Make a choice that feels best for you

1.6.1. Don't worry too much about missed opportunities

2. Your level

2.1. Junior

2.1.1. Can complete a task given clear direction on what that task should be

2.2. Senior

2.2.1. Above, plus also figure out what other tasks are needed

2.3. Above senior

2.3.1. The role becomes more about helping others

2.3.2. Consistently mentors others

2.3.3. Creates strategies

2.3.4. Sees the bigger picture

3. Management track

3.1. Responsibilities

3.1.1. What should the team work on?

3.1.1.1. Strategic

3.1.1.2. Tactical

3.1.2. Who should be on the team?

3.1.2.1. Hire

3.1.2.2. Fire

3.1.2.3. Interviews

3.1.3. Mentoring team members

3.1.3.1. Individual challenges

3.1.3.2. Advice, recos

3.1.4. Resolving team issues

3.1.4.1. Cross-team issues

3.1.4.2. Unblocking the team

3.1.5. Managing projects

3.1.5.1. Keeping track

3.1.5.2. Ensuring things are on schedule

3.2. Benefits

3.2.1. Influence situations so less silly work is done

3.2.2. Opens door to further roles

3.2.2.1. Senior manager

3.2.2.2. Director

3.2.2.3. Vice president

3.2.3. Great if you like teaching and helping others

3.3. Drawbacks

3.3.1. Basic tasks are not technical

3.3.1.1. No time to do that sort of work

3.3.1.2. Even if there is, not optimal

3.3.2. No time to do data science

3.3.2.1. You're giving up the job you trained so long

3.3.2.2. Over time your skills would have atrrophied

3.3.2.3. You can't both be a manager and continue to try to be an individual contributor

3.3.3. Gives you a lot more things to worry about

3.3.3.1. Your own performance

3.3.3.2. Performance of the rest of the team

3.3.3.3. What's happening politically at levels above you

3.3.4. Requires a totally different set of skills from DS

3.3.4.1. You will be a beginner again

3.3.4.2. It'll be a long and hard journey

3.4. How to become a manager

3.4.1. Get promoted within your company

3.4.1.1. Most straightforward

3.4.1.2. Easiest because you would already have shown some skills

3.4.1.3. Problem: the company has to need a new manager

3.4.1.3.1. Your current manager has to quit or be promoted

3.4.1.3.2. A role needs to open up on a related team

3.4.1.3.3. Quite rare

3.4.2. Grow a new team yourself

3.4.2.1. Extremely fulfilling

3.4.2.2. Right place, right time, strong-enough leader

3.4.2.3. Even rarer than previous choice

3.4.3. Get a manager role at a new company

3.4.3.1. You should be able to show skills on your resume

3.4.3.2. Check if you're getting attention to this route

4. Principal data scientist track

4.1. Do more and more of DS, unlike manager

4.2. Responsibilities

4.2.1. Influencing DS strategy

4.2.1.1. Manager: idea, business plan

4.2.1.2. Principal: how it should work

4.2.2. Mentoring junior data scientists

4.2.3. Finding solutions to difficult problems

4.3. Benefits

4.3.1. Gets the most interesting problems

4.3.2. You will have funding to go to conferences

4.3.2.1. You can toy with new technology

4.3.3. Making DS plans can be very empowering

4.3.3.1. You'll see your projects done the way they should be done

4.4. Drawbacks

4.4.1. Nobody to turn to for help when you're stuck

4.4.2. The problems will be so unusual or unique, no Google search will provide an answer

4.4.3. You may also face the most annoying problems

4.4.3.1. Minefields no one else can navigate

4.4.4. You'll be in high demand

4.4.4.1. More work than time

4.4.4.2. You'll have to let interesting projects go

4.5. How to become a principal

4.5.1. Be strong enough to work independently effectively and to lead others

4.5.2. Draw attention to your abilities, and find other people to champion you

4.5.3. Handle full projects without outside guidance

4.5.4. What are juniors' problems, and are you able to help them?

4.5.5. As new ideas are thrown out, look for situations in which you can create the approach

5. Independent consulting track

5.1. Companies want to hire only if they need a special set of skills for an important problem

5.2. Responsibilities

5.2.1. Marketing your business

5.2.1.1. You won't get calls unless people know about you

5.2.2. Doing sales

5.2.2.1. Meet with clients and make a work proposal

5.2.3. Executing the project

5.2.3.1. DS work

5.2.3.2. Project management

5.2.4. Delivering results

5.2.4.1. Present what you've done

5.2.4.2. You may get a follow-on project

5.2.4.3. Otherwise you may lose them

5.2.5. Managing the business

5.2.5.1. Pay taxes

5.2.5.2. Keep track of accounts and cash flow

5.2.5.3. Etc.

5.3. Your job is likely 1/2 DS and 1/2 all the other work to keep the business going

5.4. Finding clients is often the hardest part

5.4.1. Tend to come from recommendations

5.5. Benefits

5.5.1. Can be lucrative

5.5.1.1. 2X or more than you would working for a company

5.5.1.2. Keep expenses down

5.5.1.3. Keep rates high

5.5.1.4. Keep a consistent set of clients

5.5.2. Ownership of what you make

5.5.3. Can be fun

5.6. Drawbacks

5.6.1. Drawbacks are staggering!

5.6.2. Wildly stressful

5.6.2.1. Wild swings in cash flow

5.6.2.2. No guarantee whether you get paid in a month

5.6.3. Can make you broke

5.6.3.1. If you can't find opportunities, you'll lose money - fast

5.6.3.2. Even if you get a contract, you won't get paid until 90-120 days after the work is done

5.6.4. Nobody to turn to

5.6.4.1. You're on your own

5.6.4.2. Or tell the client you failed

5.6.5. Work won't be much DS

5.6.5.1. Marketing, sales, contracts, accounting

5.7. How to become one

5.7.1. Test the waters

5.7.1.1. Put up a website

5.7.1.2. Post on LinkedIn

5.7.1.3. Let people know you're available to help

5.7.2. If you find a lot of freelance work and you can't do full-time job anymore

5.7.2.1. Transition now

6. Asking for a promotion

6.1. Let your manager know

6.2. Set a specific goal on how that should happen

6.3. If your manager tells you why you aren't ready, listen to it

6.3.1. He has a perspective that you don't, on what you need for the promotion

6.4. If they're ready, provide as much documentation as possible

6.5. If you still can't get it, may be a sign that it's time to leave