Success! Industry Careers in Data Science speaker series

Oct. 17, 2022

From academia to industry

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The Data Science Institute Industry Careers in Data Science series hosts speakers who have successfully made the transition from academia to a data science career in industry. The series helps to demystify the transition and gives students the reassurance that they could have a future as a data scientist outside of academia. Also, hopefully, the series will help undergraduate and graduate students expand their networks within the data science community.

Alex Bigelow was the first speaker in the series which was held on September 7, 2022 at the University of Arizona Main Library. With over 60 attendees, the event was considered a great success by both attendees and organizers. Bigelow is a Software Engineer on the Visual Experience Team at Stardog Union. Bigelow’s talk explored studying how people approach data analysis and visualization in practice and designing software that is more flexible to real-world workflows and exploring alternative data structures. 

The speaker series organizer and Data Science Institute Computation and Data Science Educator, Greg Chism, said that a graduate student attendee had spoken to him after the event and told him he no longer was worried about his career prospects. “It’s just nice to see that the perceived need I thought there was is being met,” says Chism speaking to the perceived need of career direction in data science for students or graduates that he hopes to provide with the lecture series. 

Graduate students and undergraduates face an existential crisis at least once in their academic careers. Most do not have a definitive career path already laid out before graduation. Only around 10% of all post-docs gain research faculty positions. Data science is one of the fastest growing job markets, but there is no exact definition of what one’s job will entail. Making the transition to industry could be the perfect next step for anyone facing uncertainty in their career. There is a large demand for data scientists and countless possibilities for what data science could do for one’s career, if one wishes to explore the possibility of transitioning from academia to the private sector or industry.

The Industry Careers in Data Science speaker series continues. The October event with Jenn Schilling has been postponed to the Spring semester.  Ryan Bartelme will present at 5:30 PM on November 2, 2022.


Greg Chism