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The many mundane benefits of blogging about playing with data.

kchawla_pi profile image Kshitij Chawla Updated on ・3 min read

This was a Twitter thread that I am converting to a blog post.

I often suggest to my scientist colleagues, many of them Masters interns, or doing their PhDs, to regularly write blog posts about data analysis.

Why?

I think, for people who will soon be starting out in the field after completing a formal degree or career transition, this can be very helpful.

Not blogging is not a reflection of someone's love, interest or dedication to their professions, in this case data science. If someone does not blog then they don't, and they shouldn't defend their choices to anyone.

For anyone who does blog about their data related work, especially when they are starting out in their careers, there are certainly some benefits, in my opinion; both intrapersonal and interpersonal.

Hence, the many mundane benefits of blogging about playing with data.

It documents how you spot interesting patterns in data, your approach to solve it, what do you do when you get stuck? If the analyses do not yield any insights, how do you learn from that and turn it into a win.
The interview for the next job is practically answering itself.

Data people are great at analyses but many never practice explaining to a lay audience. A blog does that. So not only can one analyze data, one can explain to the executives why the insight is valid and decisions based on that a good idea.
Future leadership role? Yes please.

Many write code to analyze data, and if they include that in the blog? Boom! One can code, One can analyze, one can explain it to non-data people?
Already a standout candidate in the interview.

If one blogs about their data explorations regularly, say 2x/month for 8-9 months, it sends a clear message to the external world; that the author loves this work, they are disciplined and dedicated to it and here is an unimpeachable proof.
A "commit" history stretching back months, not something anyone can fake to pass an interview.

Most research papers are written in a style that makes them hard to read. Often scientists spend a lot of energy writing stuff in ways that makes it DULL to read.
Rewriting one's own analyses, the contributing thought processes, all the steps executed, chronicled in a manner accessible to a far wider audience without compromising the depth means not only will one's own understanding and writing skills improve,
one may stumble upon a hitherto elusive insight.

More than writing a paper, rewriting it in one's own words makes it a great pensieve (ala Harry Potter).
An exhausting problem set aside out of the brain, so now one can relax and recharge.

It'll also reflect the author's values. Care about something but the potential interviewer reading it thinks it does not "Fit in with the company culture"? They won't invite you to an interview.
Automatic semi-effective filter for those who'd reject you in the last round because "culture fit".

Corollary to the interviewer above, one will find allies, shared minds, which will further the causes important to them and the world.
One will also find companies and non-profits who will want to work with the author.

Finally, others will read it and learn, get inspired.

Or NOT.

Write for none of these reasons.
Write because you want to.
Write because you love to.
Don't care about all of these, and they will come on their own.
Dance like no one is watching and people will applaud.

fin

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