Whether it involves joining the existing group in your area or starting your own, there are a number of benefits to taking that extra step to connect with your fellow data science enthusiasts. From exchanging best practices to networking both online and in person, we detail five of the best ways you can make the most out of your local data science community below, with tips coming straight from passionate Dataiku users who are leading groups around the world.
1. Meet and Network With Your Fellow Data Practitioners
A unique opportunity to meet fellow practitioners in your region that you may not have encountered otherwise, engaging with local communities allows you to build meaningful connections and expand your professional network in the data science domain. Not to mention the different kinds of profiles you can encounter: As Dataiku User Groups are open to all, you can meet everyone from seasoned professionals to students aspiring to enter the field.
Participants at our recent user group meetup in Chennai
2. Exchange Best Practices and Expertise
Knowledge exchange is a natural result of bringing together a diverse group of individuals, with each having their own set of best practices and expertise. It can be done in ways that are out of the box as well. For example: Sammy Dolgin, Senior Data Scientist at Snow Fox Data and the leader of Dataiku’s new Midwest User Group, is currently setting up an event that revolves around a bingo sheet!
Creating a welcoming environment is also a must to facilitate positive interactions. Jose Arnulfo Reyes H, Auditor at Copa Airlines and the lead for the first Spanish-speaking Dataiku User Group in Panama, has a number of tips for fostering healthy conversation:
- “Think locally but act globally! A good community invites people to interact kindly. Eventually, someone will give their opinion, or ask to give a talk.”
- “When someone new lands in your community, thank them for their interest! A single negative experience is enough for someone not to want to return.”
- “Behave sensitively and kindly. If you don’t respond to their problems, they’ve already forgotten about your community.”
- “Be open-minded about the types of contributions you will accept. There are many ways to contribute to a community. Allow people to help in the way they want to help.”
- “If there is a contribution you disagree with, thank them for their idea and explain why it doesn’t fit in with the project, linking to relevant documentation or guide if you have it.”
3. Enhance Your Skills and Gain New Insights
Getting involved with your local data science community presents a great opportunity to showcase, share, or enhance your skills. Whether it’s exchanging with more senior practitioners, learning about the work of those who come from different industries, or delving deeper into hot topics in the field, knowledge-building is a primary goal of many regional groups.
This is the case for our New York User Group, which is jointly run by two of our Dataiku Neurons: Perry Beaumont, Professor and Data Scientist at Columbia University, and Tom Brown, Chief Technical Officer at Aspire Leaders Institute.
“When we brainstorm ideas for our user group sessions, we routinely loop back to the question of how we can potentially move the needle with new insights for users,” says Perry. “Sometimes that is something specific to Dataiku offerings, such as a new or improved functionality. From time to time, it may be a consideration at more of an industry level, as with Responsible AI. The opportunity for people to learn and pose questions in real time as opposed to reading a blog or watching a video is truly a great skill-building opportunity.”
4. Grow Your Personal Brand Through Speaking Events
If you’re looking to build thought leadership or grow your own personal brand, a good first step is to look into speaking opportunities at local group events. In addition to reaching new audiences, there are a great number of positives that come with participating in this manner, which some of our recent speakers can attest to.
Presentation by Sangeeta Gupta, Community Program Manager at Dataiku, at a recent meetup in Bengaluru
“Speaking in technical forums and community meetups is always a great opportunity for the thinker within you. It definitely opens up a new perspective of your approach towards a problem, thinking process to address and deliver insights, preparedness to answer questions from a diversified audience, and importantly hear their views and opinions. These are great circumstances to personally grow, learn, and add skills to your arsenal,” says Karthik Bhaskaran, Data Scientist at Wipro - AI Solutions, who spoke at the in-person launch event of our Chennai User Group.
Professor Alok Chakravarty of Dayananda Sagar University, a recent finalist of the Dataiku Frontrunner Awards and member of Dataiku’s Bengaluru User Group, has also found the experience to be enriching:
“The prospect of speaking to a technical audience, while exciting, can also be intimidating. I felt this when I got to speak at Amity's online Faculty Development Program, where I shared a business use case on the Dataiku platform. I now look forward to more speaking engagements sharing our work. All this has definitely enhanced my learning and confidence.”
5. Provide or Find Mentorship
Finally, dedicated communities in your area provide a way for you to share your wisdom and provide mentorship to newcomers to the data science field — or to find a mentor if you’re on the other side of the coin!
Uplifting others is the driving force behind why many of our leads and members join Dataiku User Groups, with Antrixsh Gupta, Director - Chief Technical Officer at U SMART AI LAB and Dataiku’s Pune User Group lead, even citing it as a primary reason in his initial application.
“Building a solid foundation can make your tech journey much easier, so don't quit. Coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress, and working together is success.” - Antrixsh Gupta
Shubham Jamwal, Technology Lead at Knowledge Lens and the leader of our new User Group in New Delhi, sees his involvement in his local community as a natural extension of how he’s already been helping empower fellow users through the Dataiku Neuron program.
“I came to know about the Neurons program through Sangeeta Gupta (Community Program Manager at Dataiku). It has really helped me to build my professional contacts and connect with brilliant minds across the globe. I usually spend most of my time on the Dataiku Community, where I help other practitioners with resolving their doubts and using the tool in an efficient way,” says Shubham.