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Why Accepting ‘Any Data Job’ Is a Terrible Career Move, and What You Should Do Instead | by Khouloud El Alami | Nov, 2023


Insider advice from a Spotify Data Scientist to make smart decisions for your career in today’s tough job market

Khouloud El Alami
Towards Data Science

Is the tough job market making you feel like you’re fighting for your life in the Hunger Games — instead of a job?

If you’ve reached the stage where you’re thinking of throwing in the towel and just taking any data job you can get, hold that towel. You’re about to make a big mistake.

I started my data science career in the middle of COVID-19, a crazy time similar to now with companies massively laying off people and barely hiring anyone (except it was worse).

At that time, I was a student feeling like a total imposter with a $50k debt breathing down my neck. In a moment of despair, I did what most of us do. I threw my standards in the trash and started applying hysterically to any data job I could find.

I sent hundreds of applications to companies I didn’t even know because of how desperate I was — (Image by Author)

But then, a data scientist told me something that changed everything: starting on the right foot in this field is crucial.

Why is this so critical in data science? Because in this field, not all roles are created equal. The diversity of the field means skills and experiences valued in one sector may not be as relevant in another — it can be the difference between a company hiring you or swiping next.

Now, as a Data Scientist at Spotify, I can confidently say that holding out for the right job instead of just desperately grabbing any data role was the smartest move.

Settling for less would have set me off on the wrong career path or would have delayed my journey to landing my dream job. One thing is for sure; I wouldn’t be where I am now.

The face of someone who doesn’t settle for less, if you need some inspiration — (Image by Author)

This story is a guide to help you make smart career moves, even when the job market is holding you by the throat. I’ll show you:

How giving in to the pressure of accepting a job that doesn’t meet your aspirations is a terrible move that can derail your career.

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