Data science internship opportunities are at plenty, but aspirants struggle to get internship offers that could open up the doors for their career. This is because beginners do not follow the right approach while applying for internships to increase their possibility of differentiating among other applicants. To ensure you get an internship opportunity, you need to follow best practices to increase the likelihood of landing a data science internship. A well-devised strategy while hunting for internships is essential to not only reduce the friction but also get internships at organizations you want to work with.
In this article, we list down a step-by-step guide that can help you get an internship in the data science domain.
- Programming And Courses
A strong foundation is what you should be focusing on in the beginning. Learn any programing language be it Python or R and become proficient by practising on platforms like HackerRank. Do not fall for some comparison among the best programing language for data science. Just be good at whatever you choose as a language to solve problems. “A data scientist is a problem solver not only a Python programmer,” said Chiranjiv Roy. Do not waste your time debating or searching for answers about the best programing language that leads nowhere.
You can enrol in free courses on platforms like Udacity, Coursera, and edX, to learn the programming language. Following this, you can take courses for statistics and mathematics. Further, you can also learn data analysis and machine learning techniques on any edtech platform.
- Certifications Are Not Necessary To Get Data Science Internships
Another misconception among data science aspirants is that they think certifications are necessary to get internships. This misconception is usually spread by influencers on social media to promote paid data science courses on their pages. Organizations want skills, not certifications; even blue-chip companies do not seek certifications while hiring for data science jobs, let alone internships. If you prefer guided learning, you can enrol in paid courses, but do not pay for the sake of obtaining certificates.
- Build Portfolio
Instead of certificates, showcase your worth with data science projects. However, doing the usual projects will not demonstrate your skills. You can start with common projects but gradually progress toward solving real-world problems. Do not always rely on getting data from Kaggle or similar platforms to prepare data for you. In organizations, you are given a business problem and asked to solve using data science skills. Often, you will have to wrangle data from different sources before you can implement machine learning techniques. Doing a project that requires efforts from the gound-up will strengthen your position to receive internship offers.
- Avoid Relying On Job/Internship Portals
Most of the aspirants randomly visit several online portals and start applying to every internship posting. Data science being a lucrative job, thousands of people apply for any possible opportunity to get started in the domain. If you follow others and rely only on job portals, you will fail to differentiate yourself from the rest. This does not mean that you should completely ignore online portals but do not burnout yourself by randomly applying for internships to as many as you can. But, where should you focus on getting data science internships? LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is the best platform that you can use to get data science internships. It can be leveraged to share your data science learning/project through posts and articles. This will increase your visibility among decision-makers or other data scientists, which will help you in getting an internship or job offer.
In addition, you can personally reach out to data scientists on LinkedIn, discuss data-science related topics, and eventually ask for referrals for internships. Referrals are one of the best techniques to get internships.
While there are numerous ways in which you can showcase your ability, the steps mentioned above can help you land a data science internship quickly. Undoubtedly, winning hackathons, and progressing on Kaggle will help you too, but those can be daunting for beginners as it takes time.