The 3 obstacles Women have to Overcome when Switching their career to Data Science

Hello beautiful friends,

How is your life going? I truly hope that you’re enjoying yourself and having moments of fun!​

Today, I want to share the three most common, and frankly, unexpected obstacles I’ve seen with women switching careers to data science.

And even if you have been struggling with one, two, or three of these obstacles, I can assure you that you’re not alone.

Changing is a long journey, so please take it easy and have compassion for yourself.

Let’s see the three obstacles:

1. Accepting the transition (realizing that you want a career change and acting on it).

It’s probable you’ve wanted to switch careers for a while now, maybe even for several months or years. But somehow, right now seems like the worst possible moment for a change.

How do I know?

Because we humans are wired to avoid change and risks. And changing is assimilated in our brains as a high-stakes risk.

Think about your past experiences. Have you ever considered changing something in your life and acting on it immediately?

Probably no.

So, many of us find it challenging to decide what we want to change and then act accordingly to make it a reality.

​What to do?

Changing is the process of becoming someone new. And with any change, there is an adaptation period—an adaptation to our new environment, habits, or way of thinking.

Usually, fear is the emotion that stops us from changing.

I frequently read the following excerpt from Brianna Wiest’s book The Mountain is You to help me remember what is important:

Fear is not going to protect me. Action is.

Worrying is not going to protect me. Preparing is.

Overthinking is not going to protect me. Understanding is.

2. Knowledge obstacle (learning and filling the gaps)

Once we know the direction we’re headed in, the next step is to identify our learning gaps and start acting on them.

The first questions I usually get is:

Where do I start?

How do I know what I really need to learn?

How to avoid falling into the rabbit hole of learning every little thing about the new subject?

And these questions are actually very connected to the third obstacle.

3. Self-confidence obstacle (feeling ready after learning the technical skills)

I have seen many times this scenario:

We started learning the technical skills and got relatively comfortable with them. We aced the use of algorithms and libraries, analyzing multiple data sets and extracting valuable insights.

But, then, we fail to build the confidence to apply to Data Science jobs.

Sad but true!

Many women have approached me, saying:

I know I’m ready to send my resume and apply to my dream jobs.

But I just can’t. I feel scared, and I don’t feel prepared to go through the interview process.

What to do?

In my experience, not feeling confident about our knowledge comes from a place of doubt and fear.

Because truth being told, you can get a PhD in any topic and still feel unprepared. You can get scared about giving presentations or applying to jobs outside your area of expertise.

Knowledge alone doesn’t make us more confident.

Knowledge alone won’t make us more confident.

It takes more than just knowledge to become a confident person.

It is a matter of attitude and changing how we perceive ourselves. And that will take time.

However, something that really helps is to reach out to others facing the same situation or learn from women who have overcome the same fears.

And there you have it.

I hope learning about these obstacles can help you get more prepared for your career switch – if, you are planning to switch your career to Data Science.

Now, let me ask you: are you currently facing or have you overcome any of these obstacles?

Or maybe, are you facing other hurdles?

From me, to you, please remember, every challenge you overcome brings you closer to achieving your dreams.

And despite the challenges, you will succeed. I’m sure of that!

Stay awesome,

Lina Marieth

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