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  #11  
Old 01-12-2018, 01:38 AM
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Originally Posted by whoanonstop View Post
I think he would have a chance for a "Data Science" job in Des Moines, Iowa. SF jobs are going to require a lot more skill to pass up MS/PhD candidates.

If OP cares more about doing "Data Science" it is probably worthwhile for him to open up his geographic options. If they care more about living in SF, well... something about cake eating and having it too.

I don't think it is impossible, but the amount of knowledge a BS would have to communicate through their resume and interview is far higher than someone with a loftier degree.

If you're comfortable, OP, you can send me your resume and I'll give you a harsh and cynical evaluation.

-Riley
I think if OP really likes data science, wants to learn from the best, and manages to stay fed and comfortable while living in SF...they should stay.

There are data science jobs in the Midwest, but the talent just isn't going to be comparable. OP may land the job, but eventually they'll become dissatisfied working in a department that is not up to their intellectual standards.
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Don't you even think about sending me your resume. I'll turn it into an origami boulder and return it to you.
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  #12  
Old 01-12-2018, 01:58 AM
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Just curious to see if anyone can share their experience transitioning from the actuarial industry into data science without an advanced degree. I am an ASA with 2ish years of experience on the health consulting side. I am comfortable building machine learning models using Python and SQL, familiar with the statistical concepts behind these techniques, and I have done some personal projects that I'm ready to talk about during the interviews. With two B.S. (stats and engineering) and a 3.9 GPA from a top 20 university in the US, I am still having trouble getting an interview for an entry level position in the Bay Area.

According to LinkedIn, about 80% of the entry level applicants have an advanced degree (~55% MS/MBA, ~25% PhD) and a lot of them are coming from Berkeley or one of the Ivy's. I know one of the recent posts on AO talked about this.

I will start Kaggling in the next week or two, but it would be great if anyone has any advice to share in the meantime.

Lastly, to address why I am going for the career change: over 90% (or more?) of the companies in San Francisco are hiring data scientists, but the career options are relatively limited for actuaries here. I am not opposed to coming back to the actuarial industry one day if the opportunity arises, but I do think that improving my machine learning skills and having related work experience would be helpful for me in the long run
I transitioned out of actuarial and into data science, without a graduate degree. People here are free to disagree and tell me that my job isn't real data science, but I don't really care. I work alongside PhDs, build the same models, and work with the same latest and greatest tools that are really popular in the DS community, like Scala/Spark, Databricks, or whatever.

I have a minor online presence outside of this forum, and showed it to the other guys on the team. It's nothing special, but they liked what they saw and decided to hire me. However, I think if I needed to get a new DS job it would still be pretty tough to be taken seriously without a graduate degree, which is why I intend to take the GRE after I get my fellowship.

As for things you can do online...Kaggle is a fun way to keep your skills sharp. However, the competition is so steep that it's hard to get known by placing high. I think you should still participate though, especially in the online discussions. If you write some insightful kernels, you could get your name out there.

Also, an idea just came to mind. I'm still working, past midnight, because I'm running into a lot of trouble getting my Scala program to work on Databricks, and there really isn't a lot of documentation or answers on Stack Overflow to address a lot of the issues I've been facing. The error codes are really opaque and googling them doesn't really help. There are a lot of threads on the Databricks forums from people that are having similar issues that are just going unanswered.

Then, it just dawned on me that if I invested a lot of time really getting to know Spark and figuring out how to solve these problems, answer the questions people have, and develop improvements - like participating in Jira tickets and building my own easy to use libraries (i.e., solving real problems), it could get my name out there...
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Don't you even think about sending me your resume. I'll turn it into an origami boulder and return it to you.

Last edited by Colonel Smoothie; 01-12-2018 at 02:01 AM..
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  #13  
Old 01-12-2018, 08:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Colonel Smoothie View Post
There are data science jobs in the Midwest, but the talent just isn't going to be comparable. OP may land the job, but eventually they'll become dissatisfied working in a department that is not up to their intellectual standards.
I don't think it's fair to say that SF jobs are necessarily better than the Midwest market, nor should one assume that OP would feel intellectually superior to the point of becoming dissatisfied.
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  #14  
Old 01-12-2018, 09:52 AM
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You should have gone for one Bachelors and one Masters instead of two Bachelors.
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  #15  
Old 01-12-2018, 12:31 PM
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A friend of mine - I know it sounds sketchy when you start the story with 'my friend'... - who works for a life insurer in California (I won't reveal the name, but there are only handful of those there), told me a coworker of his (another level of sketchiness, but it's true) quit his actuarial job for data science job.

He signed up for a Data-science boot camp, which is not something you can just pay the fee and join, they would interview the candidates on things like math and programming to decide whether to accept them. Once accepted, they would go through intensive training for several months, and the boot camp would refer the candidates for jobs and guarantee placement with 6-figure salaries
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  #16  
Old 01-12-2018, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Colonel Smoothie View Post
I always thought the term "data scientist" was silly to begin with. Rather than developing hard and fast rules for who is and isn't a data scientist, I think we should just recognize that there is a diverse spectrum of data analysts, some of whom are more competent (and better compensated) than others.

A lot of people are on the spectrum, it just so happens that some of those people are more severe than others.
RN

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  #17  
Old 01-12-2018, 01:03 PM
danielpst danielpst is offline
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Originally Posted by Colonel Smoothie View Post
I have a minor online presence outside of this forum, and showed it to the other guys on the team. It's nothing special, but they liked what they saw and decided to hire me. However, I think if I needed to get a new DS job it would still be pretty tough to be taken seriously without a graduate degree, which is why I intend to take the GRE after I get my fellowship.

If you write some insightful kernels, you could get your name out there.
Thank you for the idea. I recently built an arbitrage trading algorithm with ARIMA and random forest. I can probably spend a few days cleaning up the codes and do a write up. An arbitrage model with a 30% monthly return in 3 consecutive months can probably get me some attention.

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Originally Posted by whoanonstop View Post
I don't think it is impossible, but the amount of knowledge a BS would have to communicate through their resume and interview is far higher than someone with a loftier degree.

If you're comfortable, OP, you can send me your resume and I'll give you a harsh and cynical evaluation.

-Riley
That would be great! I'll pm you my resume and the link to the model once I have the model in a more presentable form. I think that would be a more holistic way of presenting myself. If my codes are not up to par, then at least I'll know what to focus on.

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Originally Posted by sndesai View Post
i know an asa with a few years experience who moved to the bay last year to do one of those bootcamps (galvanize, metis, etc.) and is now working as a data scientist
Can you ask your friend whether he got his interviews through the bootcamp or by just having the bootcamp experience on his resume? I'd be curious to learn a bit more about that.

Thanks everyone for the help and advice!
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  #18  
Old 01-12-2018, 05:33 PM
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Originally Posted by danielpst View Post
Thank you for the idea. I recently built an arbitrage trading algorithm with ARIMA and random forest. I can probably spend a few days cleaning up the codes and do a write up. An arbitrage model with a 30% monthly return in 3 consecutive months can probably get me some attention.
Why even get a job? $10k invested in that strategy will make you $5m in two years!
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  #19  
Old 01-12-2018, 05:50 PM
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Why even get a job? $10k invested in that strategy will make you $5m in two years!
probably because he's full of cr*p
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  #20  
Old 01-12-2018, 07:53 PM
danielpst danielpst is offline
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Why even get a job? $10k invested in that strategy will make you $5m in two years!
Because I got in pretty late. People have been posting Youtube videos about these strategies since 2014, but I only found out about it back in August. It looks like the opportunity won't last for much longer anyway:

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/artic...-than-it-looks

Plus, getting a job is not just about making money. I genuinely enjoy building models and making predictions.
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