Data science coaches and mentors are proving to be increasingly popular in the past few years as marketplaces have sprung to provide guidance to support aspiring data scientists, data analysts, and machine learning engineers.

Given the ambiguity of data scientist roles in the past few years and the requirements needed to attain the position, data science coaches are more necessary than ever.

What Does a Data Science Coach Do?

So what exactly is a data science coach? Think of it as an experienced data scientist who’s also a dedicated mentor that can help out with anything from career advice to technical skills development. A data science coach would get an idea of your skill level in various subjects like machine learning, statistics, and programming, and can help develop a personalized plan to help you improve in your areas of weaknesses.

What makes a data science coach different from any data scientist is that they’ve likely got a few years of experience under their belt and understand how to specifically do the coaching and mentorship part. This means how to formulate a development plan, how to identify weaknesses, and how to improve someone's skills through rigorous training.

A data science coach would also have extensive domain knowledge regarding the interview process at different companies. This means that they can also provide you with behavioral and technical interview practice, review your resume and cover letter, and teach you how to present your portfolio when looking for a new job.

Career Advice

Generally data science coaches can offer career advice that is helpful for both aspiring data scientists out of school or bootcamp or even a professionals switching from another industry. Understanding your optimal position, role, and company for your strengths and weaknesses and experience is crucial in terms of planning the correct job search strategy route.

For example, while most data science coaches are known for helping out on technical projects and interview preparation, they can also be helpful in regards for figuring out which companies are hiring for roles that fit your speciality and experience. Since data science is such an ambiguous term, it's helpful to have the guidance of someone in the industry that can see where you fit.

Data Science Interview Coach

P.S. - If you're interested in a data science interview coaching session read more about how Interview Query data science experts can help you ace your interviews!

One of the main reasons to get a data science coach for interview prep would be to understand how you would perform when given a real interview. Conducting a formal mock interview with a data science coach would help give you an idea of what your strengths and weaknesses are, where you need to improve, and how you might rank against other data scientists.

For example at Interview Query, we use a strict rubric to grade each candidate depending on the type of data science interview (SQL, Product, Modeling, etc..) to then compare to placement rates later on at different companies.

More so than anything else, it'll give you an idea of leveling and feedback that is hard to receive from many companies that are now scared of giving interview feedback due to post-interview feedback lawsuits.

Understanding your level is the first step to improving on interviews where your performance can reap huge negotiation wins when it comes down to finalizing offers. The difference between a good interview and an amazing interview can be almost $50,000 in end negotiating power.

What types of Coaching Sessions are there?

There are two main types of data science coaching sessions that help candidates understand how to improve their skills, learn new concepts, and tackle their upcoming interviews.

Mentorship Style

This coaching session is more beginner friendly and focused on working through a question together.

An example session would start out with the data science coach proposing an interview question or concept to go over. The coach would continually give hints on how to start and approach the problem and help guide through potential roadblocks.

Towards the end of the session, the data science coach will pose different ways to attack the problem, summarize a framework, and give you pointers on how to tackle the problem the next time you see it.

Mock Interview Style

This format is usually simulating a live interview that allows you to get feedback and understand your general data science and machine learning weaknesses.

The data science coach will ask one or two interview questions. These can be tailored for an upcoming interview or generalized for a specific topic or industry (SQL, Machine Learning, Product, Marketplaces, E-commerce, etc..)

At the end of the session, the coach will leave 15 minutes for feedback on what you did well or what you should improve in.

But Lastly, Is a Data Science Coach Worth it?

Generally it does when the average salary specifically for a data scientist in the US is $113,309 and can reach between $200K to $300K for data scientists with experience at FAANG companies.

If paying for a coach that can marginally improve your chances to getting hired at a company by 20% and the average pay bump is at least 20%, then it's a matter of comparing spending $200-$400 dollars on coaching sessions for a potential increase in $20K or more in salary. If you're valuing your time effectively, it's definitely more worth it to have a data science coach that can give you the professional feedback you need to land your dream data science job!

If you'd like hiring a data science coach, get in touch with us at Interview Query where we offer:

  • mock interviews with feedback
  • interview prep services,
  • career advice and job search strategy!

We have data science coaches from Facebook, Google, Amazon, and all the top tech companies that have understood how to assess interview level and give professional feedback and advice.