Industry Insights

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8 Worst Career Strategy Mistakes Analytics & Data Science Pros Make

December 15, 2014

Last week I shared a blog piece where I compiled the biggest mistakes I see analytics professionals making in their job search. This week, I wanted to cover some of the more


strategic career mistakes I see Quants making, and offer some of the same counsel that I do in my conversations every day.With so many opportunities and so much growth in the quantitative landscape, it’s important to keep the long-view in mind when choosing between roles, and while the analytics hiring market is busier than it’s ever been, flexibility often remains the key to taking advantage of the greatest opportunities. If you’re a hiring manager or HR professional, check out this article I wrote on how companies can fix their hiring processes. Here are the worst strategic mistakes I see Quants making:

  • Severely Limited List of “Target” Companies – If you limit yourself only to “cool” or name-brand companies, you could be missing out on great opportunities where you might make a greater impact, have a higher salary, and have more opportunities for advancement.
  • Overly Narrow Geographical Constraints – California may be the ‘hot’ place to be right now, but outside the West Coast there are plenty of opportunities to be the pioneer with a white board or the one and only quant, as opposed to being one out of 150 all working on the same project. The more open you are geographically in your job search, the more career opportunities you can take advantage of.
  • Having Unrealistic Salary Expectations – Burtch Works has released detailed salary surveys for Data Science, Predictive Analytics, and Marketing Research professionals that will give you an idea of what you might expect based on your career level, region, industry, and more.
  • Choosing an Offer Based Solely on Salary – Yes, money is an important factor, but it should not be the only factor. When choosing between multiple job offers, make sure to take into account other factors such as growth opportunities, industry, location, learning opportunities, cultural fit, and so on, and choose the role in which you can see yourself happy.
  • Do Not Accept Counter Offers – If you accept a counter offer you will have already burned some bridges by stating your intention to leave, and your company will forever see you as having one foot already out the door, merely biding your time for a better opportunity. Once you’ve made the decision to leave your current company you must commit to the decision, especially once you’ve given notice.
  • Limiting Your Breadth of Experience – By gaining experience in multiples industries, categories, or methodologies, you ensure that you’ll be more marketable even if one industry experiences upheaval. The quantitative fields are evolving quickly, so keep your skills sharp and commit to being a lifelong learner.
  • Being Too Title-Focused – Standard job titles across companies don’t exist, so what may seem like a lateral move may actually be a step forward, especially if you’re changing industries. Stay open-minded about the title, and focus instead on the scope of responsibilities.
  • Not Being Transparent – It is in everyone’s best interest to be transparent during the job search process. Be clear with each company about potential deadlines with other companies. Being transparent about other offers can help speed the process if one company is moving slowly, in addition to assuring that no one’s time is wasted (including yours!).

Is there something you think should be added to this list? Feel free to leave a comment below.

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