MBN Academy showcase Data Science: Employability Skills Workshop at DTS17

I’ve been a bit quiet on the Social/Blogging front recently. Time, over the last couple of months, has been a little limited for anything other than a project I’m working on at present – the identification and securing of Industrial Placement opportunities for MSc. Data students who are currently studying at a variety of Scottish Universities. Funded by The Data Lab, these students will be joining organisations up and down the country for a period of 10 to 12 weeks starting in June.

My first involvement with this Project was back at the end of last year when I visited each of the participating Universities to run #MBNSkills workshops for the students. Along with a team from MBN Solutions I presented on Employability – focussing on CV writing technique, preparation and research for Interview and practical tips around the selection process that students could use when beginning their job hunt.

Last week, at Data Talent Scotland, I found myself back on the stage – hosting a Workshop focussed on those all-so-important Employability skills – to a room of students, practitioners and interested parties who had come together at Murrayfield Stadium last week for Data Talent Scotland 17 – part of the week long DataFest programme being held across Scotland.

One of the themes of DTS17 that I heard repeated by a number of speakers and presenters was that of the importance of “soft skills” to aspiring Data specialists. It makes no difference how adept you are at “data science stuff” if you are unable to work with others, communicate with non-technical colleagues, present to the business or, at entry-level, negotiate the soft-skills minefield that is the recruitment selection process.

Based on my experience throughout almost 2 decades at the sharp end of HR/Talent/Recruitment for the Data space, I could not agree more. My session focussed on these soft skills – I try to turn them into the “rules of a game” that Data specialists need to learn. There are some simple, but critical, lessons to learn in order to maximise your potential chances at securing Data roles and these range from the aesthetic quality of your CV through to the body language you display when you first meet a prospective employer. The #MBNSkills series of workshops and lectures are designed to provide a baseline of knowledge for all Data specialists in the crucial soft skills required for the Job Hunt process.

I had a fantastic time delivering my Workshop to a packed audience (it’s always a little nerve-wracking the night before an event of this nature as you hope that you aren’t presenting in the morning to an empty room!) and I sincerely hope that everyone who attended – even the experienced practitioners – learned something new from the session.

Today? It’s back to the practical. Working with host companies to match students to fantastic Data focussed placement projects all over the country. It’s immensely satisfying talking through meeting feedback with representatives of companies involved in this scheme and hearing them compliment the soft-skill abilities of the students that they have met. It looks like the #MBNSkills message is being received – and I look forward to many more Employability sessions in future.

If you are an organisation interested in this year’s Data Lab MSc. Student Placement Project then please get in touch – [email protected]

If you are an Academic, University or Learning Institution interested in the #MBNSkills project then please get in touch – [email protected]

Robin Huggins