The following is a recap of the group discussion Taking the Next Step Up Mt. Data, as part of the Data Analytics Symposium (DAS) at Prospect Development 2019. Check out more PD 2019 group discussions here.
How do you thoughtfully – and proactively – select your next data science project, especially after the conference magic has worn off? In the Climbing Mt. Data session, attendees discussed their personal project recipe by reflecting on three key ingredients: career trajectory, data science skillset and pressing business questions. The idea being that we should align our personal and organizational growth, which has been shown to boost your engagement and general happiness at work.
In the realm of career trajectory, most folks in the group were moving along an expert path, and focused on expanding their stats chops, from those moving from descriptive statistics to regression; to those accelerating from regression into more complex classification methods; to others eager to dip their toes into text analysis, using NLS (Natural Language Processing).
Participants on a more managerial path talked about scaling up and expanding their data partnerships, from building relationships with IT to senior development officers. Others were looking for an onboard to a managerial path, but unsure of how to hop lanes — and we discussed managing student workers or development associates to get your feet wet.
Then we shifted from the personal to the organizational. What are the front-and-center challenges in fundraising and engagement? Targeting the right donors was essential: classification of donors by level is a fundraising bedrock, we agreed. Finding more prospects and warming them up earlier is also increasingly pressing: we talked about working further upstream, focusing on data enrichment and making better use of our data through personal outreach to expand our pools. On the other end of the spectrum, after we score or recommend, how do we use data science to usher the prospect along? One data scientist discussed analytical horizons around URM decision support.
Putting all the elements together, each person generated a specific and practical idea for their next project. One attendee said “I would like to focus on developing relationships with IT to scope out projects in data governance.” Another offered, “My summer intern is starting in a week and I think he could work on a sentiment analysis using our contact notes.”
To everyone who came this year, let’s plan on a reunion at next year’s DAS – ‘til then!