Great portfolio projects are driven by genuine interest, value simplicity over complexity, and make a quantifiable impact.
Provable experience is needed even for entry-level jobs in data science, making portfolio projects vital for aspiring data scientists.
Quantifying your portfolio project’s impact is the key to getting noticed by recruiters and hiring managers.
The key to standing out is to show your project made an impact and show that other people cared. Why are we in data? We're trying to find insights that will drive business that actually impacts a business, or we're trying to find insights that will actually shape society, or create something novel. We're trying to improve profitability or improve people's lives using and analyzing data, so if you don’t somehow quantify the impact, then you are lacking impact.
I've coached so many people and I've just seen so many smart people say, ‘I'm going to do deep learning on this topic.’ But, if you can even just get the data set on your computer and store it in a database, that would already be pretty impressive. For bigger data sets, you already have to write Cron jobs and you have to write some basic SQL to analyze a dataset, so forget about deep learning. Often when people look at what they think is cool, they over-complicate things. Instead, make it simple and easy, and almost make it a little stupid. Let's be honest, if all you did was make a cool data set and upload it on Kaggle, that could get traction on its own.