I’ve scoured a lot of books, articles and videos over the years and here are a few that stick out in my mind as being most helpful for my career. Some aren’t specific to data-related fields but that’s what makes them extra-valuable.
The Sorrows of Work
I recommend reading this if you are going through a really tough time and it feels like work sucks, will never get better and the whole world is conspiring against you.
In a nutshell, you are correct! There are massive historical forces at play which are coming together in this period of history which is indeed making work a weird thing that can leave you peddling and multitasking and super busy while at the same time being unfulfilling and staring at never ending list of to-dos.
It’s a really long read for a blog post. I think it took me about 2 hours or so. I recommend it because by understanding that there are these massive forces at play, you don’t have to shoulder all the feelings of failure yourself. Knowing that others are experiencing what you are further lightens the load. My general outlook has been a much more sober, and dare I say it, optimistic view of the world, my own career and the ability to focus on the very small parts I can influence, rather than the big things I can’t.
Do Over by Jon Acuff
This career-related book was gifted to me YEARS ago. It’s one of those books that I have never read from front to back, but I find myself dipping into it every couple of years when I need a refresher on something. I kind of start reading it and when I pick up on a bit of action that resonates, I put it down and go do that.
It’s a really great resource for evaluating and working through 4 different career transitions you face at any one time by considering things you can control to build up your “Career Savings Account”. The things you can control are: Relationships, Skills, Character and Hustle.
The 4 stages are Career Ceiling (no growth), Career Jump (new job, start a business), Career Bump (laid off, quit, poor economy) and Career Opportunity (unexpected job offers, awesome projects).
Make Good Art – Neil Gaiman
This commencement speech by Neil Gaiman is really inspirational. I watch it whenever I am feeling a lack of creativity, low self esteem or some impostor syndrome.
Oliver Emberton blog
These blog posts are all wonderful alternatives views and explanations to the turbulent emotions. When I first read it I think it was the first time I had seen much of this written this way.
I can’t recommend any specific posts, but I think you should have a look and read what catches your attention.
Build a Career in Data Science by Emily Robinson and Jacqueline Nolis
This book is aimed more at early-career data professionals, but I think its useful for newbies and grizzled veterans alike. I learnt quite a lot about aspects of Data Science that I’m not familiar with and it helps me empathize with newcomers to the field.
There’s a free online version and I’m glad to say I bought the physical copy too. I can see this is the type of book I’ll refer back to over the coming years.
Choosing tools (and job titles)
This post gives a lot of food for thought about how to go about choosing what tools to use in a job, where to position yourselves (be a profit center, not a cost center) and considerations for job titles.
Ask a Manager
I’ve found myself reading quite a few posts from Ask a Manager. The idea is that people write in with their problems with management or with employees, and Ask a Manager gives advice on how to deal with them. They’re really thoughtful answers. It’s like having a chat with a mentor.
What is useful about this is that you get to see all sorts of situations that people find themselves in, what their response is and what someone else has advised them to do. This is like a mental training ground and also quite entertaining sometimes!