Written on June 16, 2019
Author: Lewis Gavin

Top 3 skills for aspiring Developers and Data Scientists

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As I’ve grown in experience working in the tech industry, there are a few skills that I’d recommend to anyone starting out or anyone looking to break into the field. Regardless of job role, these skills will be useful in one way or another for Software Engineers, Data Scientists, Web Developers and many more.

1. Working with the Unix Command Line

If you’re going to be building any form of tech, whether it software or machine learning models, you’ll be interacting with Unix. With cloud computing being as big as it is, I can almost guarantee that this will happen.

Unix based machines are used everywhere in the tech world to “run stuff” and even if you’re working locally, MacOS is a Unix based operating system so if you find yourself working on a Macbook then you’ll still be interacting with Unix.

If you know your way around a Unix shell you’ll already be a step ahead. The reason why it’s important is because you’ll find yourself needing to install command line applications and manipulate files whilst developing. You’ll also find that your productivity will increase massively too.

  1. Navigating the command line
  2. Writing and Manipulating files
  3. Shell scripts

2. Understanding SQL Basics

Data is ubiquitous these days. No matter what company you work for or job role you have, data will be a big part of it.

SQL has been the language of choice for interacting with data stored in databases for many years and is something often overlooked.

[Image source](https://memegenerator.net/img/instances/71932717.jpg) Image source

The reason it is key is because everything is powered by data these days. Whether it’s social networks, apps or business reports, all of them are backed by data. Being able to understand this data, look something up in a database or join datasets together is highly underrated.

Programmers will use it for storage and retrieval of things across an application.

Data Engineers will use it to store, clean, manipulate and expose data for reporting.

Data scientists can use it for data exploration, data extraction and for manipulating and aggregating data to provide information.

  1. Creating Tables
  2. Joining Tables
  3. Data Manipulation

I recommend this course on codecademy

3. Articulation of Ideas and Public Speaking

Now this is something that I didn’t really consider or care about until I’d been working for a few years.

It’s something often overlooked and common for technical people to ignore but is one of the most vital skills I’ve learned for a number of reasons.

First of all, a lot of the people you will work with or for aren’t going to be technical. The person who decides what’s worth investing money or time into isn’t going to know every intricate technical detail about what you’re doing or propose to do. Nor should they. If you can articulate your thoughts or idea to this person in a non-technical way though, the more likely you are to get their backing.

[Image Source](https://www.daveramsey.com/store/product/how-to-win-friends-and-influence-people-by-dale-carnegie) Image Source

Public speaking can be very daunting and it’s often because it’s something you rarely do. Getting some practice in at any point is vital so whether you want to share a recent implementation or a proposal, use the opportunity to work on your presentation style and delivery.

Again they aren’t always going to understand the technical detail so using the advice on articulation of ideas here will also help.

  1. Public Speaking (Book: Talk like Ted)
  2. Relationships and Influence (Book: How to win friends and influence people)

If you’re just breaking into the tech industry, maybe applying for your first role as a software engineer or looking to get onto a graduate/apprentice scheme then just knowing the basics in these 3 topics will put in a great position.