The world is an incredibly interconnected place these days – more so than ever before. But somehow if you go looking for the top online communities for data science and other data professionals who aspire to become data leaders – all you get is a bunch of people troubleshooting their broken code. Surprisingly, and despite the high data project failure rates the world-over – online data conversations are mostly all about how to implement, with very little talk about how to make sure your data projects are actually successful. In today’s post, we’ve set out to change all that by elevating the communities where data leadership conversations are happening, at least some of the time.
A large majority of our opportunities, learnings, and social connections come to us in online form – but this mega directory we call the Internet is VAST and connecting up with ‘our people’ can sometimes feel like finding a needle in a haystack.
I have worked in the data world for more than 15 years. I meet people every single day who aspire to be great data leaders – whether that be in the healthcare industry, marketing, engineering, or education, among others.
There are a million resources out there for those working in the data implementation sphere. There are Facebook groups, LinkedIn communities, and more technical Meetups than you could shake a stick at.
In the course of recent product development work I went looking for a great list summarizing the TOP online communities for data science and other data professionals who aspire to become … and I turned up a big fat empty search result.
Conversations about data leadership just aren’t happening as much as ones about implementation, and they NEED TO BE HAPPENING.
When you go for a data leadership role, a lot of companies want to see evidence that you are building (and have built) relationships with other data thought leaders. But data professionals are naturally attracted to the details – from system configuration and number crunching, and everything in between. Staying focused on this detail prevents you from reaching the necessary bird’s eye view – and it won’t make you attractive to hiring managers either.
So in order to keep your eyes on the prize, I’ve done a little compilation exercise and brought you the TOP online communities for data science and other data professionals who aspire to become data leaders. These groups will stimulate your data leadership mindset – getting you thinking as well as acting like a leader.
There are a few things you need to look for when joining online communities for aspiring data leaders. Checking off these boxes will ensure you are surrounding yourself with the right people and getting the most value from your participation:
- Make sure there is active, meaningful conversation going on in the groups.
- Check if all the discussion centers around implementation. If it does, this is not the high-level strategic discussion that will springboard you to leadership status. Keep looking.
- Read through and see if conversations are focused on BIG PICTURE topics related to the impact of data projects. I’m talking things like best practices, project management, data storytelling, business impact, consulting practices, and the like.
The onus is also on YOU to make the best of these groups. That means YOU need to:
- Start discussions about BIG PICTURE topics.
- Contribute as often as you can to the group, to stimulate conversation and pass on your own ideas and knowledge.
- Do your best to build online networks with thought leaders.
- And last but not least, you need to THINK LIKE A DATA LEADER. Implementation was your old gig. The time for getting bogged down in the details is not now!
And now, without further ado…
Here are the top online communities for data science and other data professionals who aspire to become data leaders!
A high-level overview here… Below you’re going to see the top user groups, social media groups, conversation-leaders, and Meetups for data professionals who aspire to become data leaders!!
You have most likely heard of Tableau before – it’s a powerful data visualization tool that simplifies raw data into an easily understandable form. But Tableau is more than its software products. The Tableau team has really built one of the top online communities for data science and other data professionals who aspire to become data leaders – full of forums, events and articles.
While the forums themselves are largely technical, you can use Tableau’s (currently) online events to meet and mix with other leaders in the data world, make connections, and learn new leadership skills.
In mid-June, for example, Tableau held its Virtual IT Summit, titled ‘Drive Change with Data’ – full of best practice ideas for aspiring data leaders to transform their companies’ data models.
Reddit can be a great place to meet like-minded people, ask questions, and get ideas.
While Reddit’s data-related forums are often filled with technical talk and implementation details, you can be lucky and stumble across a conversation on data leadership and strategy.
My go-to Reddit is r/datascience – it definitely pays to spend some time scrolling here to see what you can find and who you might run into!
This is the data leadership community you should aspire to join if you are wanting to rub noses with the crème de la crème of your field.
Dataleaders.net is an online community for chief data officers and data executives from some of the world’s big-name organizations.
Apply to belong to Dataleaders.net and you’ll get access to a valuable range of interviews, articles and case studies that will FINE TUNE your leadership skills and bring you up to the very top of your data game.
Dataleaders.net offers its members access to exciting events and guest speakers, and is also active on LinkedIn.
4. Join Thought Leaders’ Conversations
If you want to mingle with the data thought leaders of the world, the best thing you can do is to join in on the conversations they are already having. Don’t know when you’ll next be able to join a Data Summit or attend a conference? Never fear! Most of the top data leaders have social media and LinkedIn accounts and the best share their thoughts on a regular basis.
Get involved in their conversations. Share their content. Comment. Ask questions. Digital networking is *real*, and by immersing yourself into their worlds, you’ll be a genuine part of their networks sooner than you think.
Not sure who to follow first? Start with these five and expand your circle from there!
- Jennifer Cooper – VP Strategic Analytics at JP Morgan Chase & Co
- Zack Mazzoncini – Data Storytelling Expert at Data Story Academy
- Danny Ma – Data Professional at Sydney Data Science
- Cassie Kozyrkov – Chief Decision Scientist at Google
- Kyle McKiou – Founder and CEO of Data Science Dream Job
5. Meetup Local
If you are looking to improve on specific leadership skills under the data science umbrella, then a Meetup with like-minded professionals may be the right fit for you.
It’s not unusual for data professionals to find themselves a little nervous about demonstrating the kind of skills required of a data leader, such as presentation and public speaking capabilities.
If you’re lucky you will find a Meetup in your own area that caters to your upskilling needs. The Data Science Speakers Club, for example, is a London-based Toastmasters club helping data scientists, entrepreneurs, and innovators to improve their communication skills and develop as leaders.
Similarly, in DC, the Open Data Leaders Meetup organizes regular events and guest speakers in the area. While not strictly an online community – these Meetups do have their origins on the Web and can be a great way to start your networking journey.
6. Meetup Online
In this Covid-induced age of ‘social distancing’, sticking to online networking may well be one of your top priorities. Fortunately a range of Meetups offer online events, which means no matter where you are in the world, there’s zero excuse not to turn up and get mingling!
Looking for some good places to start?
Give these a try!
- Data + AI Online Meetup
- PowerBI Women Meetup (Global)
- Metis: San Francisco Data Science Meetup
- Global AI community channel
Facebook is the King of online communities, but it can be difficult to find Facebook Groups that cater to those wanting Data Strategy discussions, not just technical assistance. Many groups are closed off and intended exclusively for those within a particular industry, geographic location, company, or social circle. Getting into these groups is something you’ll likely achieve after already becoming a data leader, which isn’t much use to you if you’re still on your way there!
Still, there are a few open entry groups that are worth your while joining, even if they don’t focus exclusively on big picture data ideas. Check these three out and see what you think:
- BI Data Storytelling Mastery
- Beginning Data Science, Analytics, Machine Learning, Data Mining, R, Python
- The Data Strategy Club – This is the group my Data Strategy Action Plan friends and I call home. Join us!
LinkedIn is the ultimate place for professional networking. There are a number of LinkedIn Groups of interest to aspiring data leaders but tracking them down can prove difficult. I’ve rounded up a couple of great places to start. Clicking ‘follow’ on the accounts of data thought leaders you admire is also a good way to get a networking ‘in’ – it means you’ll always be first to hear when they post an update or article, so you’ll always have your finger on the pulse.
9. Follow the Hashtag
If there’s ONE top online community for data science and other data professionals who aspire to become data leaders, it’s LinkedIn. I’m not talking about any specific data leader or Linkedin group here, rather the entire LinkedIn community.
If there’s ONE incredible online community for data science and other data professionals who aspire to become data leaders, it’s LinkedIn. I’m not talking about any specific data leader or Linkedin group here, rather the entire LinkedIn community.
Going ‘where the hashtags are’ is a surefire way to insert yourself into the conversations of data thought leaders and to keep up with the latest news on data strategy and data leadership.
My top picks for hashtag searches on LinkedIn?
10. Data Strategy Club (Winning with Data)
Last but not least is my VERY OWN fabulous online community for data science and other data professionals who aspire to become data leaders: The Data Strategy Club over on Facebook.
I started the Data Strategy Club after realizing there were SO FEW communities that catered specifically to those interested in upping their data leadership game. Most other communities were so choked with technical queries, job ads and spam posts (ugh!) that those looking to have higher-level conversations about data strategy and leadership never really felt at home.
The Data Strategy Club is a growing members area for those who use my Data Strategy Action Plan – which is full to the BRIM with strategies and steps to up-level in your data leadership career by leading profit-forming data projects.
I love our Data Strategy Club community and encourage you to do the course and join us over on Facebook too!
Top Online Communities for data science and other data professionals who aspire to become data leaders – Get Involved!
Know someone who could benefit from these resources and online data science communities? Share this post with them so we get MORE people talking about data strategy in ALL the nooks and crannies of the online world.
Data strategy and data leadership is woefully underrepresented in online discussions, but it’s a part of my mission to change that and I’d love you to join me! So get posting, get discussing, and let’s create MORE community around this crucial aspect of the data industry.
See you out there in the community!