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Business Intelligence Careers

Data Influencers to Follow

6 min readView all articles
By John Pauler
Nov 18, 2022

UPDATED: November 2022

If you've been thinking about building a personal brand, trying to become more active in the data community, or looking for a new role in data, then this one is for you.

One of the best things you can do for your career is to build a personal brand, and start networking with others in data.

If you do this well, it leads to a number of things...

  • Finding a community to learn with
  • Forming meaningful connections with like-minded people
  • Giving yourself a platform to showcase your skills
  • Creating opportunities to find and explore career opportunities

Now, if you're feeling overwhelmed, nervous about getting active publicly, or just don't know where to start, here's what I'll tell you...

  • The data community is an extremely welcoming bunch
  • Like most things, the key is to take action and get going

You just need to start. Nothing bad will happen, I promise :)

Here's a game plan to get active in the data community, in a way that will feel easy and unintimidating...

1. Follow the people who are talking about data. Start listening to the conversation. Don't worry about chiming in just yet. You'll learn a lot by just from passively consuming information. You can get active later. We recommend LinkedIn as the best place for this.

2. Pay attention to discussions in the comments. What are comments about. What type of things do people add? What questions are they asking. Pay attention to the types of comments that feel valuable.

3. Start adding value with your own comments. Putting out your own posts can feel intimidating at first. So until you're ready, just start commenting and join the conversation that way.

4. Begin sharing your own posts. This is the part that usually scares folks. But if you've done steps 1-3, you probably have a good idea what conversations tend to be about, and may have a plan about how you can add value. You could share something you've learned. You can ask a provocative question to get a conversation started. You can throw out a tough data challenge you've been stuck on. The key here is just to stay somewhat relevant to data, and have a conscious plan for the brand you want to build.

The rest of this post will mainly focus on Step 1. We'll give you a great list of data people to follow so you can start to learn, and understand the conversations that are taking place.

Of course, we're going to start with Maven and our instructors. If you're looking to learn data, you're in the right place. We put out a lot of free content covering Excel, SQL, Power BI, Tableau, Machine Learning, and general data career advice, and you can learn a lot from us without ever paying for a course. Start by following the team...

Alright, this next one is going to be a lot of pressure. With so many great people talking about data, who is going to be the first one I'll recommend following AFTER Maven?

With a lot of the folks reading this being relatively early in their data careers, or trying to break into a data career, the first recommendation I'll make is John David Ariansen and the How to Get An Analytics Job podcast. The content is perfectly dialed in to the exact niche in the title, and John David is both a teacher AND an active practitioner (the best type of person to learn from). You can follow them both here:

After that, we'll send you to two thought leaders who will make you laugh while you're learning about data, Susan Walsh - The Classification Guru, and Scott Taylor - The Data Whisperer. They bring two of the most unique styles, with a fantastic energy that will keep you engaged through any topic:

Next, we'll point you at Kate Strachnyi. You definitely need to check out Kate's live DATAcated conference, where you'll likely here from a lot of people on this list (PS - it's free). Follow Kate here:

Speaking of Kate's conference, these next two people are two I saw at the last DATAcated conference, and they both crushed it. Avery hooked me with his fantastic storytelling and presentation style. He also runs a bootcamp-style program for aspiring Data Scientists. George hosts the Lights On Data show, and won me over with a talk on Data Governance (not usually my favorite topic) that succinctly explained the need, the key concepts, and made it easy to engage with. Check them out here:

Next we've got Saurabh. What a cool guy, who's got his hand in a ton of different things, always. If you get a chance to talk with Saurabh, his energy is infectious. He's working on some really interesting (and really challenging) NLP technology right now, and he's also an educator. You've got to check him out!

Then, there's Ravit. He's EVERYWHERE. You probably follow him and have seen his show, but just in case you aren't already, you should be:

Next is the "Marine who smiles at spreadsheets", Albert Bellamy. After a long career in Military leadership, Albert decided to transition into data, and he put it all on display. If you want an amazing example of how to build a strong brand online, in data, and get the job you're looking for, then look no further. Not only did he succeed in building a rocket ship of a personal brand, he also broke into a data career, and has inspired lots of others on his journey. Check him out:

Next we've got a bunch of educators who have a number of things in common... extremely high quality content, passion for teaching, and awesome communication style that makes it easy to learn from them. Some of these folks have GREAT YouTube channels too. Follow and subscribe for fantastic content!

Finally, we've got a couple of data people who talk about data AND something else. Eric Weber talks about SQL (a man after my own heart), tech, and also mixes in career advice, life lessons, and is generally a very positive guy to follow. Zach Wilson talks about data and is a big advocate for spreading mental health awareness. He talks about his own journey in a way that helps others. If these topics sound interesting, these two are absolutely worth a follow:

Since the first time we published this list almost a year ago, a number of new faces have showed up on our radar. These are some of those amazing folks who you absolutely need to check out:

This list should serve as a good start to stack your LinkedIn feed toward data. Follow the people here, and then add others you like who are talking about things you'd like to know more about.

If you're an Instagram or Facebook user, try to replace some of your typical scroll time with LinkedIn scroll time. It's just as easy and you'll be learning in the process.

See you out there!

-John

PS - for more practical career advice, check out our course:

This one gives you a roadmap for everything you'll need to do in order to successfully launch a career in data. It'se taught by me, Chris, Aaron, and Enrique, and covers topics from resumes, looking good online, networking, finding jobs, interview prep, and more!

Ready to build practical, job-ready data skills of your own?

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Author

John Pauler

John brings over a decade of business intelligence experience to the Maven team, having worked with companies ranging from Fortune 500 to early stage startups. As a MySQL expert, he has played leadership roles across analytics, marketing, SaaS and product teams.

John brings over a decade of business intelligence experience to the Maven team, having worked with companies ranging from Fortune 500 to early stage startups. As a MySQL expert, he has played leadership roles across analytics, marketing, SaaS and product teams.

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