Who is Emma Ding? My Story & What I DoFeb 08, 2023
If you prefer to watch instead of read, feel free to check out my video on this topic here: https://youtu.be/SLPCFnPS4-c
If you have been watching my channel for any amount of time now, you know that my name is Emma Ding, and I am a Data-Scientist-turned-Software-Engineer-turned-Content-Creator. And my channel is geared toward helping data scientists land their dream jobs. I think it’s time I gave you a little more information about myself, as well as my goals, and vision.
My background is pretty varied, and I have made a few career changes. I started with an undergraduate degree in city planning. I did my undergrad in China, then worked as a city planner for three years before deciding to pursue a Masters's Degree in landscape architecture. While completing this Master's Degree, I received opportunities to work with professors in the engineering department on research projects, and some of them even encouraged me to pursue a master's degree in engineering, so I got my second master's degree in transportation engineering. Juggling coursework and research projects meant that sometimes I only slept for 3 hours a day. Looking back, even though it was very busy, I see immense the value in that time.
After earning my second master’s degree in 2017, I began searching for a data scientist job. I searched full-time for a few months until landing a role as a data scientist at a supply chain management start-up. This is where my journey with data science really kicked off.
My First Data Science Job
Working as a data scientist at a start-up meant that I was a generalist, and I needed to perform all tasks relevant to data science, including data analytics projects, building data pipelines, and machine learning. I enjoyed working in a startup environment where I could work on projects from ideation to production. This experience helped me become a full-stack data scientist, and though I thought I’d have a promising career there, I was laid off in 2019 after only one and a half years. I was in shock, left speechless to learn the whole engineering department was laid off.
What followed was two months of stressful job searching, and interview preparation, wherein I learned a lot about job searching as a data scientist. I realized how important it was to be interview ready at all times, even at a seemingly secure job, because unexpected layoffs were a reality for many people.
I learned how important strong interview skills were. Not only do you need those skills in order to land your first job, but you also need them to advance your career. Even if you don’t experience a layoff, throughout the course of your career, you will likely change companies or internal roles that require some sort of interview process.
After those two months of interviewing, I landed my dream job with Airbnb as a data scientist. I loved working there. Because of my experience being laid off, I knew I needed to continue learning and improving myself, so I was able to earn my third master's degree in computer science while working with Airbnb. I switched positions from data science to software engineering to enhance my technical skills, and widen my knowledge in both fields.
Starting My YouTube Channel
It was never my plan to share my layoff story publicly until 2020, when I witnessed many of my data scientist friends laid off because of COVID. The pandemic was also making it harder for others to land their first data scientist jobs.
After sharing my experience, many people sought me out, asking questions about how to land a data scientist job, where to start, what to study, and how to make themselves stand out from the competition.
I began making career advice and interview information more accessible to give people the tools they needed to succeed in finding the jobs they desired. In September 2020, I started my YouTube channel, sharing tips and practical knowledge for data scientists looking for jobs. My content ended up reaching more people than I could have ever imagined. Viewers let me know that my content was useful to them, which then motivated me to create more.
On top of working on my YouTube channel, I offered free consultations and mock interviews during my spare time for almost a year.
Quitting My Job
The demand for my coaching services became so high that I was no longer able to manage a full-time job with all the coaching, leading me to quit my role at Airbnb to make content creation my full-time job.
I dedicated myself to helping people throughout their job searches, so I created and launched my own coaching program. I was ecstatic when more than half of my students landed one or more job offers within just 2 months of joining my program.
I went on to work with clients in a variety of industries, including banking and insurance, and - of course - data science. I’ve been lucky to be a part of people’s journeys to see them land jobs as data scientists within the tech industry, or grow from smaller companies to landing roles with top-tier companies. Watching people take enormous leaps, and having the opportunity to be a part of their transformations is extremely exciting and rewarding for me.
What I have found to be especially motivating in these transformations is helping people overcome their imposter syndrome. When people initially start working with me, they often have low confidence, and self-doubt. After putting in consistent effort, those same people gain confidence, overcome their imposter syndrome, and ultimately land their dream jobs. Witnessing and contributing to these transformations is indescribable.
Beyond Job Searching
For me, my role goes beyond just helping people land jobs. It’s about people building character; achieving something once thought to be impossible. I am grateful to play even a small part in those journeys.
As you can imagine, a lot has changed since my first job as a city planner. But, to me, everything has been in alignment with my passion, guiding me to make a positive impact on people's careers. By sharing my story, I genuinely hope to encourage and empower you to pursue the career you want - whether that’s a role in data science or pursuing another passion in a different industry.
What Are My Goal and Mission?
I am still focused on the same basic principle I started with years ago: Providing accessible information, and resources to help data scientists land their dream jobs. At an even more rudimentary level, my mission here is simply to help people pursue their dream careers.
I believe in the importance of knowledge sharing - not only about interviews, but practical knowledge needed throughout our industry, too.
Thank you for taking the time to read this, get to know me better, and for supporting me. I hope I can give back to you as much as you’ve given me.