3 Steps to Creating a Personal Brand for Data Scientists & AI Engineers

With contribution from Stuti Verma (Women Who Code, Delhi) and Abi Aryan (Women Who Code, L.A.)

Building a personal brand is the process of mindful creation or auditing of your public persona for your target audience. Irrespective of whether you want it or not, if you are online, then chances are the content you post or the comments you make all contribute towards creating your personal brand.

However, auditing your content to reach or attract a particular audience is not the equivalent of being fake. Taking control of your personal brand puts you in the driver seat. You get to control the narrative and show your audience what distinguishes your personal brand from others.

What is a data scientist’s and AI expert’s personal brand?

Turns out in today’s world, your skills and expertise are no longer enough (although they are important in the long run). A lot rides on how you display those skills to prospective employers or clients. In other words, how you embrace your personal brand matters.

Having said that, we aren’t going to talk about clickbaity things and how to get potential clients and employers chasing after you but rather about auditing your online presence so that you can attract the right kind of jobs or collaborations.

Also, if you own a business or work as an independent consultant, your personal brand also communicates the quality of your service and all future contracts.

Your brand is a combination of your name and your reputation. One of the most effective ways to build it is through professional achievements. Look at these two areas of influence and make them work in your favor:

A. Highlight the organization you work for

Being a Rockstar for the company that helps you to pay your bills is one of the most important things you can do for your personal brand. Delivering more than expected and impressing your co-workers will translate into people who will vouch for you.

Word-of-mouth is one of the most compelling branding exercises and with this, your personal brand will grow organically.

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B. Target the right audience

This includes artificial intelligence focus groups, engineering communities, organizations you want to work for, business circles, academic institutions, potential clients, influencers, etc. One of the ways to do this is to compile a list of groups/communities you want to influence.

Having a clear goal will help you channel your efforts and craft the right messages. Identify and use the tools available to share your portfolio and other information with these groups.

How to Create a Stellar Personal Brand

Creating a striking personal brand is a process that takes consistency and dedication. To get that going, here’s what you do.

1. Do some personal reflection

Take a journal and a pen and write about yourself. List down your strengths, weaknesses, areas of improvement, skills you wish to learn.

–  Write three words about you as a person and at work.

– Ask five of your closest family members to describe you in three words.

– Ask five of your colleagues to describe your current skills using three sentences.

– Think about what kind of opportunities are you looking for and what skills does it require.

Usually, our friends and family can give us keen insight into our public perception of who we are, what our strengths are and what makes us special.

Your public perception is going to be your unique selling proposition, and in turn, your brand identity. Not only is it vital that this quality be relevant to your industry, but it must also be demonstrable, which leads us to the next point.

2. Find the right avenues to present your brand

After you discover your brand identity (aka your USP), you must communicate that to prospective clients and employers.

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Primary Domain: Choose a [name].TECH domain as your primary online identity for your projects and portfolio. Take, for instance, IsaacMillerCodes.Tech Branded URL Shortener: Build personal visibility with every link you share online with a .TECH domain! Edgar.Tech is a fitting example of a short and memorable URL.

Let’s understand with LinkedIn’s example. Just including your job title in your profile isn’t going to establish anything. You will have to show proof of your expertise and understanding of the product and consumer insights.

This involves putting relevant information in the summary section and under the job description. Share links to projects that vouch for all the information. Take it to the next level with a recommendation from a colleague who worked with you on the project.

Apart from LinkedIn, here are some other avenues that you can explore when building a strong personal brand.

  • Write: if words are your friends, then consider starting a blog to share your thoughts about the latest happenings in the industry. And if a blog feels like a lot of commitment, then consider reaching out to websites that have a large following and ask if you can share a guest post on their blog.
  • Speak: Seek out opportunities at industry events or academic forums that align with your industry and share your expertise. This will give you the exposure you need to build a brand.
  • Network: Once you involve yourself with writing and speaking, networking will happen naturally. But you can also look out for industry events, conferences, networking events, training events, meetups to connect with people. You can do this online too using platforms like Quora, Twitter, LinkedIn Groups, etc.

3.    Work towards keeping your brand clear, consistent, and clean

The purpose of building your brand is to ensure it comes through loud and clear on all channels. This means when someone sees you sharing a tweet, or in person, they connect with your desired message.

How do you do that? By staying consistent. Keep your bio same (or similar) across platforms highlighting your brand attributes. Additionally, keep your display picture same on all platforms. That will help people to remember you.

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After you have constructed your social channels, bring it all together with a website. Your website is the right place to show off all your skills, projects, professional and personal accomplishments.

A website helps you to own your brand messaging through features, layouts, bio, and other technical elements. Make it bulletproof by branding your domain name.

Being a data scientist or AI engineer or a machine learning expert, it makes sense to showcase your brand on a .tech domain. So that when you tell someone to visit your website or share your business card, your visitor will know exactly what industry you belong to—your domain name says it all.

Finally, if you haven’t already done it, Google yourself and make sure that every result is consistent with your personal brand.

Over to you

While this may seem overwhelming, doing this work will not only give you a “personal brand” but a refreshed confidence too. It will make you more attractive and noticeable to someone looking for someone like you.

With a personal brand, you’re more likely to land a truly professional role that amplifies your strengths.

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