While data scientists and machine learning professionals work alongside other stakeholders within their organizations, they don’t always get to interact with other experts in their profession. That’s why so many of these individuals find it valuable to join online communities and groups devoted to expanding their knowledge and creating connections amongst fellow data scientists.
Are you new to the profession and looking to network, find answers to common queries, or scout your next job opportunity? In this article, we’re taking a tour of the online data science/machine learning ecosystem to highlight some of the most popular (and our personal favorite) communities on the web!
Why Join an Online Data Science/Machine Learning Community?
There are numerous reasons you can benefit from participation in, or even just visiting, an online group or community devoted to your area of interest. When it comes to the data science profession, here are some positives you might find in a group on the net.
- Answers to Your Toughest Questions – No matter the problem, someone in the community has probably encountered it before. These sites often provide forums that are willing to work through any coding bugs, software glitches, or statistics breakdowns. Just don’t forget to pay it forward if you can help a fellow data scientist solve their own problem.
- Mentorship and Guidance – Don’t feel bound by geography when it comes to career guidance. Online communities are excellent places to seek advice from those who walked the path before you and are willing to share advice on interviews, portfolio-building, and day-to-day efficiency.
- Your Next Role – Take note of the groups that we listed below that offer job boards, as these are excellent places to begin building your target position list. You never know how connecting with someone could impact your job search.
- Trends to Know – In a field that’s changing as rapidly as technology, you can lean on groups to provide personal experiences on their encounters with the latest industry tools, as well as insight on any tech news.
- Vital Knowledge – The learning curve can be steep for this high-tech and fairly new profession. Close any gaps in your knowledge by learning from those who know it best: your industry peers.
Top 10 Most Popular Online Groups for Data Scientists and Machine Learning Professionals
This Google-owned site contains more than 50,000 public datasets and 400,000 public notebooks to help you accomplish any data science task that comes your way. More than three million active members come together to share their work in finance, linguistics, data visualization, and more. The site also offers free “micro-courses” for beginners and contains a robust discussion forum section.
Sometimes known as the “front page of the internet,” Reddit is divided into a series of discussion forums called subreddits devoted to everything and anything. There are several extremely active forums within the subject area devoted to sharing useful links, providing feedback, and diving into discussions. Some of the major ones to get you started are r/MachineLearning, r/DataScience, r/BigData, and r/NaturalLanguage.
ODSC offers a little bit of everything. Whether you’re looking for tips on a particular coding language, in-person meetups, a newsletter, or job postings, they’ve got it. The site’s stated goal is to bring together all facets of the data community, especially catering to beginners with free courses and online webinars. A highlight of the community is yearly ODSC conferences held on the East and West coasts of the United States, as well as in Europe and Asia. These three-day events bring together expert speakers, training, and networking opportunities with fellow attendees.
Slack is a communications tool that has been adopted by numerous remote-first businesses, allowing their employees to communicate individually and in dedicated groups called channels. Did you know that there are numerous Slack communities devoted to Machine Learning and data enthusiasts? The chat functionality makes these great spaces to connect informally with other active users and get advice on your career or recent projects. A few major Slack communities you might want to start with are DataTalks.club, The AI Guild and MLOps
With more than one-third of all cloud computing taking place within Amazon Web Services, if you’re a machine learning specialist, you’ve likely worked with AWS. To support collaboration, Amazon has created the AWS ML Heroes program, which allows users to connect with and learn from experts in the field. This includes direct contact links and a repository of blogs, videos, and interactive tutorials. The site also has sub-groups to join across Stack Overflow, Github, Reddit, and other social platforms.
There’s always someone to chat with on Discord. What sets this site apart is the ability to see who else is online and chat, via text or video in dedicated channels similar to Slack. There’s a laid-back nature to the platform, which lends itself well to casual conversations, news, and memes. Despite this, you can still find serious discussions and debates if you look for them. Top Discords to start with are Learn AI Together, Fundamentals of ML, and Data Science
Machine Learning and Data Science (LinkedIn)
No site can quite match LinkedIn when it comes to networking and finding job opportunities. We’ve highlighted this group in particular as it’s one of the biggest on the platform with more than 200,000 members. It’s run by Vincent Granville of DataScienceCentral.com, which ensures there is always high-quality content. LinkedIn’s built-in features allow users to connect with people in their same area or industry as they discuss topics including AI, deep learning, data visualization, business analytics, predictive modeling, big data, Hadoop, and IoT.
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (Facebook)
Facebook is another top spot for connecting with enthusiasts. This group boasts more than 174,000 members and is especially friendly towards beginners breaking into the ML and AI space. Users regularly share learnings, resources, job opportunities, and projects for feedback.
Primarily known for all things coding, the site also offers ample resources on all things Data Science. The question and answer format of these communities makes it the perfect place for your technically-minded questions or to discover new methods and perspectives. For beginners, check out Cross Validated, while more advanced users can visit the machine learning tag on the general site or the dedicated Data Science section.
At the intersection of data science and social impact lies Driven Data. The site works with organizations and individuals to coordinate data science projects in international development, health, education, conservation, and more. Professionals, students, and researchers can all become members and join competitions. This is a great way to collaborate with those outside of your direct sphere while making a difference. To give you a sense of the site, current competitions include predicting regional disease spread, creating animal distance estimation models for conservationists, and using data mining to predict which water pumps are faulty in Tanzania.
Beginning a Career in Data Science/Machine Learning
We hope this article serves as a starting guide map for finding the perfect online Data Science and Machine Learning community! As you can see, the options are endless when it comes to the type and attitudes of these groups, with one out there for every interest and need. If you’re interested in the learning and professional development aspect of these groups, we are also the home to dozens of resource articles you can check out right here on codingbootcamps.io.
- Our complete guide to Data Science Bootcamps available online and in-person
- Read our interview with a professional Data Scientist
- Check out our guide to Data Science vs. Data Analytics
- On the job hunt? Here is our guide to the perfect technical resume and acing your technical interview
- View our career guides, including Data Scientist, Artificial Intelligence Specialist, and IoT Architect