Becoming a Data Native

A lot of us are digital natives. Data natives are people who are a part of the transformation that digitalization drives. They navigate through devices and through the Internet as it was a part of their DNA.

A Data Native is a similar species. They have recognized the significance of data in our era. They are an active part of the evolution of the world which is now driven by digital data as never before. If you find yourself anyhow in the last sentence, you might want to consider to become a part of a data community together with other natives because there is no significant change in this world that a person has achieved all alone.

One community I took a look at recently is … 🥁🥁🥁… “Data Natives”. How could the name be more precise? Data Natives organize meet-ups for data enthusiasts all over the world. I attended such a meet-up in Berlin and was really pleased with it.

Let me take this as an example of the benefits that such a community can bring to you. One nice side effect was that I learned something. I don’t expect to learn anything in detail at meet-ups.

Community - What for?

I enjoy getting inspired by a certain topic. I also like to get an overview of a topic, get some confusion removed about a technology and see how particular real-world challenges were solved by professionals or hobbyists. All these wishes of mine were greatly covered by the four awesome speakers:

  1. I was told that a whole lot of people still indite handwritten letters to big companies and that these companies can automate the process of processing them by using machine learning.
  2. I learned about Apache Ignite, some alternative cluster management open source platform that follows a peer-to-peer node system rather than a master-slave architecture.
  3. I heard about an interesting opportunity for data-driven startups to get involved in a data science project, get in contact with a heavyweight industry and get the project kickstarted for 20.000 €. (visit datahub.ruhr {:target=“_blank”} if you are interested)
  4. I got inspired by a talk about the significance of community and about the importance of good content.

But like I said, these learnings are just pleasant side effects. The real power comes from the people you get to talk with. Make sure to attend to the right get-together. That is to say, to a meet-up which is 100% of your interest. You will inevitably meet like-minded people and start to get more input about your topic of interest.

Be careful when you choose a community. For example Data Natives is really well-connected with good speakers, sponsors and is organized by great personalities. This is what you will normally be looking for. Another benefit of being a part of Data Natives is its internationality. You might have a chance to get in touch with Natives even if you are far away from home.

However, Data Natives is of course not the only community around data. Just search online for the terms of your passion and

Where to look for communities?

  • meetup.com
  • eventbrite.com

    On meet-up and eventbrite you’ll find the communities which you can get involved in offline which is great!

  • facebook.com

    There are organizers who mainly organize their local events on facebook, so it is definitely worth looking into it. Online groups are more fun oriented and usually hardly administrated, but chances are that you find something great there.

  • google.com

    Whenever we search for something, Google is our best friend. Not so with meet-ups. I often don’t think about Google if I am looking for a live group because meetup.com is kind of the Google of groups and events nowadays. But sometimes you will still find there, even groups that are outside of meetup.com.

  • linkedin.com

    I haven’t found LinkedIn groups of any help so far. Professional people might be much too busy to take part in them and the group functionality on LinkedIn is far less intrusive than e.g. facebook’s).

Keywords to find a data community

  • data (Just add other keywords like ‘math’, ‘AI’ or ‘fun’ to get more specialized results to fit your needs)
  • Big Data
  • Data Science
  • Data Engineering
  • Data platforms
  • datathon
  • DataDives
  • Python (or a data language of your choice, like Scala or R)

I’ll leave blockchain and AI out here ;-)

Recommendable Data communities in Berlin

  • GOTO
  • Data Natives
  • PyData
  • Python Usergroup Berlin
  • Data Science for Social Good Berlin

International data communities

  • Data Science for Social Good
  • Data for Democracy
  • Open Data
  • Datakind

Do you know other great portals for finding a data community? Maybe even offline possibilities? What is your favorite data community? Please let me know in the comments so that I can add it here.

Also please share this post to get more input on that.

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