In search of my first job as a Data Science graduate

Bente finished her studies at the beginning of the year 2021 and started her career as a Data Scientist at Bright Cape in April 2021. She studied Industrial Engineering and Data Science & Entrepreneurship, a handy combination of Business and Data Science. In a series of three blogs, she will share her stories in search of her first job and what it is like to be working as a Data Scientist here at Bright Cape.

Closing a chapter

After almost 7 years the moment was there. I already felt close to being a so-called ‘eternal student’ (“eeuwige student”). Because you can also receive your diploma within 5 years at a university of technology, right!? However, I wasn’t in a hurry. After all, I was just turning 18 when I started studying in 2014. And not unimportant: I was really enjoying the side activities that are part of an active student life. From the start, I joined a student association and sorority. My fourth study year felt like a good moment to join the part-time board of my student futsal association (E.S.Z.V.V. Totelos) as well. Next to my graduation project, I was just finishing some last courses, meaning I had time left for educational but fun extracurricular activities! Something I can recommend to anyone.
Additionally, I had to follow half a year of pre-master before I could switch from Industrial Engineering (IE) to Data Science. This idea was in the back of my mind since the Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) and the Tilburg University (TiU) started with the joint Data Science bachelor while in my third year. I followed computer and data science electives and experienced them to be more “modern” than the IE courses. Back then, IE did not really include programming. The puzzle-like language was something I really enjoyed during the electives, together with the efficient solutions that the covered algorithms offered. So, I made the switch, and eventually, in January 2021, I finally had the master of my uttermost interest in the pocket, Data Science!

Too quiet for my liking

After I graduated I was happy to enjoy some peace and quiet. I took a two months break. But secretly I was curious about the possibilities out there for me. And you feel the pressure of society on your shoulders as well. People asking me: “Where are you going to work?”, “Did you already find a job?”. Thus quickly the next adventure started: finding my first job… As a data scientist, you have quite some directions and sectors to choose from. Wherever there is data, you can create value. So, where do you start searching? I grabbed my laptop, went online, and did some research.


“It quickly became clear to me that I first had to decide on the kind of company I wanted to work at”

– Bente Derks, Data Scientist

Making the right choices

It quickly became clear to me that I first had to decide on the kind of company I wanted to work at; was it a company where I, as a data scientist, would assist the department in their daily executed analysis that supports their product or service? Or a consultancy company where every project might ask for different techniques? The latter allows for experiencing a wide range of data science applications in practice.

As a recent graduate, I really didn’t know yet what I would find the most interesting and fun technique to use on a daily basis. I just got out of school and pretty much all the data science knowledge I had was via university experience. My graduation project helped me realize that I am eager to work on different projects in different industries. I didn’t want to zoom in on one specific field just yet. I mostly felt the drive to learn more and get familiar with data science in practice. This way I could discover what really suits me. So, to already focus on one specific technique that is being used within a company sounded too short-sighted to me. I also wanted to work for a company where data science is seen as one of the main competences. I would love to acquire technical knowledge from my colleagues. I felt like Bright Cape met all these requirements, reasons why I decided to join this company.

Are you ready?

Searching for your first job and leaving the lecture rooms behind feels like a big step. You wonder if you are ready and if the knowledge you gained during your studies is enough. However, it is also very exciting! I couldn’t wait to finally apply the skills that I have learned and I am enthusiastic about real-life projects! It enables you to see what you are capable of and your added value for problems that are out there. And at the same time, you are also earning some money and no longer being dependent on your student loan (DUO 😉)

Furthermore, the uncertainty about knowledge is nothing to worry about: everyone once had their first job. Companies are used to welcoming new graduates. During your talks with a company, the ambiance will show how they welcome new graduates and you can see and feel for yourself if that matches with your wishes. Therefore, besides finding a company that has data science as one of its core businesses, for me personally the culture is as important (or maybe even more important): feeling welcome and feeling the team spirit, doing things together with every single person in the company and have trust in each other. During my first conversation with Bright Cape, the vibe already felt safe and familiar. And this first impression has definitely been lived up to. I haven’t experienced separate islands where everyone does his/her own task without further connection to the rest of Bright Cape.

In my next blog, I’ll go into more detail about this culture that makes Bright Cape the charming company it is, and where you immediately feel welcome as a new employee. After that, I’ll continue the series by delving further into the technical strength of Bright Cape!

Need advice?

If you are pursuing a Data Science career and have any questions that keep you awake at night (been there, done that), get in touch with me! I am happy to help you on your way so that you too can find the job that suits you best. And who knows, we might even become colleagues.

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