With 15+ years of specialized recruiting experience, Brian has worked for some of the biggest names such as Apple, Amazon, Twitter, and now McAfee. Brian has helped many professionals take the next step in their careers and stretch their professional capabilities. At McAfee, he plays a critical role in building and growing our recruiting capability across multiple capacities and partnering with the business to design recruiting strategies at scale.
Here is a summary of key takeaways from the interview:
- Get your hands dirty with education: Continuously seek knowledge and learning opportunities, whether through formal education, books, online courses, or self-study.
- Master the tools of your trade: Become proficient in the essential tools and technologies relevant to your field, whether it’s coding languages for engineers or marketing tools for marketers.
- Showcase your portfolio: Create a strong portfolio that demonstrates your projects and achievements, highlighting your skills and capabilities.
- Network actively: Attend meetups, conferences, and online forums to connect with industry professionals and learn from the best. Focus on providing value to others in your network.
- Embrace curiosity and continuous learning: Stay curious about the latest developments in your industry and subcategory, and maintain a mindset of being a lifelong learner.
Check out the full transcript from the eleventh episode of the TechGuide podcast, featuring an interview with Brian Fink.
Ryan Atkinson: [00:00:00] Welcome, Brian to the podcast. Super excited to have you on.
Brian Fink: Hey Ryan, I’m thrilled to be here. I’m excited to talk to your audience about how they can stretch their professional capabilities. And really kind of take their career to the next level, if you will. So, Ryan, thanks for having me today.
Ryan Atkinson: Yes, and you are the perfect person to do that. But I do have to ask you a different opening question that we ask other people, cuz you it is May the fourth.
It is Thursday, May 4th. May the fourth be with you. You had an awesome LinkedIn post today talking about what leaders should embrace or they should do in those four categories, embrace diversity. Mentorship matters, adapt and overcome, and power of redemption. Um, can you choose one of those topics and tell us why it matters as a leader?
Brian Fink: Oh, man. So about diversity, to put it in context, I was talking about how diversity matters and I use the example of the Rebel Alliance. So if you go back and you read the post or if you know anything about the Rebel Alliance, the Rebel Alliance is made up of. People or humans. Humanoids robots, droids, aliens, all walks of life.
And as opposed to the empire, there are a lot of different shades of the rainbow. If you look at the empire from the original trilogy, everybody who is with the empire is a white guy or a white girl, right? He mo mostly white guys, right? There’s not a lot of diversity there, so I would argue that there wasn’t a lot of diversity of thought.
There wasn’t a lot of diversity of experience. And where I think that it’s a leadership quality is that, you know, we’re I am a, I am a straight white male. I don’t have the same experiences as, as other individuals from different groups of people, different communities of people, right? But what I can do is I can lean on them in such a way that I.
We’ll never truly understand what they’ve gone through or their life experience, but I can honor that and I can respect that, and we can grow together and we can make [00:02:00] the table larger and increase our. If you will kind of increase who all sits at the table, who gets invited, not only gets invited to the dance, but who is actually invited to dance at the dance, regardless of, of their background.
Right? And it’s not singling somebody out, it’s raising everybody up. So, I think it’s important for a leader to be able to do that and for them to be able to manifest that through actions. Man, I could talk about Star Wars and diversity all day long, but I could talk about Star Wars all day long, but you didn’t bring, like ladies and gentlemen, Mr. George Lucas.
Ryan Atkinson: Yeah. I love that. I love that. And like, yeah, we could talk about Star Wars all day long, but we here are talking about how to have a successful cure as a young working professional. And I kinda wanna give a little bit of background on your role as recruiting cuz you got into recruiting in 2005.
You’ve been with someone. The biggest names of like Apple, Amazon, Twitter, and now McAfee. First off, congratulations. That’s amazing career as it is. But you can tell us a little bit more. You had recruiting roles with all these companies. How did you know you wanted to be a recruiter?
Brian Fink: So I didn’t know that I wanted to be a recruiter.
I thought I wanted to be a pharmaceutical sales representative. That was what I, after when I dropped out of law school, that’s what I thought that I wanted to be. Okay. I went to a recruiting event where I was supposed to meet with With Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, and I had made it through several rounds and I was stopped from going to the interview by a third party recruiter who said I wasn’t on the list.
Hmm. And regardless of whether I was a tactic or not by Pfizer the recruiter was really rude to me and I didn’t understand what I had done wrong. And I, I tried to explain to the recruiter, If I get hired, you did your job, and they were like, no, whatever. So forth and so on. But fast forward to three days later, I get a rejection notice from the team at Pfizer, and because I didn’t show up to the interview, [00:04:00] Okay, so I went to the founder of the recruiting firm.
His name is Jeffrey Odette. Jeffrey is a friend of mine, a good friend, great mentor, and I said, Hey, man, this is not the way recruiting is supposed to work. You’re supposed to empower people. This is my five step plan on how you should change your recruiting firm, and if you hire me, I’ll do it. And he said, I don’t have budget, but I love your plan.
And I said, okay, well dude, what if I come? What if I come work for you? And, and if I do good, you pay me if I don’t, eh, whatever. So, I started working with Jeff and that was, I said I’d turn around his worst performing territory in 90 days. It took me two quarters to do it. We were recruiting sales people a lot of pharma, a lot of pharma business.
I brought in some big names to the firm, some marquee logos, and that’s how I got started in recruiting. But the first year that I was in recruiting, and I remember this distinctly because I said the second year I was gonna go all out and make it all about money. Is that the first year? I was concerned with how I was gonna change lives.
And the second year I was like, okay, I’ve changed lives. Now I’m gonna cash in. And the third year I came to the conclusion that I wanted to be the great connector. And Ryan, that’s one of the things I hope to do by having this conversation with you and your audience today, is I hope to connect people to the right vehicle, the right medium, to get them moving in their opportunity.
The same way that Jeff Ladette set me on that path 15, 18 years ago.
Ryan Atkinson: That’s amazing and well, I mean, I have to ask, I mean, what changed from year two when it was about money to year three, about like connecting people?
Brian Fink: Did you see like yeah, so performance, I was, I, I wasn’t satisfied with, so I wasn’t satisfied with why I was getting up in the morning like, Hmm.
I I went from being, you know, let, [00:06:00] let’s talk about it. Like, I went from being a kid who was making, I mean, this was, this was the beginning of the, the next recession. Yeah. I was making like 30 grand Right. As a base salary. And I ramped up and I hit a hundred my first year. And I, and somebody got in my head and they said, well, if you care less about people and more about the client, you will make more money.
Hmm. Okay. So I was like, I’m gonna, I’m gonna try this, right? Because another woman, one of my mentors, somebody who had happened further down in my career, Josh McAfee, really got onto me about time management and giving your time up to people, right? Is that what we, what we discovered is that I was spending time with candidates that were not productive.
And I tried to move away from that, but like, I made an incremental bump in my salary for being an asshole. Yeah, that didn’t, that doesn’t square with who I am, man. Like, you know. I’m the guy who’s, who now hosts office hours on Friday afternoons from two to five. If we want to connect, send me a DM on LinkedIn and I’ll be more than happy to give you some of my time.
Ryan knows that. And let’s go over to your resume. Let’s practice interviewing skills. If I make, if I make it about the person and them taking the next move in their career, everybody wins and recruiters and agency will make more money. Recruiters internally an internal recruiter will make more connection with the business and make a bigger impact, quote unquote.
In things like diversity that I talked about earlier and the bottom line of the organization and really create impactful relationships. So that’s where I’m at. That’s what changed Ryan.
Ryan Atkinson: That is so sweet. I can already tell you’re like an amazing person. Uh, this is so sweet.
Brian Fink: So don’t, don’t, don’t tell my six-year-old daughter that like, she’s, she’s just like, she’s like, just get me yogurt.
Ryan Atkinson: I like it and I know you’re gonna have a lot of good advice for us.[00:08:00] So let’s like really kick it off because you started with Apple in October of 2017. Yeah. Amazon, Twitter. Like, these are literally some of like the biggest names. So take us to October. 2017 when you got into Apple, how did that process go and how did you do it?
Brian Fink: All right, so real quick to backtrack, I had been the director of recruiting at a startup, and I gave a presentation at Source Con, and the people that were sitting in the audience were Apple recruiters, and I showed them some things. So like everybody’s obsessed with LinkedIn and LinkedIn’s cool, right?
Yeah. But like I showed them how to recruit on Facebook. And it was like, there’re more people on Facebook and they’re more apt to respond than they were on LinkedIn. Right. Yep. And so, um, the conversation started about what would it be like if you, would you consider going into an individual contributor role?
Would you consider doing that if you were to join Apple and like. I’m an Apple fan boy. Like for those of you who are not watching, I’ve already identified myself as a white male, but I’m wearing the Apple AirPod Pro Max on my head. I am wearing the Ultra on my wrist. I have the, I have the 14 Pro. I, I love Apple, right?
Like, I am just so excited about June the fifth which is now a month away for ww d c. And I was like, are you, are you serious? Like me come to Apple, like, what am I gonna do? And they were like, oh, you could work on artificial intelligence, machine learning for Apple Media products. And I said, what the hell’s an Apple Media product?
Because I, I mean like, like Ryan, you’re like, what is an Apple Media product? And they were like, Oh, they’re like they’re like, it’s like natural language search for Siri on the app store and on Apple Music and on podcasts. I said, wait a minute, podcast. Tell me more Now, Ryan and I, just real quick, as we were getting to know each other, like we were going through that, I listened to like four podcasts at all times.
Yeah. So the feature that we came up with was how you could type in, say, [00:10:00] Ryan Atkinson into the search bar inside of the podcast app, and it would pull up every instance of you, of your occurrence. As a guest on a podcast or the podcast that you produce, right? So if you type in Brian Fink later, it will pull up a podcast, and a podcast here, and a podcast there where Brian Fink was the guest, right?
So like that was, that was what we were doing. I loved my time at Apple. They, you know, it was, it was really serendipitous. It was a great opportunity. I, I can’t say enough good things about the team at Apple. Yeah. And so, I was at Apple and then I had the opportunity to go in-house again, so I was a contractor with Apple.
And I had the opportunity to take on an opportunity with a private equity firm to, to really rocket fuel technical firstname.lastname@example.org. I was there for about two years and I did rocket fuel that like actually almost three. And then Amazon had come, Amazon had come after me like three times.
Aws Interesting. I finally decided the third time, it was the beginning of the Covid shutdown, that people were not gonna be moving from apartment to apartment. That this might make sense. Went to Amazon or went to aws, had a blast. But then I had a friend of mine call me and a candidate of mine call me.
So the friend of mine who called me was actually the incumbent director of recruiting, uh, at Twitter Rebecca fz. And I was like, I don’t know. You know, I was like, Twitter’s the app that I feel like I should delete sometimes. Yeah. And whatever. This is why it’s important to build connection with candidates.
There’s this wild, crazy guy. His name is Jeff Ma. Jeff Ma had a book written about him. It was called Bringing Down the House, and he had a movie made about him called 21. And what happens in the [00:12:00] movie is he puts together a card counting team at m I T and they go to the casinos in Vegas. Yeah. You know this movie.
And they break the, okay, here’s the deal. What does this guy do? He is the chief data officer at Twitter, and I had tried to recruit him previously to other companies and he was like, and so I was like, Hey, you know, Jeff, like, what do you think about this? And he was like, we need you, like the way that you do things, we totally need you.
And I was like, Okay. Alright. You know? Sure. Went over, man. So, I told Rebecca, I was like, yeah, but let’s make this happen. We made it happen and I was at Twitter for almost two years. Made it through, you know, the turbulence that has, that has occurred. And then decided really like of my own free will that I was like, this is not the same place it was.
Oh yeah. Right. I was You know, d e i d e i B is gonna be a running theme in the conversation that we’re having, Ryan, is that we had a layoff where we let go of all of the B r G or employee resource groups, chair people. Mm. And we shut ’em down. And that really pissed me off. Yeah. I don’t think I’m speaking, I don’t think I’m talking about anything nobody knows about.
But like there were people like James Leda who I, I think James is now at Nike, who was a big proponent of making sure that we had a fair and equitable workforce that encouraged belonging. All these people that like gone just poof. Yeah. So, uh, that’s it. And then I was talking to a few companies. I was literally unemployed for about four days and I was talking to a few companies and they, and they were like, yeah, yeah, come over here.
You, you can do your thing. Like, so, I lead technical recruiting at McAfee Security I focus on everything from machine learning and computer vision and natural language processing. All the way down the line to the c plus plus [00:14:00] engineers that make sure that the kernel in your pc and maybe even your Mac that it’s protected.
And that’s what I’m doing, man. And I’m having a good time protecting the internet. I’m defending, like, you know, at McAfee we have a saying that we want people to be free, free to be is the three word saying that we have. Right. And. I get to help make sure that people, whether through our anti-virus software, through our v p n, through our, through our identity protection software, but they’re cool man, that they, that they’re protected.
So that’s what I got. Was that a quick run?
Ryan Atkinson: Yeah, so it’s a good, like really high level overview. And obviously you’ve worked with like these incredible companies. If you could like attribute like one, one or two, like personality traits, technical skills to like how you got so many of these gigs, what would you attribute it to?
Brian Fink: Oh, curiosity. Hands on. Hands down. Um, I know I answered that really quickly, but I think that there, I think that. These enterprise companies thrive on curiosity, right? Like mm-hmm. You know, Amazon did not get to be the largest player in the cloud infrastructure space by not being curious, right? Like, like this was a side project inside of amazon.com mm-hmm.
To host storage. What would it be like if we did this? And that curiosity multiplies itself with every release of every. 200 different Amazon software solution services that are out there, or AWS services that are out there. Curiosity at Apple. Apple is a bet. I mean, they, they have a huge I. They have features that people don’t even realize make their life that much simpler.
Like for instance, I, I, I think about the shortcuts app on this phone. I, I don’t wanna say the word coffee too loud, but I have, okay, I gotta shut the phone off. Is that when I [00:16:00] say that the Shortcuts app, I have programmed it. To reach out to Starbucks and have a cup of coffee made for me at Starbucks.
Right. But that’s low-code programming, right? That kind of curiosity. Or on the Apple watch, like the action button. Come on. Mm-hmm. Like this is, you know, this is this, curiosity is table stakes. So if you wanna be at one of these organizations, Whether you are an entry level engineer, whether you’re a mid-level program manager, whether you’re a senior technical recruiter, you’ve gotta be curious.
You’ve gotta ask a lot of questions, and you have to use those questions to challenge the status quo. That’s it.
Ryan Atkinson: And so how do you demonstrate that You’re curious? Is it more than just asking questions? Is it like, how do you demonstrate curiosity? Does it go further than just like asking a ton of questions?
Or what does it look like?
Brian Fink: So, Ryan, I think it’s scratching your own itch, right? Like, so for those of you who were not with Ryan and I in our, in our pre-conversation today. Yeah. I was showing off a Google custom search engine. Anybody can email@example.com. What I’ve done is I said, how do I, how do I optimize and make my recruiting workflows that much faster, right?
Mm-hmm. Like, So I dug into it and I watched all the videos and I built a system that outperforms a lot of paid tools. This is a free tool, Ryan. If anybody that’s listening wants one of my CSEs, encourage him to DM me, I’ll be more than happy to see what I’ve got, you know? And then curiosity, like it’s reading.
Like right now I’m reading Mike Wilford, the AI recruiter. It came out this week. It’s on my desk. I’m on page 200. It’s all about chat, G p T prompts. Yeah, like you, you just, you’ve gotta, you, you can’t be complacent and you have to lean into change. And change is curiosity’s mistress.
Ryan Atkinson: Interesting. I love that. So if someone is like, okay, like I’m a super curious person[00:18:00] like I wanna demonstrate my curiosity, it’s starting like a side project of being like, like similar to like your search engine or, and then it’s coming to the table to Amazon or Apple being like, Hey, look what I built.
Cause I was super curious. Here’s. The steps that I took to build this.
Brian Fink: Okay. So I totally think that’s a truth bomb that you just laid on everybody, right? Yeah. Like if you wanna launch yourself in your career, figure out a way to, to be different, to be like one plus different, right? Mm-hmm. And use curiosity as that chisel, as that is that battleax, if you will, to get things moving.
Yeah. Like, you know, show, you know, ask two things. Two things, two things. One, show why you’re different, but show why you’re different after you ask this question, Hey, what’s the problem you’re trying to solve? And then show them that you have the propensity, the curiosity, and the change management mentality to solve that problem.
Mm-hmm. You know, I like to think that if people are not like I, I opened this was like, dude, I’m excited that I’m on your show. Like, we’re gonna stretch people’s abilities. Dude, if you’re not stretching your abilities, then like, yeah, like, it’s like going to the gym, right? Like I’m not some super buff guy, but like if you don’t, if you don’t work out your muscles, they go into atrophy.
That’s the way curiosity works and that’s the way. Building that kind of truth bomb, if you will. You can lay on to launch yourself into that, that place that you wanna be. Yeah. Yeah, that’s, that’s hot.
Ryan Atkinson: Yeah. And if you, so let’s just say you do build a project and you know, you have like apple on, you’re like, oh, I wanna work here, type of thing.
What steps would you recommend? Do, would you recommend people to bring that project to like a recruiter at Apple being like, Hey, I built this, I’m interested in roles or what like framework would you recommend people to use?
Brian Fink: Okay, so great [00:20:00] question. So, two things is that if you have free LinkedIn, There is a very powerful phrase that pays, and that is quotation marks.
I’m space hiring, close quotation marks, and it will bring up everybody who has put in their profile that they are hiring, right? Mm-hmm. Okay. So as much as recruiters like to think that they’re in charge of hiring, we’re not in charge of hiring. We’re architects. We build a building, but at the end of the, I mean like we lay out the map of the building, but at the end of the day, Hiring managers are the people who actually build the building.
Okay. So what I would do is like, reach out to the, reach out to the recruiter if you want to. But if you are doing something highly technical, reach out to this, reach out to the hiring manager and be like, look, I’m building this thing. I’m building this thing, would you have time for a virtual coffee for me to show you how it works?
Mm-hmm. And the other thing is don’t use the term like, like recruiters, whoever’s, whatever is that like, you know, I, I ab test a lot of language variables, like when I send emails and I’ve found that when I ask people for a virtual coffee versus can you meet on Tuesday or Thursday that like, People are like, yeah, let’s have a virtual coffee.
Right? Or, you know, and, and you know, or I get people who are like, I don’t drink. I don’t drink coffee. What would you make you think that I drink coffee and I’m like, Hey, man, it’s just an expression, like, let’s chill out here. Like, but yeah, so I, I think also that if you can manifest what you’re building on a GitHub profile, especially if you’re a developer engineer, that that’s helpful if you’re a salesperson.
Um, and I’ve recruited for sales and marketing. So I think that, I think that what you need to show them is your ability to engage with a prospect. Show them your know-how, [00:22:00] like, I’m sitting, so I gotta, Ryan, I promise I’m, I’m not here to pitch books, but like, I just finished this great book that’s called Outbound Sales, no Fluff.
Okay. The book is, the book is 53 pages long. I bought it for $9 and it talks about making the case for being a great salesperson and using examples to do that. I, I promise that I have other things on my desk other than books and Starbucks to you, my friend. That’s, that’s it. Yeah.
Ryan Atkinson: Yeah. So would you recommend people so what projects would you recommend people to work on?
Let’s start with like, someone that wants to be like an engineer, because for context, I started like a different podcast my senior year of college, and I was looking for sales and marketing positions. And people love that. They’re like, oh my God. Like, like, yes, like you’re an entry level sales rep. Like you show that like you wanna start something or like you’re proactive about stuff.
Yes. Like you created before. So that was a really big hit. So if anyone’s. Sales or marketing startup podcast, simplest thing. But is there engineers, is there a certain project that they should work on, or is it just what you’re curious about?
Brian Fink: Okay, so one, I think if you’re curious about something, That you’re gonna go much further than doing work that you’re not curious about.
Right? That’s true. So, so the thing is, is like, let’s say for instance, you’re an engineer and you’re really excited about Kubernetes, like you’re site reliability engineer or your aspiring site reliability engineer. Go to the Kubernetes repository on GitHub and see what people are doing. Like the people that you really admire, like what they’re, the term is forking.
See what they’re forking and offer and, and be like, you know, reach out to ’em and say I put my eyes on this and this didn’t make sense to me. Like, stretch that curiosity, like, if something and like quote unquote do a pseudo code review and say, I looked at your fork and I found these problems with it.
Hey, are you [00:24:00] looking for somebody who can, I mean, don’t, don’t say in the same sentence. I’m looking for somebody. Are you looking for somebody who can help you build this code but create value there? I think if you’re a salesperson or if you’re a developer, you have to create value before you can, before you can ask for anything, right?
So, so create that value or play a game. So there is a website that is called Kaggle, K A G g l E. And so, if you’re an aspiring data scientist, data engineer statistician, go there and play the games and build solutions because a lot of the games are sponsored by. Your gees, your General Motors, your rivian, we were talking about marquee brands, like Yeah, hell like Rivian, I’d love to work for Rivian right now.
Alright. You know, as an engineer, you’re working on, you’re competing against Tesla, you’re building self-driving cars. You’re doing crazy shit, man. Like, that’s sick. Yeah, exactly. It’s sick. Right? Go there and see like, What computer vision contest you can participate in, especially if it’s a passion of yours, especially if you’re as passionate about rivian as apparently am.
Um, yeah, so , those are, those are some things that are there and those contests, either they pay money or they, or they’ll get you a job interview. I love that.
Ryan Atkinson: So you also, you’ve recruited a ton of people in your life. I’m just curious, what are like some of the three common characteristics that stood out to you on like the top people that you were recruiting?
Brian Fink: Ooh. Okay. Number one. Get your hands dirty with education. I don’t care if it’s formal education. If you want to go get a degree, get a degree. If I’m, I’m actually not in favor of that because I don’t understand how they cost so much today, but get your hands dirty with education. Buy a book.
Read a book. Go on. Go [00:26:00] on, learn Google. Take a free course in project management and get that project management certification outta the way. If you wanna be a project manager, go on HubSpot Academy and and learn how to be a marketer. Learn about seo. Learn about podcasting, right? Yeah. Do do those things, but number one, get your hands dirty with education.
Number two, master the tools of your trade. Hmm. If you are a aspiring, we talked about machine learning, computer vision. If you’re an aspiring machine learning computer vision or, or guy. No Python, no r, no sequel, no tensor flow, no pie, torch. You know, these are not just the names of Darren of d tags, dragons.
They’re gonna give you some real fucking fire power here to conquer the world of data science. So you want to cozy up to those tools. You don’t wanna, don’t be afraid to branch out to other technologies. I guess I’m saying the same thing is to get dirty with it. Mm-hmm. Number three. You know, I made the comment about going on GitHub.
Like, let’s say that you’re not a coder. Let’s say that you’re an illustrator. Let’s say that you’re a salesperson. Let’s say you’re a marketer. Let’s say you’re a csr. It doesn’t matter. I got three words for you. Portfolio, portfolio, portfolio. This is how you strut your stuff in front of potential employers with a killer portfolio is how you’re gonna do it.
Um, you wanna show off your projects like they’re the catwalk models at a fashion show. We talked about Kaggle competitions, GitHub repositories. A personal blog about who you are or like me talking about Star Wars. I’ll tell you right now today, no salesperson who has reached out to me to sell me any kind of recruiting equipment or software has referenced that I am a Star Wars fanatic, right?
I’m using, I’m using LinkedIn as a platform to demonstrate my prowess the same way a data scientist would use Kaggle or GitHub repositories. And then number four. [00:28:00] Maybe they’re five. Hold on. Number four, network like you are at a party. You got the skills, you got the portfolio. Now it is time to hit the social scene.
You need to attend meetups, you need to go to conferences. You need to participate in online forums. Those online forums could be GitHub, they could be Stack Overflow, they could be Quora. You wanna rub elbows with the data science machine learning. Sales people glitterati. You wanna learn from the best.
You wanna make sure that you show up and make connections that could open doors to new opportunities. And when you do that, you’re not asking them to open the door for you. You’re asking them, would you would, would you like me to open up that door for you? It’s about what you can do for them, not what they can do for you.
And then number five, I’m just gonna round out with curiosity. You can say, Brian, that was weak, but, but the reality is, it is, is like to be in the top 20%, and I’m thinking of the principle to be in the top 20%. Faster than say, you know, Kim’s latest fashion line or whatever. You need to stay on top of what’s taking place in your industry, what’s taking place in your subcategory.
You need to break through it by the bowing, these articles, getting into these podcasts, reading papers. You just need to embrace the mindset of a lifelong learner. Not to sound like Tony Robbins or something, but, but that’s, Okay, so I said four. I was gonna give you three, but I gave you five. I hope you’re Ryan.
Are you satisfied?
Ryan Atkinson: I’m satisfied. That’s perfect. And we are winding down on time here, but I do wanna hit on like one point you talked a little bit about like data science and whatnot. So if someone, like did wanna start a career and like data science they’re fresh outta school or like there’s a senior in college or like.
They just want to be like, okay, I want a data science career. Where would you direct them? Would it be starting a project? Not to beat a dead horse or whatever the saying is? No, it’s cool, man. [00:30:00] Yeah. Would it be a project or how would you recommend people to get into data science?
Brian Fink: So, plus it’s Star Wars Day.
I’m gonna say listen up Young Padawan. You want to get into data science and machine learning, it is a lot like trying to tame a wild beast. It’s exhilarating, it’s rewarding. It’s a tad bit intimidating. But I think that there are a few steps. One, start with the basics. You can’t just waltz into data science and machine learning without knowing how to do the dance.
I, I made the joke earlier that you know about the, the dragons from Game of Thrones is that you want to get really comfortable with Python and r as well as fundamentals in statistics, calculus, and linear algebra. All right, number two. Let’s get nerdy with the data baby. Is that to be a true data whisperer, you’ve gotta eat, breathe, and sleep data.
Um, you know, I, I think of like people who hold up signs and say, talk data to me. Mm-hmm. You need to acquaint yourself with data manipulation, data viz, or data visualization data. S storytelling. You need to learn your libraries like Pandas, NumPy Matt Pilot, uh, Matt Plot, lib. And, and those are gonna be your new best friends.
All right. So we’ve got that embrace the machines. Machine learning is the backbone of everything that takes place in data science or in your learning is that whether it’s supervised or unsupervised learning, you need to embrace the powers of libraries like TensorFlow. If you go to Google, Where TensorFlow grew up from.
You can YouTube, but Google does TensorFlow become the master of that. Actually I’m gonna build on that number four. Master as master Yoda would probably say. Your niche. It is. Find it in Excel. But as I would say, find your niche and excel in it. Whether it’s natural language processing, whether it’s computer vision, whether it’s recommender systems, [00:32:00] explore, experiment, become the top 20% because the top 20% is the ba, like 80% of all the work.
Um, yeah. And then I’m gonna come back to saying, get your hands dirty. Like, engage in real world, world projects. Go on GitHub. Um, Look at what people are building. If you can build it better, damn, you better try. If if you think they’ve got a flaw, say, Hey, man, I, I, I ran this code, I compiled it, it doesn’t work.
Be that person. I already talked about networking. One of the, one of my, my big success things is every week I pick 10 people. On LinkedIn that I choose to comment on their, on their on their content and then also send them a little message that says something like, Hey, I really appreciate, appreciated you talking about this.
This opened up my mind a lot differently. Thank you. And you’ll be surprised. It’s like they’ll come back and they’ll be the ones that offer you, you want to have coffee? Um, Yeah, that’s how we’d get into data science. Right? Like reach out to Jeffrey Ma and see if you can get a conversation. That’s awesome.
Ryan Atkinson: This was a great conversation throughout Brian. So I want to thank you that closes the chapter on this one, but I want to say thank you so much for joining us. This was a great conversation. I’m super happy we could get you on.
Brian Fink: Well, I’m super happy that you started this with May the fourth. And Ryan, I want to wish you may the fourth be with you and also with the rest of your audience.