I work in a great company that I have been with for almost a year, unfortunately, although things are going great in my current role, I have no room for growth currently.

The field I am interested in is one that is a little difficult to get into, but I have the relevant skills and academic background, my problem is that they want me to have 1-3 years of experience for Junior roles, which I cannot get without a relevant job.

I am an analyst and interested in data science analytics (not quite PhD level but still programming and mathematically based analytics, which is what I studied in college).

I went to an interview for a relevant position that in the past people from my team moved to with no experience, or were brought into from outside if they showed enthusiasm and intelligence, but now even though I passed all the new difficult tests, built models, and showed mastery of the relevant skills they just want someone with more experience who can do it faster and more succinctly... the only people that passed to the second stage of interviews have doctoral degrees.

I want to stay here, but even if I don't, it'll take me a very long time to get an opportunity outside of the company in a relevant field.

Is there a way to ask to participate in their projects or do other things? It wouldn't affect my time on my team or my work, but I am not sure how open they are to the idea of creating an internship style role and I do not want to make issues for myself.

  • Is the core of your question: "I want to do such-and-such for my current company, but, (A) they won't let me and (B) I don't want to upset anyone by demanding too much?" Is that the basic situation?
    – Fattie
    Apr 18, 2019 at 11:41
  • Are you in fact currently a software engineer? ie you literally write code for them all day?
    – Fattie
    Apr 18, 2019 at 11:42
  • Do you kaggle? I think most of the data science people are hired from there. Apr 26, 2019 at 15:48

4 Answers 4


As you've described the situation, you have the relevant skills for a promotion/lateral move within your company to a position you desire, and though people of your calibre have successfully made that move in the past, you now find that "they just want someone with more experience who can do it faster" and "people that passed to the second stage of interviews have doctoral degrees".

A number of things could be going on, some of which are political:

  1. your present boss doesn't want to lose you
  2. the new group has enough people and isn't entertaining new applicants except standouts
  3. the new group doesn't want you

You can't control politics or headcount limits, but you can control your own performance and (to some extent) the way you are perceived in your organization. To maximize your chances, do some or all of the following:

  • do a superlative job in your present role; make your boss want to promote you
  • find a way to apply your data science skills to a problem in your present domain within the scope of your present job, with the knowledge and blessing of your boss; or if that isn't an option, then on your own time (NOT on company time), apply your data science skills to a problem related to your business
  • keep in contact with the other group and its leaders, but find the right balance (don't be a pain in the neck, just stay in touch periodically so they know you're still interested)

For my first IT-related position, I didn't pester but I kept following up, and it led to an offer when one of the people they had didn't work out in the long run. Later on, in that role, I suggested using a technology that I wanted to learn that I thought would improve things, and multiple conversations led to a flat NO. So I spent most of a summer working out a proof of concept at home (it was a programming project), and when I showed them the result, they decided to adopt it after all. It was a win for everyone.

Even if you spend a summer working on something and it doesn't lead to the desired career track at your present company, it will put you further forward in searching for a job elsewhere, if it comes to that.


Normally, your question is quite broad. So I will limit my answer to the interaction with your colleagues.

You say:

  • you do not have much experience;
  • you want more experience;
  • the company proves that they are dedicated to people with good knowledge (PhD);
  • your current job is actually fine ("things are going great in my current role").

My advice is to shoot several rabbits with one bullet:

  • continue doing your job;
  • enjoy the benefits of a good job;
  • gather more experience, as needed by both your company, and by other companies;

Additionally, if you have some time to spare, talk with your more senior colleagues if they are willing to include you in their projects. Maybe one (or a few of) them will be wiling to give you a chance.

To initiate discussions with people from other teams, it is easier of you know them at least a little. Maybe you meet sometimes at the water cooler, or during lunch.

As a discussion starter, you may tell what you heard about their projects, being more interesting. Go on to asking for more details, if they want to share. Ask about the real difficulty of the tasks, and if any of the work can be done by somebody with less experience.

Don't panic if you are not successful at first. Just be a nice colleague. Be persuasive, without being a stalker. If one person has a colder attitude, the next person might be more welcoming.

  • My job is irrelevant to my degree and to what I want experience in, and my team doesn't do similar work, so I'm being pushed out to gain experience and grow in my chosen field, which means I would have to leave a place I have invested a lot of time in, as well as a lot of effort to learn about a particular industry (which unfortunately the scope of this field is quite limited). So I think I need to have conversation with the other teams about training but I don't want to make anyone uncomfortable and I am not sure the best way to tackle that conversation since it has never been done here :(
    – Lani
    Apr 18, 2019 at 10:12
  • You said you've been there less than a year. And yet you're saying that you've invested a lot of time there. You seem extremely impatient to leave. Are you regretting your academic and career decisions this early on? Are you possibly dissatisfied with other aspects of your career and chasing something new and shiny seems like a way out? Jun 2, 2019 at 17:57

Is there a way to ask to participate in their projects or do other things?

Yes there is: Have a conversation with your manager and ask if you can participate in their projects or do similar things.

It wouldn't affect my time on my team or my work

I'm sorry, but it would. Your manager will know this as well.

I am not sure how open they are to the idea of creating an internship style role

Neither are we. The only way to find this out is to ask.

Have an honest conversation with your manager about where you want your career to go. It sounds like there are opportunities available in your organisation. It also sounds like you're motivated, which is a great start. The people responsible for the positions you want are the people you need to ask about what you need to do to get one.


A systematic approach to this problem will help you. I suggest you work out some medium-term and long-term career goal for yourself. Such goals might be

  • Work in a job that uses my training
  • Gain experience in xxx field.
  • Make myself the local expert in yyy

You get the idea: these are just examples. Work out your goals.

Then, figure out how to meet those goals.

  • You can definitely ask your manager to help you improve at your present job. You can ask for training. You can ask for advice for what to study on your own time. You can spin that by saying "if I understand how this data helps the company, I will process it with more skill." This makes your manager into your partner in meeting your goals.

  • You can let your present manager know some or all of your goals (but be careful here). Then ask for help meeting them.

  • You can (and you already have) apply for internal transfer.

  • You can find another job outside your current company.

Keep in mind that helping you develop your wisdom and skills is good for your company, just as it is good for you.

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