Career In Tech

Promoted to Be A Senior Data Scientist at Walmart

5 key takeaways to boost your tech career

Leihua Ye, PhD
6 min readJun 5, 2023

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Career In Tech Promoted to Be A Senior Data Scientist at Walmart 5 key takeaways to boost your tech career
Photo by Liana Mikah on Unsplash

Introduction

If you have followed me for a while, you probably know I started out as a Data Scientist at Walmart Global Tech, the technology branch of the Fortune 1 company. It was my first industry job out of academia. Like everyone else who began a new career chapter, I found myself clueless and anxiously pondering how a tech career would progress.

Fast forward to today, I was recently promoted to a Senior Data Scientist, leading multiple end-to-end deliverables. Looking back at the journey, I feel grateful for every learning opportunity and how much I have progressed in my career (more than just a promotion).

The main motivation for today’s post is to share the learnings and growth with the wider community as a tech insider. There are a lot of open secrets that only insiders know, and here is one: you will be promoted to the next level only when you have performed at the next level for an extended amount of time. I didn’t know we had to perform at the next level before getting a promotion! This is an eye-opening moment for me. After some reflection, here are five high-level learnings I want to share with everyone who is early in their career:

  1. Impact, Impact, and Impact!
  2. Identify your unique value positioning and work as a team
  3. Embrace an interdisciplinary mindset
  4. Adopt a growth mindset
  5. Do it right ≥ do it fast

Lesson 1: Impact, Impact, and Impact!

If there is only one learning I want you to take home, that lesson would be focusing on impact. The tech sector upholds meritocracy and rewards good outcomes, not the process/intentions. However, the word ‘impact’ is abstract and hardly quantifiable. Can you say something like: John’s impact is 10, and Andy’s impact is 12.5? Or can you say John has an impact, but Andy does not?

Probably neither.

One common approach is to look at someone’s past projects and the role they played. In other words, your projects become the embodiment of your…

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Leihua Ye, PhD

Senior Data Scientist @ Walmart; PhD @ University of California. Data Science | A/B Test & Causal Inference | Career www.linkedin.com/in/leihuaye