I hope this hasn't been asked yet but here it goes anyway

I am an experimental particle physicist who is considering transitioning to data science this year or the next. My skills are probably not what many employers are looking for and I would like to spend 2024 getting a few certifications to add to my CV/Linkedin profile etc. I am a postdoc and have been working on data analysis for around ten years. As most particle physicists I started with C++ and then transitioned to Python. Currently I am familiar with statistics and math in general too and libraries like:

Matplotlib Pandas Numpy scipy ROOT (yes, no one cares about this one )

I am looking for certifications in coursera and other Google certifications, but I feel like I already know a lot of what they are going to teach me and I would not like to spend money and time re-learning what I know. By now I can write clean, maintainable code and do it reasonably fast. I am also familiar with:

Linux Git Bash Latex

And I have used Boosted decision trees and neural networks to do classification of data, (signal vs background).

In the long term I am looking for a job that will pay above 100K, given that I am getting close to 40 and I would like to buy a house, get married and retire at some point.

I would be glad if you could provide me some feedback on this, specially in the courses that you believe would match my long term goals.


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    $\begingroup$ You have a PhD in physics. Just apply and nail the interviews you get. $//$ I have a difficult time reconciling your perception of not knowing the material yet also feeling that you already know most of what is covered in Coursera and Google certificates. Could you please elaborate? $\endgroup$
    – Dave
    Commented Jan 11 at 0:50

1 Answer 1


I'm a fellow physicist that transitioned to data science.

Let me start by telling you that you have more than enough knowledge to work in industry right now, you just need to translate well your skills into an industry oriented CV, which is very different from an academic CV. I don't think that online courses will aggregate much weight in your CV after a PhD and so many years of experience.

I recommend you to invest time on developing some projects from data analysis to model deployment using current industry technologies. Learn how to work on cloud based systems, such as AWS or Azure. Invest some time on how to do quality code, use versioning tools such as git, containerisation (docker), and learn SQL. I'm sure all the statistics and mathematics are well covered already by your previous experience.

Domain knowledge is also important when companies hire data scientists, so if you want to move to a specific field that is not related to physics, you should also study about it a little bit.

Another thing, get involved with the data science community where you live. Try to find meet-ups and events to participate. This can help you grow your network in the right direction and find new opportunities.


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