My Reddit post got 45k views in 24hrs, what did I learn?

My Reddit post got 45k views in 24hrs, what did I learn?

The story of building in public.

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The story of building in public.

Before jumping into the Reddit experience, I asked myself a question that plenty of data analysts (and anyone who builds online) keep asking:

Why should I create my own data analyst portfolio?

One of favourite subreddits is r/dataisbeautiful - I find it amazing how talented some people are, being able to gather data from all over the place, structure it, and visualise it in a way that it tells a story so simple, yet so captivating.

Clearly a data analyst portfolio can be an essential tool for individuals looking to advance their careers in data analytics. It showcases a person's skills, experience, and knowledge in the field of data analysis, and highlights their problem-solving skills, ability to discover new possibilities, and creativity.

A good data analyst portfolio should contain examples of successful data projects and should be visually appealing and easy to navigate. Recruiters and potential employers will use this portfolio to determine if the candidate will be a good fit for their organization. Therefore, it is important for anyone looking to get hired as a data analyst to create a compelling and informative portfolio that highlights their strengths in the field. With the vast array of available online tools, creating a data analyst portfolio can be a breeze, and help potential candidates standout from their competition.

For my purposes, I have rephrased the question to:

Why should I showcase what I am building in public?

Taking this advice in mind, I also decided to share my project in public, hoping for feedback, eyeballs and the act of sharing itself reinforces the "accountability" aspect of letting people know what I am building.

So, what what happened?

I launched on December 19th, 2022 - with the aim of making the site the n.1 job board for data analysts.

At that point it had about 70 jobs that I manually curated, and posted on the site ahead of the launch, to ensure people don't come to an empty job board (that's like going to a site with stock images, finding there are no images).

I told myself that I don't want to shill the site in early stages, but instead, I'll give it a full month, gather the insights, and share a post that other builders and data analysts might find helpful.

The content of the post consisted of:

- site statistics, traffic and overall reflections from the first month.
- general observations of the market (particularly about lack of salary transparency across the EU and the UK, highlighting the UK market being much more recruiter driven, and how companies seem to just be hoarding job applications for the sake of data)
- call to action - asked people to visit the site, contact me with feedback and if interested, reach out to do an email interview about their data analyst careers

You can read the full post HERE

The post was shared across these subreddits:
r/DataScience (post got deleted by mods)

Across these 5 channels, my post received around 45k views, and 50+ comments. While these are not viral numbers, comments were positive, helpful and insightful, and I am grateful for every single person who took their time and shared their thoughts.

What were the most frequent questions people asked?

1. For the remote positions, will these jobs accept people from other countries?

As it stands, the Global roles are marked with location "Anywhere", but as many people probably found out, there's not that many available.

A lot of companies don't specify whether or not they are open for people from different countries, so I usually go with the safer route of "Unless specified, applicants need to be in the country of the job posting."
Hopefully I'll be able to influence this when dealing with companies directly posting on the site, and make it easier for people from around the world.

It definitely is something worth exploring, as in an ideal scenario most of those jobs would be global-friendly.  

2. It would be nice to be able to see the state within the US, if the job is listed in-office or hybrid.

While I haven't implemented the filter yet, I have made have the state/location available for all jobs.

3. Are there any plans to add opportunities from other countries to the list?

I hope we'll be able to share job opportunities in other countries and regions as well as we grow. The main blocker to date has been the lack of job postings that would also include the salary - something that is a priority for the site. When that happens, there's a risk that there will not be enough new data analyst jobs added, causing people to leave the site and not return. This was the primary reason why region Europe is no longer being covered for the time being.

4. What do you think of reverse job boards?

It's something I spent some time thinking about - there's a lot of money changing hands in recruiting, and particularly for those able to play the role of a matchmaker (successfully).

On the other hand, once you start handling user information + sensitive info in CVs, I think it gets really, really tricky with privacy laws, data storage and security overall - particularly a danger of laws being different across regions. So for that reason I've started going simple - handling no user information at all.

Saying that, depending how the "pay to post" model goes, maybe there's room to shift toward matchmaking, there is a lot of money to be made.

I highly recommend listening to this podcast with Lynne (founder of Key Values, she's a solopreneur doing matchmaking service for software engineers)

5. What's your job board tech stack?

Webflow - website + cms
Jotform - form + stripe integration
Airtable - database with job posts
Make - automating the flow
Placidapp - generative pre-populated images for social media
Jetboostio - smart filters + autoarchive + some other customisations (could be replaced by Finsweet for filters, which is free, but haven't had a chance to dedicate time to making it work)
Buffer - social media posts scheduling

Domaining Add On: Where did you get the domain name and how much did it cost?

I won't be sharing the acquisition price at this stage.

What I can say is that I've been building a portfolio of domains over the last 5 years, as I do believe that they are the key to growing a successful (not just online) business.

There were couple of reasons for going with the exact match .com domain:

1) Instant credibility - I've started talking to some HR departments, and once I introduce myself and what I am operating, they pretty much don't question my intentions at all.

This doesn't just apply to conversations with companies, but also to anyone who comes across the domain - it will help me shape, attract and help the people in the niche.

2) I'm a firm believer in "Start as you mean to go on" - in this case, fully committing to the project and planning for success.

and 3) There's absolute tons of reasons why this experiment might fail, but the domain is a long term asset in fast growing industry / job role - no matter what happens with the site, the domain name will hold value over the long term.

So, what were my main learnings?

1. People can be friendly, thoughtful and eager to help, when they see genuine effort being made. There were a few data analysts offering to share their experience and I'll be sharing interviews with them in the coming weeks.

2. Being afraid of sharing your work and your thoughts in public is scary, it doesn't (probably) get easier - it is however a huge opportunity to learn something new, improve your work, and grow.

3. The current job hunting experience is broken, and LinkedIn and other job aggregators are making it worse - there was a ton of people who reached out about their poor user experience with the biggest job sites out there, highlighting the need for niche job boards to exist and provide a better way for people to find new job opportunities.

Few people actually mentioned they will start a niche job board in their own industry, which makes me super happy and excited to follow their journey.

4. The goal of increasing the reach of the site was successful - the site saw a spike in traffic for a few days, and while the spike didn't last long, the new "average" stabilised around 4x of my early January traffic.

To wrap this up, again, I am so thankful to people who read my post, shared their thoughts, gave advice, shared the site with their friends and colleagues, and to those who reached out individually to offer help or asked for help on their own building journey.