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The rise of Medium thought pieces/MOOCs has created the conception that data science jobs are a 40-hours-a-week Kaggle competition, whereas the reality is much, much different/less exciting to write thought pieces about. (I wrote a blog post last year about that phenomena: https://minimaxir.com/2018/10/data-science-protips/ )

That is not limited to data science. I remember the horror of an intern when he realised that real work wasn’t at all like solving neat little puzzles on HackerRank. He discovered that he didn’t really want to be a programmer after all...

It would be a true horror if real work is like solving hackerrank puzzles --- everything is predefined and you're given a set task for a set amount of time, surely a robot could do the same?

I mean, hackerrank puzzles IS how most companies interview so it isn't unreasonable to assume that that's what the job is like. Presumably orgs would ask questions related to the problems they are solving during an interview

To be fair that is the same with many jobs. It always sounds like you will be building the next great thing from scratch, but end up spending far more time fixing other people's crappy code.

Ask any Postdoc or PhD candidate :-). Even they aren't spared from the "discover the next great thing" phenomenon. Perhaps the best thing for students/new employees to realize is that while they may be on the path to building the next great thing, that path is full of potholes and grunt work. Will save a lot of disappointment when they hit the road.

True, although data science seems to have an elevated discrepancy of expectations vs. reality.

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