This is what I look for when evaluating junior job applicants who are looking to be hired for a data / graphics job or an internship.
What data and graphics work you can do
A list of skills in your resume is one thing, but showing what you can do is another. A portfolio page — it doesn't have to be a whole site, one page will do — that shows the best of what you've done (with links, if possible) help give a sense of your capabilities.
There are plenty of paths to publishing a graphic, and being familiar with one you can use on your own shows initiative. Whether that's with python, r, d3 or another tool, understanding the technical elements that go into graphics matters. Understanding the visual elements that make a chart a chart matters too.
Which data journalism path you're interested in
In data journalism there are at least two significant paths: graphics-focused and data-focused. Not everyone hews to one of those, so getting a sense of what stories you're interested in telling and how you're interested in telling those stories is helpful. And if you have subjects you know a lot of and are interested in telling stories about, even better.
Data journalism resources
If you're not on the NICAR-L, Walt Hickey's numlock and Jeremy Singer-Vine's email lists, get yourself on those.
Here's how to subscribe to NICAR-L: Send "subscribe NICAR-L" in the body of an e-mail message to "email@example.com".
Other useful links:
- The News Nerds slack is worth your time. The job postings channel is active, and it's a helpful community.
- This is the python boilerplate I use to start new python projects, it's suited for python scripts you would run on the command line. If you're interested in a browser python environment, jupyter's your friend
- There are a million intro to python-type sites out there, but it is super hard to find any intermediate python guides. This intermediate python guide is the only one I've found, and it's pretty good.
- Mozilla's guide to HTML (aka "markup") is the best there is. Web accessibility I take seriously, and understanding basic markup gets you 80 percent of the way to publishing in a way all people, regardless of disability, can access.
- If you haven't read the AP Stylebook's section on data journalism (it debuted in the 2017 edition), read that. If you don't have an AP Stylebook... it could help?
- This is a worthwhile intro to the command line.
You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or tweet me @joemurph.