Jacob, a Senior Representative at a top financial firm, recalls the initial days of his traditional customer service role. Assisting in back office operations and managing paperwork, he was at the core of an intricate web of operations.
However, an inkling for data analytics started to grow. “I started getting an interest in data analytics and was encouraged to take a course. I was nominated at work to undertake more data-related tasks, leading to additional projects assigned to me,” Jacob begins.
But not all courses are created equal, as he quickly found out, “I dropped the first one [data course] because it was boring.” When he discovered Pathstream’s program, he felt genuinely engaged and motivated to learn. “I came across the Data Analytics Professional Certificate, which prepares you for certification. So I was just overall more interested in it. At this pivotal stage in my career, as I’m expanding my skill set, honing these data analytics skills is important.”
Honing current skills and learning new ones
Jacob is currently enrolled in the Data Analytics Professional Certificate. He praises the structured learning approach, saying, “I found the first section, particularly the Microsoft Excel segment, to be straightforward.”
However, challenges arose when the course ventured into SQL, pushing Jacob to expand his horizons and adapt.
“When I started the second course: SQL, the real challenge began. The projects especially demanded more independent work. Of course, it’s more difficult when navigating the labs without continuous guidance, but going through the cycle of learning, practice, and lab work is important. You have to do that to get better at the skills.”
Applying new skills in the real world
The real reward for Jacob was the ability to use his newly acquired skills in his workplace. “Across the different teams, there’s tons of data everywhere,” he comments. Whether analyzing survey data or creating dashboards using Microsoft Power BI, Jacob found myriad opportunities to apply his Pathstream training. With an increasingly recognized data analysis competence, Jacob often finds different managers within his unit approaching him for insights.
“Managers would say, ‘Hey, can you look at this [data] for me? Can you provide more insights?” Jacob shared. “For example, with the last request, I put together a dashboard using Microsoft Power BI to assist that leader in making more informed decisions.”
However, for Jacob, it’s not just about the tools.
“I believe the most valuable skill I’ve learned [from Pathstream] is exploratory data analysis. It guides you on where to begin, offering a roadmap on understanding and contextualizing data before diving deep into analysis.”
Support and career growth at his organization
His employer’s proactive support played a significant role in Jacob’s professional development. “They’ve been very supportive of me doing it verbally and financially,” he shares. Not only did the company cover the costs of the certificate program, but they also recognized his dedication by entrusting him with additional projects. For Jacob, education benefits, like tuition assistance, make all the difference.
“I knew when I started at my organization that they had tuition assistance for graduate school,” he says; learning about the online certificates that fit into your schedule better that’s like the cherry on top.”
A Glimpse into the future
While Jacob is yet to pinpoint his exact career trajectory, his ambitions are clear. “I’m not sure if I’d like being a full-fledged data analyst, but something in that area or using these skills is the next step.”
His advice to fellow learners is candid: “Share your progress with your manager. While I’ve been fortunate to have supportive managers, it’s important to remember that this program is pursued outside of work hours. By mentioning it, you remind them of your commitment to putting in the effort on your own time to expand your skills and knowledge.”
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