I did it! Jigsaw Academy student Rajesh Ramamurthy tells us how he made a career shift into analytics.
Many of Jigsaw’s students join our various courses because they can hear the rising crescendo within the analytics industry. They yearn to be a part of this challenging and exciting career, one that is fast paced, has rich monetary returns and can fast track your career path. For those of you out there, who also have such dreams, are you skeptical and nervous because you have no previous experience in analytics? Well, be reassured, many have walked a similar path. Having no previous analytics experience, they took that first step and contacted Jigsaw, registered for one of our analytics courses, worked hard at their assignments and upon completion of the course, were able to find a job in the analytics sector.
This week we would like to showcase one of our bright and talented students who after successfully completing one of our courses, has been able to break into the analytics arena.
What inspired you to first contemplate a change in career?
While the learning and growth in IT was exceeding good initially, 16 hour workdays, working across shifts and the high stress work environment took a toll on me. I felt burnt out and felt the needed to rejuvenate myself and my career. I also felt that the growth momentum in the KPO sector was slowing down and that business margins of all companies were under constant pressure. After some research and discussions with a few seniors and mentors I felt that Analytics was the path to pursue. It would be an opportunity to learn something new and yet it was something where I could build on my past experience. The growth numbers that Analytics companies were clocking and the wide range of industries where it can be applied to, made me sure that this is definitely something for me.
What were the first steps you took?
I initially did a short term course from Indian Statistical Institute (ISI). However I found it extremely theoretical and not very application oriented. I began to search for an application oriented course and stumbled upon Jigsaw. Being an online course, it was an added incentive and I decided to go ahead and register for the foundation course.
The ‘Jigsaw experience’:
The Jigsaw experience was extremely good. It was the first time I was attending a training session sitting at my home. To be honest I was initially skeptical given the freedom the course offered the student. Here’s where the trainers and the pace of the course helps. It is initially slow, gradually building up speed as concepts are built. At the same time it is extremely engaging and practical. No theorems and formulae to mug. The teaching methodology is case study oriented with a problem solving approach. The exercises and the codes are practical in nature and the virtual lab helps you be at the code for practically as long as you want. The codes are given feedback and that was an important motivator as it reassured me that things are on track. Towards the later part we also had video sessions, where the topic is covered as part of pre-recorded videos and live sessions focus more on solving doubts and answering specific questions. Sarita and her team of trainers bring a lot of energy and enthusiasm to the training and add excerpts of their work experience as examples while making specific points.
Once you finished the Jigsaw course, tell us about your experience finding a job.
It was quite a struggle to find the right job. It was mid 2012 and the job market wasn’t too good. I had a great deal of experience behind me – 10 years to be precise and was changing my stream of work and was looking at a new industry. So I knew it was a long draw and was prepared for it. I did customize my CV as per the feedback provided to me by Jigsaw, circulated it among all the well know job sites, subscribed to LinkedIn and used it actively to interface with folks in analytics and circulate my CV among their peer group. My experience was actually working against me. I was advised that Mid-senior analytic lead positions would only go to folks who have analytics experience. But I kept giving interviews knowing that it was about being at the right place at the right time. I practiced case studies and writing codes, continuing to keep abreast of what I have learnt. Given my PMP background, I positioned my CV as an experienced Project manager with a diverse experience set, instead of talking of specific domains that I have been involved in. This I felt worked to my advantage and I landed my job at Novartis post some 8 rounds of screening and interviews.
Now that you have made the shift to analytics, have your expectations been met with regard to job satisfaction and role?
I am a Project manager within the Analytics unit of Clinical Operations team at Novartis. Most of my team mates are folks with some experience in analytics, database programming, or ETL systems. My primary responsibilities have been managing multiple projects and stakeholders in data analytics and visualization projects. For a typical project, SQL is used for data extraction, SAS / R is used for data transformation and tools like Spotfire or other custom tools are used to visualize the data. Managing vendors also is part of my responsibilities. It’s all very interesting and it definitely keeps me challenged. I am a happy man at the end of the day! I have no regrets. If I had to do it all over again, I would go about it in exactly the same way.
Advise for anyone contemplating a similar shift.
Be committed to your decision. Have some savings and be prepared for some months of struggle. Give your best to your training, read a lot and keep your mind occupied with positive thoughts at all times.
Words of wisdom
From my experience I know that to get a job a particular skill set is enough, but to grow and prosper in a company/ industry domain, knowledge is the key. I am constantly learning about the Pharma industry and more specifically about Clinical operations. Learn, learn and practice what you learn is the mantra for now. Explore the world. It’s a quite big place out there, and a job, a company or an industry is too small to limit oneself and one’s ability.