Jigsawite Clarence Wong’s Open Letter to all Those Interested in an Analytics Career
Dear Analytics Enthusiast,
If your motivation to take up a career in analytics is the promise of better pay and fast growth, then I would advise you to stop and think again. You need to remember that it is a challenging field and you not only need to invest in some analytic training, but to really succeed, you will also need dedication, passion and innovation. And more importantly, you need to remember, that though an analytics career will yes…give you a big salary, you need to enter into the industry not just because you are dreaming of big money but more because you are dreaming of entering a career that is the future of everything, one that will challenge you and excite you in equal measures.
As you begin to explore the industry ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I know the technologies in use, both commercial and open source, the challenges faced by the industry and the outcomes over the next couple of years?
- Am I aware at a very high level the algorithms and techniques used in the industry, do I know the distinction between ETL, BI, Predictive Analytics, Data Mining and Machine Learning?
- Am I willing to put in 4 hours daily into analytics training after work from this day forward? Am I willing to spend another couple of hours reading up on the latest developments?
- Am I willing to learn a scripting language like Python, a statistical language like R, HTML, CSS and database administration, all pillars of data science, in a short span of time? Am I willing to continuously learn newer technologies in the future?
- How well do I understand different business? Will I be able to translate a business problem into an analytics problem, come up with an innovative analytics solution and then translate that into a business solution with little guidance while adhering to a strict deadline?
- How good is my storytelling and presentation skills? Am I able to get my message across to junior and senior audiences in a business?
- Am I willing to wait long periods after completing the course for the right job opportunities? During this waiting period am I willing to search and download public data, do analysis and publish them on forums like GitHub, SlideShare etc. so that I maintain competence in what I have learnt?
Where do you begin? How to get started on this analytics dream? Well, a good starting point for you is to attempt the courses on platforms such as Udemy, Wiziq, Coursera and Udacity related to Analytics/Data Science. They offer both paid and free courses and to start off with, I suggest you opt for the latter and establish a baseline of your skills and enthusiasm levels. Once you have an understanding of analytics, then go on to explore other training options like Jigsaw. Opt for something that suits your routine and trains you in the skills the industry demands. Those that offer practice on real life datasets will be all the more useful to you and enhance your learning to a great extent.
With respect to salary, how much you will be offered will depend on how well you can sell yourself. By this I mean providing evidence that you have applied analytics at your work, if you haven’t had the opportunity to do so or if you are a fresher, then what works have you published in open forums like GitHub, your activity on blogging sites, participation in Machine Learning competitions etc. Even if the salary offered is below expectations I would suggest you take the opportunity build competence and the rest will take care of itself, if you don’t there is always somebody else who will gladly jump at the opportunity.
I would like to leave you with two pieces of advice:
- Work on your written and spoken English. A key component of being a successful Analyst/Data Scientist is very strong story telling skills, without which you will be relegated to doing the grunt work in the background, while someone else presents your hard work to clients. This is both frustrating as well as a barrier to your growth.
- Think long and hard if you are willing to put in all the hard work I have mentioned above. There is no shortcut to success in this field. Even after you pick up the analytics skills you need to get a job, you need to keep updating your skills and be open to learning and innovating yourself. We cannot begin to imagine how the industry will evolve and so the only way to be prepared for future jobs that will exist, is to constantly interact and connect with the data analytics community and keep learning.
If you decide to join Jigsaw like I did, you will not regret it. Their courses are excellent and their mentors and support staff give you some incredible support. However a common mistake many students make is this. They believe that Jigsaw is a Genie who will magically get them the job of their dreams. Yes, they are a bunch of dedicated people who will do their utmost to help you succeed but you will have to meet them halfway and work like you have never done before. Be honest with yourself, don’t embark on this journey without being a 100% sure.
I wish you all the best and hope my insights help you take the right decision.
With Warm Regards,