I work with data because it’s the key to a doorway. It’s the path to further your understanding on a topic. Everything starts with data and is eventually solved with more data. Everyone thinks they want more data until it becomes a problem like it’s becoming today. Today there are 2.5 billion gigabytes (GB) of data being generated every day. Data has went from being useful to big data to a suffocating amount.
The question today is the same as it’s always been, “How do I turn the ever-increasing amount of data into information for my customers?” I use the word customer to refer to anyone you’re trying to provide value whether it’s an actual customer, manager, or coworker. You’re trying to give them the information they need to make purchases or business decisions. It’s the same question but today it requires a more tools.
My career has been defined by my ability to work with data. In college, I took a course in Visual Basic programming which I ended up using in my first job, when I was introduced to how to use Microsoft Excel, to create Visual Basic for Application (VBA) macros. Part of the reason I got my second job in a quantitative fixed income group was due to my ability to program in VBA. I spent a lot of time in Excel and slowly became an Excel Power User who used code to churn out hundreds of detailed reports for my managers, senior executives, and sales & marketing teams.
This all lead me to a graduate degree in information science because of their emphasis on data and how to manage it in this changing environment. I was interested in how to gather, store, manipulate, and secure data.
At the end of my graduate degree, I knew I wanted to continue my education and focus on combining my quantitative skills, business experiences, and programming into one concentration. That’s when I found data science which I believe perfectly wraps everything I want into one focus. The journey of learning data science is a path to a new set off skills that will be necessary for high-level analysts in the next decade. That will help analysts discover and create real solutions for businesses.
Plus, it doesn’t hurt to learn a little more math and programming for a future that is centered around tools built using those principles. If you’re an analyst who can’t grasp advanced statistics or code then you’ll be the future’s version of the factory worker who may find themselves without a job as other more highly skilled or cheaper analysts take your place.
Don’t become a replaceable cog in the machine. Innovate and learn how to use all of this information to your advantage.