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Keen to kickstart a new career that would play to her professional strengths, Jocelyn decided to enrol in the Data Analytics: Transform course.
I studied Environmental Science, but my last few roles have been in administration. Most recently, I’ve been working in administration with New South Wales Health.
Before I joined Academy Xi, I really didn’t have any experience with Data Analytics. I completed one module on statistics at university, which did help me understand a bit of the jargon, but other than that I was completely fresh to the discipline.
I was searching for an online course that would enable me to change my career. I wasn’t sure what to study, so I completed a few online quizzes that help you identify a career based on your professional strengths and personality. The quizzes all highlighted my attention to detail, as well as my ability to recognise patterns and solve problems. As you might guess, Data Analytics kept popping up as a career suggestion.
I did some research into Data Analytics and it definitely appealed to me. My partner even gave me his old Data Analytics textbook. I read a chapter on SQL and actually really enjoyed myself! I don’t normally respond well to learning theory in textbooks, so that really solidified the idea that Data Analytics is the course I should go for.
Paying for a course is a big commitment, so I was very thorough in choosing who to study with. While I was researching Data Analytics courses, Academy Xi kept popping up in my Google searches.
The Academy Xi course was one of the most moderately priced and covered an enormous amount of content in just 15 weeks. Plus, it offered a long period of career support. In the end, it was definitely the best deal on offer and I decided to enrol.
By far the biggest highlight for me was learning to write Python code. I didn’t have any previous experience with coding, but now I know how to write in a programming language, which is absolutely marvellous.
In particular, I really enjoyed creating data visualisations with Python and Matplotlib. I’m the kind of person who likes to make things look pretty, so the whole process of converting data into graphs and charts was very satisfying! It’s a handy skill to be able to tidy up data and present it in a stakeholder-friendly way.
Plus, I was really proud of my capstone project and pleased to come away with a portfolio of really fun and interesting work that I can show to prospective employers.
For my capstone, I completed a predictive modelling project that used data from the tabletop role-play game Dungeons and Dragons. I made a model that accounts for 91% of the variance of the data, which calculates the challenge rating score for any player-created monster. I’ve tested out the model with a real game and it actually works. I’m a complete Dungeons and Dragons nerd and just couldn’t resist coming up with a project based on something I’m passionate about!
Beyond the coursework projects, I also wrote a blog. I reached a stage at which point I was ahead of schedule with all the coursework, so I asked my mentor if there was any extra work I could complete. He suggested that I write a Data Analytics blog. I decided to give it a shot and wrote an article about colour blindness and data visualisation. The article explains how Data Analysts can use tools within Python that make graphs and data visuals accessible to people who are colourblind. Writing the blog was optional, but I’m glad I decided to go ahead with it. Having a piece of published writing is a great addition to my portfolio.
For me, studying online wasn’t a problem at all. I know some people prefer face-to-face, but I really enjoyed the flexibility of completing the course remotely.
We had two sessions a week for two hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I didn’t find that level of commitment too demanding and I didn’t find it not enough. It allowed enough time in between to carry on working in my role and complete my coursework assignments.
It also helped that our cohort was really friendly. If anyone had a question or was struggling with something in particular, they could post it in the class channel on Slack. People were always happy to help and give advice. Honestly, I never felt like I was studying alone.
We also got to see some of JP’s professional projects during the classes. He showed us a tracking system for a ship port that he’d built for a previous employer’s website. It was cool to see how we could go from something as basic as learning to code with Python, to building such a comprehensive project. Seeing JP’s professional work was inspiring and gave me a lot of motivation.
Without a doubt. It was great to be able to book those one-on-one meetings with JP, especially when it came to completing the projects. I’d book a session whenever I got stuck. In the end, I realised it was much better to book a session before I got stuck! We’d go over what problem I wanted to address, figure out what my outputs would be and plan my methodology.
JP even went as far as to extend the sessions beyond the allotted 30 minutes. His enthusiasm to help the students was very clear, and I really appreciated his level of commitment.
I’ve just finished signing up for the career toolkit, which is the first step in the Academy Xi Career Support Program. I’ve now got six months of career assistance to help me land that first position.
I’ll probably be looking for something contractual or temporary, just because I’m totally new to the industry. That will give me the chance to build up my experience and then I’ll be in a strong position to apply for something more permanent.
Absolutely. There are definitely areas of knowledge within Data Analytics that I know I’ll need to add to with time. That said, I’ve got the fundamentals under my belt and feel more than capable of working in an entry-level position. Entry-level positions exist for a reason. I’ll need to spend a few years working in the industry to really fine-tune my skills and build up my know-how.
There are a few modules from the course that I’d already like to deepen my knowledge in. There are all kinds of resources and free tutorials online, so I’ll work my way through some of those while I’m applying for jobs. Once I’ve spent a bit of time in the industry, I’ll have a clearer sense of where the gaps in my knowledge are and then aim to address those specifically.
100%. Even for somebody interested in courses beyond Data Analytics, I’d say go for it. I can tell from my personal experience that Academy Xi really knows how to structure its courses and does a great job of working with an online system. Whatever course you might be interested in, I’m certain it’s going to be really useful to you and your career.