Greatra Mayana

Career & Employment Opportunities

My Analytics Career Path – Analyst to Director


Hi, I’m Jen. I’m going to walk you through my analytics
career path, starting with getting hired as an analyst, moving through other analytical
roles, and then taking a director level position in a large, international corporation. I hope that my analytics career journey will
inspire you to think outside the box about the path that your own career could take. It might give you some ideas of areas you
hadn’t thought of before and help you craft where you want to go on your analytics journey. If you’re exploring your career or you’re
ready to take the next steps to getting a new job, check back each week. We post twice a week videos here at The Career
Force focusing on everything related to analytics careers. I’ve always liked data, facts, and logical
problems, so it made a lot of sense when I decided to become an analyst for my career. My educational background is a Bachelor’s
degree in math with a minor in economics. A lot of numbers but also a lot of logic. What a lot of people don’t realize is that
upper level math classes really are as much about the logical reasoning as they are about
any numbers or letters. My first career position after college was
as a data analyst. In that position, I did a lot of data analysis,
data science work, but also a lot of business analysis type work. That’s going to vary a little bit position
to position. Different companies implement these roles
in different ways. For me it was a lot of problem solving, given
different things to look at and come up with solutions. I really enjoyed that work. There were a few things that I focused on
in this position which I think really helped me prepare for the next position I’d take. The first is, I really built up my programming
skills. I unfortunately didn’t go into this position
knowing how to do much programming. But I self taught a lot of SAS, as well as
some other programming languages. SAS was the main language used at the company
I was working for at the time. I worked on that. The other big thing I spent a lot of time
on and has benefited me throughout my career is really building up my network. Especially when you’re new to a company
or to the working world in general, you need to build your connections. You’re going to find so much information
from these people, and you’ll probably find that a lot of them are really willing to help
you out and help you take the next steps in your career. I built my network. I also looked for opportunities for leadership. While I wasn’t managing anyone, there were
always opportunities where I could take responsibility for something that was maybe normally outside
of my scope but would help out the team or help out the company and really show those
around me that I was willing to go outside of my day to day boxed in job responsibilities
and really make things happen. Within a year, I was promoted. I took on a role in a financial analyst position
focused mainly on warranty. For those that aren’t familiar, it’s really
similar to the insurance industry. You’re trying to predict what’s going
to happen and how much it’s going to cost so that you can make sure that you’re properly
charging for things and you’re properly reserving the amount of money. I spent a lot of time focusing on my predictive
analytics skills here and got really good at it. I was able to do predictions that were having
error rates of less than 2%, which is pretty good. For anyone who has done predictions, you know
it can be difficult to be that accurate. I spent a lot of time building those skills,
also working on my data visualization skills so I could communicate with the rest of business
team. This business analyst/financial analyst role
wasn’t something that was common information to the rest of the organization. While there certainly were other people doing
this type of work, there were a lot of people that it was kind of magic behind the scenes
as to how it got done. It was really important to be able to communicate
the results. I also looked for opportunities to again take
on more leadership roles. For me, this meant taking leadership classes,
it meant getting involved in some organizational development activities and really taking
extra time that stretched my workday to be able to really go into the organization and
lead and build my network, and that paid off huge. The next position which was actually within
a year of that promotion, was moving into a manager role. I was managing the financial analysts and
data analysts with regards to warranty and quality. In that role I still worked on my technical
skills, but I also got a chance to manage analysts. I had a lot of fun doing that work. It’s really good when you’re in a good
team of analysts, the comradery that’s built and the way you can bounce ideas off each
other, and find new ways to solve different problems. In that role I continued to build my skills. I focused more on data visualization, more
on communication, because a lot of the activities I was doing were going to higher and higher
levels. They were going to the board members of the
organization, they were going to the CEO of the organization, so it really had to be accurate,
clear and concise, because it was rarely me delivering the information. I might have to pass it up a few levels of
the organization and give that person enough information that they could really talk articulately
about what was going on. The other thing I did at this point in my
career was I got more involved in the industry. There are a lot of organizations for pretty
much any industry you can think of. In my case, I got more involved in the warranty
industry, and specifically in the warranty analytics industry. I spoke at conferences, I wrote papers, I
got connected with the people who made the software, and this really helped me learn
a lot, but it also gave me in some cases information as to what tools might be coming out, it let
me give feedback to the software makers about what I saw could be done in the business,
and the other thing I did was help build different training. Training on financial predictions, financial
analysis, data modeling that has been implemented in the industry. At this point in my career, I was about 4.5
years out of college, I was on my third position, and getting ready to transition to my fourth. I don’t think this type of career growth
would have been possible without me having some fundamental strong background in analytics
and being able to do the logical work that came with it, but the other thing that has
been a huge help throughout my career is being willing to step up and do more. To stretch, to grow myself, to make connections
with people. This goes a long way to helping you take steps
in your career, even when you don’t see what that position might be. With both of those positions I just talked about after my first one, they didn’t in some cases even exist until they were created for me, and it came about largely because I was doing things outside of my comfort zone, I
was going above and beyond. So don’t just look at it as, “What’s
the next position I’m going to be in?” It’s great to plan ahead, but also do things
without expecting something in return in your career. And they’re going to be noticed. Your managers are going to notice. Managers around you are going to notice. And it really stands out when people are doing
an exceptional job, and it’s really is noticed when people aren’t just doing the minimum
that they can do to get by. All of these skills definitely didn’t come
naturally to me at first. While I definitely like experimenting with
different things and solving problems, I’m not naturally much of an extravert, so it
takes energy for me to go out and talk with other people. And connecting with other people doesn’t
mean that you need to be buddy buddy or really personal about things. You can still talk about work and be friendly
with people and grow that network. It will really serve you a long way in the
future. Even if you change companies, that doesn’t
mean your network at the old company is doing you a disservice. They can still be people that your reach out
to as resources, they can vouch for you for future positions. It’s a great network to have. After all of that, the next position – so
we’re on the 4th position now and about 4.5 years out of college, I moved into a global
role. This was really interesting because I had
always been at a global company, but I was always focused a little more locally. In this role I became part of an executive
management team across 7 different sites globally. We were in the majority of the major time
zones that are out there. In this role I focused a lot on process improvement
and on analytics. One of the beautiful skills you have if you’re
a good analyst is your very process driven and you’re very logical about how you can
solve problems. In this role I was able to do a lot of work
to standardize globally how we were working. I worked with analysts at all of the sites. I was able to streamline some different things,
identify best practices at different sites, combine them, take the best of everything
and really implement them so that we could globally have the best result. Again, I think this is something that came
from networking and building my skills, going out and doing above and beyond what my job
called for. I might be working with someone in the US
on site face to face in the afternoon, and then the next morning I might be working with
someone who is twelve time zones away from me. It’s a great chance to build both your knowledge
of how people work, but also your communication skills because there are differences in how
we communicate across cultures and how we properly convey information. There’s also so much to be learned from
working with a wide variety of people, and with companies becoming increasingly global,
it’s a fantastic skill to have. You need to be able to communicate well, both
in writing, and when you’re talking with people and in your visualization of data,
even if someone is not right there with you. It’s sometimes nice to be able to write
on a whiteboard all your logic for how you solved a problem, but other times you might
need to be able to articulate the exact steps you followed fairly simply and in writing
to someone that maybe it’s not convenient to actually call. So again in this role, one of the things I
did was look at the industry and what I could do. It was some connection still with this global
training, with the industry training and knowledge, but it was also getting involved with graduate
analytics programs and helping walk students who were going to become analysts through
solving different business specific problems. I think this is a great skill for people entering
a new career to have. If you haven’t ever taken the time to solve
a business problem, there’s probably going to be more of a learning curve. What I’ve found in working with analysts
and hiring analysts is ones who are recently out of school with no business application,
often are fantastic at applying research methods, but they might struggle a little bit with
the ambiguity that often comes with business questions. Getting some real world business practice
can be really good for you. Even if you don’t have a specific business
problem, take a problem that you do have where you don’t have all the information and apply
those analytical skills to it. I held this position in my global role for
about four years, and after that I took on a director role within the warranty organization. My responsibilities were for everything produced
in North America, which was a very large part of the business that I was a part of. I had a team that spanned two different sites
within the US. There was a lot that went back to those communication
skills and networking skills I had built early on in my career. I managed teams of analysts in that position,
trying to solve different problems, trying to identify problems of what might be going
on before they became big problems. I also did a lot with negotiating with suppliers. Both contracts and settlements for different
financial issues. For me this is where my analytics skills again
came in handy. I can logically reason through a problem,
I can build a logical case, and that’s a great skill to have in negotiation related
roles. It might not be immediately obvious how an
analyst would move into a director role that was more focused on suppliers and negotiation,
which was the role I ended up in, but there were lots of steps along the way that led
me to that point and allowed me to be extremely successful in that role. Something you might be wondering is what kind
of connections did I have that got me these jobs? And the truth is, not many. This was a job I found and applied for, and
then my skills and the value that I was adding to the company helped propel me further along
in my career. So while I certainly had a lot of things that
I had been fortunate to give me advantages, I didn’t have anyone waiting to hand me
a job. I applied for the job, I wrote a resume, I
built my skills, I learned about the industry, and all of these things really helped propel
me forward in my career. Why am I not in that director role today? Well I really want to switch gears and help
other people experience the same success that I have. I truly believe there are a lot of really skilled
people out there, especially in the analytics world that maybe just need a little help finessing
their resume, finessing their approach to their career path, so they can build themselves
a successful career. If that sounds like you, I’d love to connect
with you and help you. If you’re not quite to the point where you’re
ready to work with my one on one, I do have a guide that will walk you through my top
steps to growing your career, and you can get that in the link below. If you are ready to work with me one on one
and grow your career, I would love to talk with you about how I can help you work through
that. I’ll link below so you can connect with
me, or reach out to me on LinkedIn, and we can talk about what I can do to help you have
the same career success.

6 Replies to “My Analytics Career Path – Analyst to Director”

  • Thanks for watching and subscribing! Are you pursuing a career in analytics? I would love to hear about it. Let me know in the comments below.

  • Great video and it's good to hear about your path in data analytics. Have you ever used or wanted to use Microsoft's Power BI?

  • Get started on your own analytics career. I've written an extensive guide to building the right skills and finding a data analyst job that's a great fit for you: http://bit.ly/TCFDataAnalyst

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