How Jack went from working zero-hour contracts to a career in data

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Jack DA Blog-07

The current pandemic may have changed the way the world works, however it’s also presented graduates with opportunities to be seized. We caught up with Jack Ogilvie-Richards, one of our Professional Data Analysis graduates, to talk about how he managed to land a career in data.

Why did you decide to take our Data Analysis course? 

After graduating from university with a degree in mathematics, I worked a couple of zero-hour contract jobs and when COVID hit, I started to think about the next step. After extensive research, I found that data was an up-and-coming industry. When I was looking for course options I wanted something that was a fully integrated learning experience rather than just an online course with no teaching. I went along to a CodeClan information session and got a really good impression of the instructors and the support network and I knew it would be worth my investment and dedication.

How did you find the course and learning remotely? 

It was an amazing experience if I’m honest. Compared to a university course, CodeClan provides you with much more practical experience and knowledge. The best part for me was discovering a love for open-source languages in a very interesting and enjoyable way. The CodeClan instructors are very knowledgeable and make the understanding process of data analysis and overall topic so much easier to grasp. Learning remotely didn’t affect my experience and if anything it taught me how to effectively work remotely.

Was it easy for you to interact with the instructors and work on labs and exercises? 

Definitely. The labs were a massive component, you learn a lot of content and these give you the chance to immerse yourself in aspects such as coding in depth and with a practical spin. I enjoyed the human interaction with the team who were extremely knowledgeable in providing insight into the technical side and implementation side. For example, data cleaning is fundamental to any data analysis work, it was something we did in our labs. Additionally, learning how to present data to the marketing team, that was one of the most helpful skills one could take away from the experience. Whether you’re learning to code for the first time or acquiring presentation skills, the Codeclan course is invaluablable, well-rounded and equips you with everything you need to succeed in a role in the industry. 

How did you come across your new role and what was your process of applying? 

It was a long process that honestly came about through the encouragement I had during the CodeClan careers week. We kicked off careers week by talking about CVs and then a lot on LinkedIn and it was great. A CodeClan alumni gave us an excellent talk about data consultancy and I’d been thinking about getting into this for a while so I had the chance to ask a lot of specific questions about the role that I couldn’t find online. During the talk, I got the idea that the company they worked for was actively looking to hire so I took the opportunity to enquire about entry level roles within the firm. This led to a chat with the hiring manager, then I took a technical test, and finally I got an interview. During the interview I had to answer a lot of technical questions and make my pitch as to why they should hire me. A lot of it was also genuine conversation and they brought up how the previously hired CodeClan alumni had been promoted twice within a two-year period and was thriving, therefore making Codeclan a place to look for well-rounded candidates. 

I was conscious of the different dynamics throughout the process and the interviewer did say that they look beyond the experience since within consultancy mentality is key so I was offered a position as a data analyst in March and I was thrilled because it was the dream role. It was great to be able to complete Codeclan and come full circle from a degree I really loved but wasn’t sure where I was going to now, taking a call and ending up in a place I probably hoped to be in the first place. 

While interviewing for a new role, what CodeClan experience did you use to display your skillset? 

I almost always relied on Codeclan projects. It was a great way for me to be able to articulate what skills I’d learned in a practical way. A certificate is great however being able to actually demonstrate my learning in a well rounded context from things that I did, coupled with strategies I didn’t implement, was essential to the process. During the course, I was able to understand my own weaknesses and identify potential areas of improvement and I have found through the process that people want to hear more of that. It almost proves that you’ll be inevitably exceeding yourself every time you step into a new role that’s challenging you.

What are your top tips for those job hunting right now? 

I honestly can’t undersell the LinkedIn method of not just seeking roles, but also connecting with employers and recruiters. It was amazing during careers week to find out that 70-80% of jobs are not advertised. Marketing myself right was critical and LinkedIn is the best platform to do so. It is all about making connections and building your network really. Contacting the person you’re sending your application to will help you make an impression, by sending them a genuine message you get to put a face to the name instead of just being another candidate. In a contemporary industry like data, I do believe it is imperative to take advantage of all the different avenues you have. Putting yourself out there is scary but worthwhile and shows very meaningful results. I would probably never have gotten that first phone call if it weren’t for me, putting my foot out a little bit. 

What are your future career goals and plans? 

Recently it’s been all about locking down on my dream job, I really want to work as a data scientist and that’s the ultimate goal so hunkering down and starting off as a data analyst is critical. The world of data consultancy really appeals to me since it is a combination of communicative and technical skills.

Any final comments or advice to anyone thinking about learning with us?

I am so grateful to Codeclan for the entire experience. I would highly recommend utilising all the available resources from the student support services to the virtual socials and the different Slack channels. I really enjoyed interacting with my course mates and have even stayed in contact with a lot of them even though we were all remote. Once you get over the hurdle of the screen, working and learning remote is an invaluable skill and now I’m not daunted at the prospect of starting my job on a computer. So my best advice is to take the leap because the experience and outcomes can be amazing.

Interested in learning more about our data analysis course? Take a look at our course page or join us at an info session, we’d love to see you there!

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