Asked an older friend for career advice as I am trying to enter a new industry — Data Analytics.
- Are you really keen on entering this industry?
- What are you passionate about? (edited this question for clarity)
On hindsight, my initial reply was subpar. Having the time to digest the questions further...
Yes. A strategist by nature, I enjoy connecting the dots. However, with overwhelming data, how can one manipulate and sift through the data in order to arrive at objective and data-driven strategies. In order to become an effective strategist, I want to have real-world technical experience manipulating data to better understand how it works. From experience, a combination of technical and business skills has become a niche that hopefully is a USP.
I used to be passionate about some issues. With age, and possibly mingling around much older friends, I've learnt to mellow out and take a step back. To be contented with life. Yes, one can aspire to be an employee at a highly sought after company, but I've learnt to accept that different companies have different cultures and are at different growth stages. What a large company offers, might not be applicable or possible for a small one.
This doesn't mean I'm less chiong. Due to training under good ex-bosses, I've learnt to have high work standards, but should circumstances beyond my control mean that the project/work doesn't turn out as planned, I've learnt to not dwell on it and move on.
On a personal level, this is possibly the only aspiration. Long story ahead...
As a young child, I would pore through 'PC Magazine' and other technology magazines. Thanks Dad for subscribing! He also bought the latest gadgets and let me play with them. He also got dial-up when it first came out and was expensive! Hello Internet! All this led to me getting interested in IT and self-learning HTML and CSS from library books and online resources. StackOverflow and W3Schools thank you! I later decided to further a Diploma and Degree in Information Systems.
However, these courses had many male students. I didn't think too much about it, but it really hit hard when I entered an IT department and became 1 of 3 females out of about 10 employees. The guys were very helpful, friendly and kind, the gender imbalance just felt odd.
Later, I realised it wasn't that odd. It was normal in STEM. After that I joined other more gender-balanced industries.
Now, 10 years later. The tech sector draws me back. I can't explain how much tech fascinates me — the speed, innovation and open-ness of it. Also, with the gender-imbalance, I hope to become a statistic in the growing female technical roles, despite following the non-traditional IT route.
Heck, I've been doing it since young. It seemed so natural to contextually connect big picture dots, that only when ex-boss highlighted it, then did I realise it was a possible strength. ↩︎
Unique Selling Point. ↩︎
In this case, 'ambitious'. ↩︎
Creative Jukebox and digital camera that used floppy drives as memory sticks anyone? ↩︎
Not that I intentionally sought gender-balanced companies, the jobs just happened. ↩︎
Traditionally, IT people jump straight into technical careers right out of university and move upwards from there. I went into different non-tech industries and pursued a Museum Education qualification. ↩︎