You’ve learned the technical know-how to become a data analyst. But data science is such a new field, that it’s hard to know which projects to take on to broaden your portfolio of work. One thing, I’ve found, by putting your hand up to unexpected opportunities, you get to:

Value the smaller things, not just the technical or analytical side of being a data analyst. When the client director needs help with a presentation, you might only be formatting Powerpoint slides, because you only have half an hour to spare. But, by offering to help, you get to read that presentation and ask about their experiences of pitching. As well as building a relationship, you get to see the commercial side of consultancy.

Navigate a career path. There is something about coming out of education, which makes you wait for the next test; the next step. All the focus is around promotion and an upward path, and no one talks about sideways moves. After graduating four years ago, I worked in-house analytics but decided to move into consultancy to get more industry exposure; bucking the usual route which is to go from consultancy to in-house.

At the start of my career in data analytics, I was overwhelmed by options, but by trying out lots of things, you understand where your strengths lie and get to broaden your skill set.

Besides, data analytics is not a job with a straightforward career path; it’s such a new industry, taking on different clients, sectors and projects may help your career in the long term. I’ve learnt that it’s not a race, and it’s ok to make a lateral move to gain experience.

You can’t go far wrong. When the pitch for a client doesn’t go to plan, there’s an effort to learn what we could do better. If we spend a week developing a model only to realise we took the wrong route, it’s always a lesson learnt. We don’t sugar coat the bad news and no matter what level we are in the company, from the most junior to senior, we tell the truth and own our mistakes. One of the keys to feeling able to say ‘it’s my fault’, is to have a good support group. There’s a culture of asking and checking in on people, which means you’re not going to fail massively.

Working in this type of place, Merkle Aquila, makes you realise how you can miss out on opportunities further afield. Here, you’ve got commercial people, a finance team, an engineering team; lots of different backgrounds to learn from. There really are no limits.

By the way, we’re hiring – so do get in touch

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