What’s been going on?
For me to fully explain what I’ve been up to, I have to go back 3+ years to the fall of 2012. Back then, I had been working a few level under the CFO at a large real estate conglomerate. I had successfully developed many data marts/model, custom ETLs, trained/managed, etc. I proposed a predictive analytics project that would correlate economic indicators and real estate. I basically got laughed out of the CFO’s office because he felt the project was of no value. I knew at that precise moment, that there was nothing more for me to learn at that company and I needed to start looking for another job.
So, I purposely focused on volunteer opportunities that would allow me transition from Microsoft SQL Server/Business Intelligence to a more diverse skillset that included Analytics, Data Mining, Big Data and Predictive Analytics. While I continued on with my current job and running the NJ SQL Server User Group, I added running the PASS Business Analytics Virtual Chapter, helping with the PASS Business Analytics Conference content, presenting on data career topics, learning Microsoft Power BI and even was the technical reviewer on a Power BI book. Early in 2014, I was nominated for a Microsoft SQL MVP, but yet again my efforts didn’t mark the mark for an MVP. Looking back, I took it very hard and within 2 months, I resigned all my volunteer positions.
I also had begun to read a lot of career books and anything I could get my hands on that included the future of data careers. Marshall Goldsmith’s book What Got You Here Won’t Get You There grabbed my attention. I began to realize that I had been focusing on being a top notch Microsoft SQL Server professional for many years and maybe, just maybe I needed a different approach. I worked with a career coach who helped me strip down my career aspirations to 3 simple things:
#1: I need to work in a data role alongside really smart and geeky people.
#2: I love to work with heaps of raw data, refine/model for hours to deliver insights.
#3: I want to use my technical expertise, passion for data help organizations operate in more data driven ways.
In the spring of 2014, I was ready for my job search and announced to the people in my local network. A previous co-worker and friend informed me that a new data management position in a data analytics/reporting area was about to be posted. So as luck would have it, I entered the interview process and was hired in May, 2014.
The first full year of the new job was very unstructured, yet full of a wide range of learning opportunities that I hadn’t been exposed to. I was engulfed in the learning of a new industry (Animal Pharma), was part of team that worked on the data integration/reporting of a new SaleForce.com launch, and then went on to assist with the downstream integration from the newly launched ERP (SAP). I learned more in that first year than I had in the previous 5 years. I’ve recently been part of many data strategy and visualization vendors. For one of our initiatives, we chose Tableau Online to help deliver business value in a more agile manner. Lately, I’ve become the accidental Tableau Administrator in addition my other data integration and liaison roles. Life is Good!