Career Change with No Experience Background

Hi, I recently completed UC Berkeley Data Analytics & Visualization program to do a career change to data analytics. Prior to that, I had no experience in data, but all positions and a lot of entry level are looking for people with experience. I have tried reaching out to people to network especially with people in California, USA, but I don't think I am doing this correctly. What would you suggest on how I can approach this to succeed? Any advice would help! Thank you!
maggiewolff's profile thumbnail
Hi Esther! I've been working in analytics for the past 4 years (prior to that I worked in marketing for 10+ years). I'd be happy to meet over Google Chat if you'd like! Let me know. Otherwise, my general advice. Forgive me if any of this is something you already know or are already doing. I'm guessing your program covered the basics for technical skills (SQL, Excel, Tableau or similar, etc). Did it cover basic statistics? That's also something that's typically expected for analytics since it's likely you'll analyzing (and possibly also setting up) A/B (hypothesis) tests. Also another thing that I've noticed educational programs gloss over - data cleaning. Usually in these programs (I'm in a masters in data science program right now), we're provided with clean, ready-to-go data, which is very rare on-the-job. Knowing what database to use, how to query your data to get what you need, and then how to clean it is a big part of the job. Additionally, you mentioned data visualization, but does your portfolio/experience include making conclusions with data? That's a big part in any analytics role - not just getting the data and analyzing it and creating visuals, but connecting the dots with stakeholders and making recommendations. Usually, in interviews, this is the part that will most impress hiring managers - based on your analysis, you made a recommendation that had a positive impact on the business. Also, on the other side, an analytics role needs to know what questions to ask at the beginning of a project and be able to anticipate stakeholder needs. So if there is an example of a problem/question you identified, and then analyzed the data, and then made a recommendation, that's the best type of experience to highlight with hiring managers. I took a look at your LinkedIn profile. I'd make sure to go through your past experience and if at all possible, rewrite it to focus on the quantitative parts of your jobs. Additionally, you have a BA in Psychology - did that include any data analysis or statistics? Make sure to include that. Finally, at your current company, do they have any data analysis roles? Is there someone you can network with and maybe do some job shadowing? I landed my first full-time analytics role because I was on the marketing team when they decided to create the first analytics roles (until that point, we all handled our own analysis when needed but no one was an expert). So if it's at all possible, the easiest route would be an analyst role where you are, and then after 1-2 years of experience, leave if necessary for a better job elsewhere. However, if that's not an option, do you know anyone in your network who could benefit from some pro bono data analysis? Any friends or family with a small business? Or a non-profit that you're passionate about that could use some help? If not and that's something you're interested in, perhaps could connect you to a project.
ellenflanagan's profile thumbnail
What a generous [email protected]!
setocourtney's profile thumbnail
Thanks for sharing @maggiewolff! I'm in a similar boat @estherkim, don't give up! :)
lolaojabowale's profile thumbnail
Also in addition to networking, side projects can help with switching. Try finding early stage companies and businesses and pitching a data-related project that can add to your experience while you look for a job.