Deciding to make a career transition can often be an anxiety-inducing process. It can stem from basic fears about your aptitude or your experience. Or more complex questions about your career trajectory and what particular career path might be right for you. But if you overcome these fears and make the transition successfully, you would have opened doors to a world of opportunity. From our experience, we know that this is true for a career in data analytics.
In India, last year, the analytics industry grew to $3 billion in size and is poised to double by the end of 2025. This is expected to translate to 1.5 lakh new job openings in data science, a 62% growth from last year. The hundreds of Springboard India students who have completed the data analytics career track have seen great success in their career transition.
But it is natural for you to worry if ‘a data analytics career path is right for me’? In this blog post, we’ve collated the best career advice from Springboard’s data analytics mentors to answer that question.
Data Analytics Career Transition
Firstly, if you see yourself as someone with an analytical mind geared towards dealing with and organizing data-related complexity to derive forecasts, you’re off to a good start. Whether you are already a technologist or not, whether you have experience with data or not, whether you live in an IT city like Bangalore or not, you can still make a successful career transition to data analytics. Let us walk you through the finer details you must consider while doing so.
1. Am I qualified for a career transition in data analytics?
Data analytics is an emerging career; so, the rules for qualification aren’t yet set in stone. Anyone from a person at their first job all the way up to seasoned professionals with 20+ years on the job market can move to data analytics in various capacities today.
The bare minimum qualification you will require is a bachelor’s degree, preferably in relevant subjects like information technology, computer science, maths, or statistics. However, sometimes even this may not be necessary. Professionals opting for non-traditional paths like an online certified data analytics course or boot camps also find great data analyst jobs. For instance, Springboard’s mentor-led online data analytics course can get you job-ready in six months!
The other path is if you’re already a technologist with programming experience. A strong foundation in programming, Python, SQL or Hadoop would help you settle right in. We had earlier explored how you can leverage your existing programming skills for a career in data analytics in this blogpost here.
Should I be a data analytics specialist or a generalist?
Let us ask you a question. Does your academic and professional background poise you better towards a career in a particular industry like retail or healthcare? Maybe you’re more in tune with financial data analysis, preparing forecasts based on the latest spikes and crashes in the market, then you might find it easier within the financial services industry. There are many businesses that employ data analysts these days, and your work experience might be favourable for a specialised field. Here is a blog post that will help you understand various data analyst job descriptions, and help you find the right fit for you.
Remember that the field is still evolving. Choosing a specialization right away might restrict your opportunities that can open up later. Ultimately, a data analyst’s primary duties involve gathering data, organizing it, and using it to derive meaningful insights. Use the first few years of your career transition to get a hang of the space and then specialise.
How to make an employer trust my abilities?
In any line of work, it can often get pretty hard to demonstrate successes, document the work you have done and have it ready and updated at all times. But this is extremely important, especially if you want to make a career transition.
Work on your portfolio for your prospective employers. They want to have a clear view of the work you have done, your strengths and experience. An online portfolio is an assuring way of highlighting your work, and adds great strength to your CV.
If you are new to online portfolios, join platforms like Kaggle (a crowdsourcing platform where organizations and individuals publish datasets and data-related challenges for knowledge-sharing) or Github (the primary open-source site for hosting projects). You can also consider putting your portfolio up in a personal site constructed on Jekyll, WordPress, Medium, Tumblr, Squarespace, or other blogging platforms. Companies are known to browse a potential hire’s digital footprint in their relevant field, so this is an easy way to be visible in the job market.
Career Transition: How do I know if I’m going in the right direction?
In any trade, a good deal of networking is needed to get the best role for your experience and skills. When it comes to career transitions, knowing how to position and brand yourself is the primary focus. What work have you done that is relevant to the job at hand? How do you inspire confidence in your potential employer? How is your individual experience best suited towards your prospective employer’s needs? It is crucial to get such questions out of the way before you decide to play the field. Once you have identified a good pitch for yourself, tell colleagues, friends, attend conferences relevant to data analytics, get the word out on LinkedIn, speak to experts on Quora and so on.
This might seem intimidating, but remember, data analytics jobs are not like washing machine sales jobs — they are new, emerging, and there are only a few people who have done this before you. The only way to make a seamless career transition is to find mentors who are willing and able to help you with career counselling. It is for this reason that Springboard’s online learning program in data analytics comes with a 1:1 mentoring-led and project-driven approach along with a job guarantee for all students. Try it out now.