Women in Big Data is spotlighting amazing women.
I am currently working as a Business Intelligence Analyst at a business unit under a global (but still family-owned) company in the FMCG industry (Fast-Moving Consumer Goods). I am working on data definition, data visualisation and data interpretation… thus… a lot of data work? Well, yes and no. It is always about people! This is my experience. To me it is more important to be able to deal with people than to have a high level of technical skills. You can learn those skills you need to do your job—if you want to. In the end, I think it is important to work in a field you want to work. This can also mean that you might not know yet what this is.
Back in school I was good in the majority of disciplines—not in natural sciences unfortunately—but I had a special love for Maths, Spanish and Geography. I was not sure which job fit the best, and I wanted to combine my beloved disciplines in studying business administration for the hospitality industry in order to run my own hotel someday. Well… such specific study places were very expensive and I luckily decided to do a double major Bachelor in Business Administration and Economics. Luckily I had this double major, as I could not deal with business administration stuff very well, but I fell in love with economics. Economics is trying to capture the world in mathematical models, and these models start from easy and progress to very difficult. I added econometrics to my studies, which is the applied mathematical approach of testing theory. It was and still is mind-blowing that you can predict behaviour by correlations, and that you can find out causation without having a laboratory.
My career journey into data: After my studies, I wanted to do similar research for a living. I wanted to improve situations by finding out not only correlations but causations. Well, the research department turned out to be too silent for a loud and active person like me, and the companies back then needed a bit more time to get their data structured in a way that it was useful. So, I started my career path without heading for a clear direction or profession. I just wanted to analyse and gather insights out of data. A mid-sized consulting company that specialized in Business Intelligence changed my path and gave me the chance to step into data analytics. I learned so much about data warehousing, data visualisation and project management. Again: all is about the people and teamwork. I will always be thankful to my colleagues there. They taught me a lot about the technical stuff, and they never gave me the impression that I was asking a “stupid question.” We were a good diverse mixture (still too few women, but I was not alone).
My message to an awesome community of 17000+ women worldwide: What can I say… you never know where you will end up? Staying curious, interested in improving and learning guided me. I really have had bad times and many downs, but my my family, friends, colleagues and kind-of mentors helped me to get through all of this and to seek for what I want to do… even when the picture isn’t clear.