From tech bootcamp to multi-national franchise
This interview is part of a new series focusing on young IT professionals who are starting out their careers and wish to share their experiences. The series is meant to engage those who have just begun their professional development as well as the wider network of IT professionalism in education and business.
In March, we sat down with Data Analyst, Rita Goncalves (age 27). Rita became interested in IT because of the innovative nature of tech companies and sought out a data ‘bootcamp’, Wild Code School before making a career change.
“I’m currently working as a Data Analyst at Tamanna, and I actually didn’t pursue a bachelor’s degree in programming or anything like that. My interest in IT started around 2014 while I was still studying my bachelor’s in Product Design. At this time, I was mostly interested in learning about web development languages, including HTML and CSS. Then, once I completed my degree in 2015, I started working with the IT industry but as a self-employed marketeer, and then joined an IT training and consulting company. That’s where I developed my interests in further developing my career in IT.
Because I had to deal with such a huge amount of data in my day-to-day tasks, I started becoming more and more interested in becoming proficient with data and using programming to make my life easier. So, I decided to start learning python and that’s about when I discovered Wild Code School. In 2020, I won a scholarship sponsored by Deloitte and Portuguese Women in Tech to join a program as a data analyst at Wild Code School.”
Q: Can you tell us how you came to learn about Wild Code School and some details about the course you did with them?
“It was during my scholarship in Portugal, where I saw that they (Wild Code School) were advertising a course in data analysis. I decided to apply and ended up doing a bunch of interviews and passed some basic python and excel tests before finally enrolling. The course took about five months…”
-That’s pretty quick…
“Yeah, it’s a ‘bootcamp’, definitely. It’s pretty intensive, but without it, I wouldn’t have had the confidence to make the shift into applying for a data analyst role. They teach with an ‘inverse learning’ methodology, where you have a platform where you do exercises (or quests) and explore first and then you have the instructor-led training about the given topic. This is very valuable, for me at least, because then I can already come in with questions and understand what the teacher is talking about, instead of the regular methodology of teaching where you just hear a new term out of nothing.”
Q: And then you got your job at ‘Tamanna’ – can you describe the company?
“It’s a start-up and only about one year old. It was founded by Alshaya Group, a multinational franchise which operates more than 100 brands across the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe. Tamanna, is a multi-brand online marketplace that has lots of brands from Victoria’s Secret to Footlocker, H&M, Kurt Geiger, American Eagle and many more consumer brands.
Q: Can you describe some of the daily tasks you perform as a Data Analyst?
“As a Data Analyst, I’m responsible for identifying patters and trends, building data models, interpreting, and analysing results using statistical techniques, providing ongoing reports, managing report permissions, as well as collecting the requirements from business users. I’m part of the data team, so I work in collaboration with the Data Engineers, who are responsible for ETLs (Extract, Transform and Load) data from the data sources into the data lakehouse (which is our data platform built in combination of the data lake and data warehouse). What is great at working at Tamanna is that we have a quite modern cloud infrastructure based on Azure.
Tool-wise, I get most of my work done using Power BI, which is essentially a business intelligence solution created by Microsoft where I can present the data by building neat repots and creating interactive data visualisations to provide business users with actionable insights to help them drive business results. For performing calculations, I use M, DAX query languages and SQL server. Besides, I also use Excel and Python for providing quick insights.
Our business users are basically everyone internally at Tamanna and some external Vendors. Each department within the company is connected to the data team, because every team generates some sort of data and every-team has specific reporting needs, including Sales, Finance, Marketing, HR, Product Engineering and others.”
“Before I join any company, it is always a requirement for me that they offer training. At Tamanna, the learning budget is an essential part of our career plan”
Q: How much does re-/upskilling fill in your work?
“It’s something that I really like – I’m always looking for the latest trends in the industry so I can be up to speed with the tools and features that come on the market. Now, I’m focusing heavily on Power BI, and every month there are new updates on that, and the community of analysts is also very strong, so everyone is sharing their experiences.
Before I join any company, it is always a requirement for me that they offer training. At Tamanna, the learning budget is an essential part of our career plan.”
Q: Can you share more about what this ‘community of analysts’ consists of – is it e.g. a formal online forum?
There are several, I’m not part of driving any of those communities, but I often attend ‘Power BI Portugal’ meetups and follow specific channels on YouTube and LinkedIn that talk about data. Everyone is online, so people with the same interests create events and come together, for example, Power BI Portugal has a WhatsApp group where people can post their questions or different approaches to a problem.
Q: One of the things that is being discussed for e.g., software professionals is that technical skills are not enough anymore to fill a role – soft skills and business skills also need to be developed for an IT professional to thrive in the modern workplace. Since you specialised into IT after your bachelor in product design, do you think this has brought you more business skills and/or soft skills that are now a great asset to your work?
“Yes, think so. Especially, because I have to bridge the work of engineers and the business users. So, when I create a dashboard, a report, or an analysis, I am keeping in mind who are my users and take into consideration what technical skills do they have, and what are some of the UX (user experience) best practices in order produce deliverables (dashboards, reports or analysis) that are user-friendly and efficient in helping users answer their questions and speed-up their decision-making process.
My background in product design is helpful here because it has helped me develop some important skills, such as critical thinking, and methodologies related to the product development lifecycle.
I really enjoy this aspect of my work a lot, especially because it also requires having good communication skills and with both engineers and business users to ensure that all the requirements are met.
Q: Any advice you would give someone considering a career in data analysis?
“I’ve always heard that ‘the best way to get ahead is to get started’. If people aren’t 100 % sure if their skills are enough, I think it’s very good to look for a program that not only provides the credentials but also the practical skills. It’s a matter of looking and talking to people to know about the different options.”
If you would like to know more about the role of a Data Analyst, or other profiles within the field of IT, please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Join ITPE and stay informed about our interview series as well as other upcoming events.
Learn more about Wild Code School and the courses they offer on wildcodeschool.com
Learn more about Wild Code School’s ‘data Bootcamp’ here