Where are you currently working and what do you do there?
I currently work at Partners International where I am the Digital Engagement Coordinator.
Part of the job description aligned directly with what I had just learned at BrainStation. It was part digital marketing, part data analytics and everything seemed to fit the bill for what I've been developing my skills in. I took a shot at it, interviewed, and was hired a week later.
What does a typical day look like for you in this new role?
I was hired to do social media, but a lot of what I do is cleaning up large data sets and helping implement a new CRM as we transition over our old data from our old CRM.
A lot of my days are spent translating old terminology from legacy software into new systems and cleaning and organizing big data sets so that they're digestible for all members in the organization; from development to operations to marketing – really making our data accessible and understandable to anyone, regardless of their background.
Why did you choose to study at BrainStation? What was it that motivated you to start digital skills training?
When the pandemic hit, I was reflecting on the skills and gaps in my own toolbox and started focusing on what I'd like to fill out and build on. BrainStation was one of the first learning options that came to mind. Based on what my friends who had previously taken courses told me and then further talking about my options with Learning Advisors, it was a no-brainer. I figured it was a great way to spend my time during the pandemic, developing myself and taking control of skills I could add to my toolbox.
The demand for digital skills training is blowing up. Regardless of the field, it's so important to be able to communicate data in a digestible way.
What would you say was the highlight of your BrainStation learning experience?
The highlight for me was my final presentation. It was a matter of overcoming fear and anxiety for a lot of people because it felt so high stakes, but in reality, you shouldn’t be nervous because your instructors want you to succeed and support you through the whole process. You've worked so hard for 12 weeks and now here's a chance to showcase the skills you’ve learned. You invested in this training and presentation day is when the lights come on for you to be excellent. It was the preparation you needed for that presentation at your next job, or when you're presenting to a client, it really helped give you what felt like a real world experience.
You've worked so hard for 12 weeks and now here's a chance to showcase the skills you’ve learned. You invested in this training and presentation day is when the lights come on for you to be excellent. It was the preparation you needed for that presentation at your next job, or when you're presenting to a client, it really helped give you what felt like a real world experience.
What would you say was the most challenging part of the learning experience?
I'd say the biggest challenge was learning a lot of complex concepts in a short period of time. Data wasn't entirely new to me since I studied it in grad school; I got my Master's in Communication at the University of Arkansas and part of my study involved quantitative research methods. So, I had experience with data, SPSS, and Excel, but not to the extent that BrainStation taught me.
How would you say the BrainStation experience impacted your career?
The experience has definitely given me more confidence when it comes to data analytics. By no means am I an expert, but I don't feel intimidated by large data sets or having to clean stuff up. In fact, I'm passionate about that — I love being the person that an organization looks to when they need large data sets managed that others are afraid of touching. I've come to realize, especially after BrainStation, that I like being the person that's able to provide clarity to other teams in the organization.
What would you say were the most valuable skills that you learned at BrainStation?
I took the Data Analytics Certificate Course, so advanced Excel, SQL, and Tableau, those were three things I was able to immediately add to my skill set and to my resume. I may not be an expert, but if you have to run a SQL query or need a data visualization for a C-suite presentation, I can help and make something happen with those three tools. And also just being able to conceptually think about problems from a data analytics mindset – knowing where to start with an overwhelming data set and what to do first in order to get the ball rolling. My Instructors did a great job of providing us with strategic and logical steps to take when tackling a challenging data set and that can make a big difference.
My Instructors did a great job of providing us with strategic and logical steps to take when tackling a challenging data set and that can make a big difference.
Have you been able to incorporate those skills into your current role?
We're not always using Excel, SQL, or Tableau, but I’ve definitely been able to clean up data sets and create data visualizations as a rationale for decisions or proposals for senior leadership. I've already had opportunities where I’m able to justify an idea because I was able to present the data in a clear and meaningful way, and get buy-in from the Vice-President and President once they understood what our numbers looked like visually.
What advice would you give to other professionals that might be considering a BrainStation course or program?
If you have friends that have taken a course at BrainStation, definitely talk to them, because those people will be the ones you'll listen to more than any review you read just because you have a personal relationship with them. And then really read about the offerings on the website, because they provide you with detailed explanations of exactly what you're going to get. I felt like I was getting exactly what was advertised. I knew what I was getting myself into before I walked in. This was made clear to me.
If finances are an issue, BrainStation has scholarships and they're very accommodating when it comes to talking to you about their payment options. Don't let that barrier stop you. I mean, less than a month after my final project and finishing the course, I got a job. The course provided me with tangible skills that were noticeable to an organization and immediately impactful. BrainStation is definitely worth it. It can take a subject that you're intimidated by and turn it into the skill that ends up making you a threat in the workforce.
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