What's your job about?
Tableau and Alteryx are two business intelligence tools that have become very popular all over the world and complement each other very well. We provide both software and customer services on a large scale for clients in the management of these two tools, providing technical support, training, and experts that use these tools for business intelligence and analysis for clients that do not have their own in-house capacity for any type of business analysis.
I am one of the consulting analysts. We provide on-site services to clients for a 6-month period in the visualisation, design or analysis of their data.
What's your background?
I grew up in Pretoria, South Africa. After school I completed my BSc and MSc in Chemistry at The University of Pretoria. I completed my PhD in the field of synthetic organometallic chemistry which I completed at The University of Pretoria in collaboration with The University of Konstanz, Germany. During the last year of my studies I moved to the UK where I have been living since. On completion of my PhD, I wanted to move out academia and into an industry where I could still have exposure to constant learning experiences while being able to investigate various aspects of business or science. The Data School provided me with a unique opportunity where I can have all these different aspects in one job!
Could someone with a different background do your job?
A key aspect of our consulting business is that we can provide experts in any field to our clients – therefore we require people from multiple backgrounds to have experience in different industries. This includes people with business, science, social, languages, computer, marketing and engineering backgrounds. The Information Lab provides the necessary training for its employees through The Data School before sending them to clients. So yes, anyone with any type of background can apply for the position. Through the interview process it becomes clear whether someone will be a good fit for the company.
What's the coolest thing about your job?
There are several very cool things about my job: I am constantly learning (new techniques and exposure to different industries), I am constantly exposed to new projects (every client has unique business questions that they ask or data that they would like to investigate), and I have access to a massive support network (with many, many experts) within the company. This network is especially helpful should anyone struggle with aspects during training or when working remotely at one of the clients. The general company culture is also very social, often meeting after work for drinks at a local pub and company events during the evenings, and you get to meet many people and make good friends.
What are the limitations of your job?
As we have many different clients all over the world, it is often necessary to travel or have long commutes to wherever a client is. This is simply part of being a consulting analyst. You will also sometimes be thrown into the deep end in terms of the type of experience you have, but we have our massive internal support structure and there are always people to help with any type of problem that you may experience.
3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...
Firstly, change is a good thing. There are many opportunities and different fields you can apply your best characteristics in, don’t limit yourself to a single field once you start considering the opportunities available after graduation. Secondly, never say never: life often throws you a curve ball and unexpected things happen more often than not. Thirdly, enjoy where you are. It is nice to have dreams, but don’t wish your life away.