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How Paulina John is Building her Dream Career in Data 

My name is Paulina John. I studied biochemistry and started my career as an executive assistant at a training firm. I assisted with organizing and supporting the deployment of trainees for recruitment. This fueled my love for HR. However, I wished there was a way to convert our very manual approach into a single structured cycle recruitment approach where we could decide when we want to hire, the number of people we want to hire and prepare the JDs and parameters. When you are working in HR, you get to deal with large datasets, and for me, that looked like something that could be navigated if someone had an excellent understanding of analytics. I got curious about it and started looking for free resources online. I tried learning python on my own, but the resources I found were primarily focused on software engineering, and I did not want to do that level of intense programming. HR was something I liked, and analytics was also something I liked. I wanted an opportunity to combine them because analytics is essential in HR.

I started learning how to use Excel. At this time, I did not have a job. It was the first time I encountered data analysis, visualization, manipulation, language, and presentation. However, I needed more practical skills beyond the theoretical part. But most platforms were too expensive. 

Then one day, I found an announcement about the  Ingressive for Good scholarship on LinkedIn. I had always been scared of applying for scholarships because I felt I wouldn’t be picked. But, I really wanted the opportunity. So, that gave me the courage to apply for the scholarship. I wrote that in my application and described why I wanted to get into tech and merge HR and analytics in the career I was building for myself. Maybe that’s why I was chosen. I was so excited, and I made up my mind that I was going to go all the way with the opportunity. 

When I joined, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had assumed most of the training would happen through a live session (maybe via Zoom), but I was surprised to learn that we would use a platform called DataCamp. Because of my past experience, I had given up on picking up technical skills online until Ingressive for Good and Datacamp came by.  At first, I was disappointed because I was worried about using a new platform and scared that it might be too programming-inclined. However, after we were onboarded to the  DataCamp platform, my mind was blown, and I was really impressed. The DataCamp platform was super awesome. I think the I4GDatacamp’s training model should be studied at Harvard. 

The things I learned on DataCamp helped me make sense of all the theoretical knowledge I had gathered. All the things I did not understand became useful to me. I learned how to apply it. It was more in-depth and easy to understand. With the #I4GDataCamp scholarship, I found meaning and found ways to apply my knowledge. 

It also opened my eyes to how I could leverage my content writing talent in the data world. I realized that data storytelling was a thing, and I could use my writing talent to my advantage. This gave me an edge in my niche. On LinkedIn, most resource guides in tech advise you to find a niche but interacting more in this scholarship helped me strengthen my resolve to pursue a career in data as an HR person. I believe that it is important for decisions in the HR world to be data-driven. I love being strategic with my work and building and working with processes. 

My perspective has been revolutionized. Before now, I’d always dreamed of learning Data analytics in python but had never done it. It’s been a dream until the I4GDataCamp scholarship happened. I took the Data Analyst career track, a combination of 17 Python and SQL courses, and I got my certificate of completion. It is the best of my Data learning journey so far. Recently, I tried importing data and had to drop a URL in that function on excel. I recognized it immediately from what I learned on DataCamp about importing a CSV into a data environment. The processes are actually related. It’s just that you’re changing the tool you’re using for analysis. That’s one new perspective I learned on the scholarship that made me more relaxed about languages. I used to only care about Python and didn’t think I could do RV but now, I can because I understand that what I am doing is the same, and the approach may just be slightly different. Some tools have more expansive features than others, but the analytics goal is pretty much the same. 

Learning data through this scholarship even helped me with structuring my CV. I restructured my CV to reflect my impact at my previous workplace, converting my achievements to numbers and giving them tangible context. I have stripped the jargon off my CV, which is now super focused on what I want to do. As a result, my CV is less clumsy. Before now, I used to be all over the place, applying for every and any job, but now, I am only open to roles as a Data Analyst or HR Analyst. I have become more confident in projects and more intentional in how I approach my applications for other opportunities, like jobs and internships. I recently applied for a role and got contacted the same week. I was headhunted multiple times on LinkedIn just because hiring managers see a trail of my learnings and achievements on DataCamp on LinkedIn. 

One hiring manager even told me that my skills in analytics and how I seamlessly connect it to HR attracted them to my profile. As a result, my CV and LinkedIn profile have been getting much more attention than I am used to. I have also been offered double and triple the salary I used to have in mind (which was more than I previously earned).

Anyone that wants to get into data analytics, tech, data science; tech generally and is not a member of the Ingressive for Good. I really don’t know what the person is doing o!  The first time I ever heard about Ingressive for Good was from one of the trainees at my previous job. He had benefited from an I4G scholarship. So, when my Ingressive for Good scholarship came, and I announced it, my former colleagues were surprised. They said, “wow! how did you do this?’ 

For me, I4G has always been a big part of people’s tech journey and even now that I see what they are doing and how they have impacted my life, it’s even more significant for me now. It’s still shocking that they give it all out for free. I’m still trying to process it every day. It feels surreal to me. Having worked in a training organization where people were charged so much to learn a skill and seeing the kind of value that I4G offers for free, I can’t take it for granted. The programs are so intentional and well put together with the learners in mind. So very well packaged and loaded.  

I4G has really changed my life and given my dream to be in tech and build a career in data a boost. This may sound cliché, but it’s really how I feel. Being in the community has been so valuable for me. I have met great people on this journey. Some of us from the 1000 Women In Data created a separate Whatsapp group to connect even deeper, and it’s just been value-driven all the way. I have made many friends, and I have been connected to many opportunities.  I now have many job offers and will pick my chosen job when I am ready”. I am confident that with my knowledge, I can get 3x-5x more than my previous earnings.

I’m so confident in this tech journey now, and I4G is one of the reasons and the community. I know that there are people to fall back on when I have one issue or the other. And it’s all thanks to I4G. It also helped me see that I did not make the wrong choice in delving into tech. Always happy to be affiliated with Ingressive for Good. 

I wish you the best in your own data journey.

Paulina John (Graduate of the 1000 Women in Data Training)   

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