Data + Women Quarterly: Finding Your Path in the Data & Tech Industry

Hello everyone! I’m Rachel, one of the co-organisers of the Data + Women network. Nice to meet you! For those who have never heard of us, we are a global network of dataviz practitioners with chapters across the world. Our mission is to provide a platform to all the data and analytics enthusiasts, where everyone can learn new skills, share experiences, and widen their network. This article is the beginning of a new collaboration with Nightingale. From now on, we will bring you quarterly inspiration from the ladies we have the pleasure to meet during our events around the globe. Meanwhile, you are invited to attend one of our events

Individual career paths is a topic that never gets old. Whether you are a newbie or not, there is always a lot to think about in terms of how to develop your skills and career. During our last Data + Women Global, on March 10th, three incredible women, Eva Murray, Alli Torban and Amanda Patist, shared their experiences and what they learnt while building their space in the field. 

Eva came from a bachelor in Psychology, Alli from a job as an analyst at the Pentagon, and Amanda from a PhD in biomedicine. And in different times and ways, they all decided to take a chance in the data world.  

“[Knowing when to take the next step is] a hard decision. It’s very scary, but it pays off,” according to Amanda. “If you’d like to make the change, go for it, there are a lot of people around to help you.” 

For many of the potential career changers, this industry is a bit of a black box. “When you go to university, hardly anyone will tell you the jobs that exist out there,” highlights Eva. The constantly changing environment and the fact that there are always new developments in the tech industry, can make it hard to know the available jobs. 

What to do then? Find people already in the industry, join network groups (like Data + Women!), and ask a lot of questions! Once you map the skills you already have and the ones you’d like to develop, create some personal projects to keep you motivated to learn and to give you something non-proprietary to showcase in your portfolio. 

“Set a goal for the next 100 days and make it something you have control and can achieve,” recommends Alli, “and share what you’re doing! There is no shame in trying a new skill and being in between when you start.” And if you’re short on ideas, you can always collaborate in one of the dataviz community projects, like the Viz for Social Good initiative. 

Mark your calendars

Don’t miss our Data + Women co-organisers Annabelle Rincon and Heidi Kalbe during the next Tableau Conference (date yet to be announced, but you can follow it here). And stay tuned for our next quarterly report.

To watch the full event:

A few links from the talk: 

Rachel Costa is a journalist turned into data visualisation specialist with a passion for making data beautiful, meaningful, and accessible to everyone.