Living The Dream As A Data Analyst- Alexia's Story
As we approach the end of the year, we will be wrappung up our Tech Feature Series with one of our part-time graduates, Alexia who is currently undergoing traineeship as a Data Analyst in DBS Analyst.
Tell us more about yourself Alexia (fun facts are welcomed too!)
Hello Everyone, I am Alexia and I am a graduate from Trent Global College’s Diploma in Software Development Bootcamp! Just a little fun fact about myself, I can drink up to 5 cups of bubble tea in a week, I like to believe it is because of my Taiwanese origins that gives me this superpower.
How did your journey in coding start and what did you like about coding?
Before I joined the programme, I was exposed to coding back in Singapore Management University – but mainly in the field of analytics (R, Python Pandas) and computational thinking – and was really keen since on exploring what tech could offer. I really appreciate the fact that coding encompasses the art of thinking both logically (i.e. the logical steps to get to something) and creatively (i.e. many solutions to one goal). Not only that, the realm of coding is really limitless and can be used in ANY aspects in life – from personal benefits like automatically scrapping the internet for information, building a landing page to showcase what I have to offer to using visual analytics to make business-backed decisions.
Why did you choose to pursue the DSD course with Trent and thereafter a career in technology?
I have always wanted to dabble in the tech field but was not wise enough to make this decision before choosing my university course haha! It is hard to ignore the fact that technology surrounds us in all aspects of life, and I think that I owe it to myself to not become a technology dinosaur at such a young age! As a fresh graduate from SMU, I did not want to give up the full-time position (non-tech role) that I was offered with a software company. I was really thrilled to discover that Trent Global College offered a part-time syllabus which enabled me to work in the day and code at night! Since it is the first time, I am fully immersed in an unchartered path for myself, I’d very much preferred to have instructor guidance in my first stage of learning as opposed to listening to pre-recorded videos online. Looking back, no regrets at all! How did the course prepare you for your career? The syllabus curated were industry relevant and helpful for people who do not have any prior background in coding. With a strong emphasis in Python, MongoDB, Practical Python and Django it has not only built my skillset but also covered the basis for my current job as an analyst. The instructors have played a big part in helping us understand the infrastructure and approach to developing the software. Likewise, the milestone projects were great opportunities for us to showcase what we had learnt.
I guess, here is the golden question where everyone is curious about, how did you cope with both work and studies? What were the sacrifices made throughout the process?
It was not an easy journey, as it was energy sapping to be juggling both work and studies at the same time. My social life was also affected where I had to forgo social gatherings to concentrate on my projects. From this experience I learnt that time management is extremely vital, by prioritizing what is important and tend to those first. Keeping the end goal in mind (why I wanted to embark on this programme) was also what kept me going when things got tough and be reminded that this was only a temporary process.
Technology is always developing, meaning your skills should be too, how do you keep your technology skills current?
I watch a lot of YouTube videos and I enrolled myself into Facebook and LinkedIn groups where experts bounce of ideas and discuss about the latest tech trends! It is true that technology is always reinventing itself and it is extremely important to not be phased out. Thankfully, the internet provides a rich amount of resources and I am also always on a lookout for free if not affordable courses to make sure I have the opportunity to learn!
Tell us about a tech project you have worked on. What were your responsibilities, challenges that you faced?
As part of our curriculum, for our fourth project we were required to compile knowledge acquired learnt over the past 6 months and deliver a functional platform-both frontend and backend. As a part-time educator myself, I wanted to create a passion project by building a landing page which allows users to purchase math lesson topics and exchange their opinions over a forum.
One of the main challenges faced was designing the database for the landing page. While the entity relationship diagram was a useful framework, it is one without a ‘correct’ way of approaching it and hence encompassed a lot of uncertainties and iterations before I could settle on the final design of the database. It was a struggle, as I had little sleep and needed to meet a dateline in addition to my existing workload. This was when I decided to take a step back to re-evaluate the main objectives I want to achieve and how I was going to implement it efficiently and effectively.
What are the benefits and drawbacks of working in a Tech environment?
The tech environment is an ever-changing one and there is always something new to learn! As an industry who experiences ‘paradigm shifts’ much more frequently, it is useful for individuals who are hungry for knowledge. However, on the flip side, a fast-changing environment would indicate that it is easy to get left behind. Competition is particularly stiff, as a framework used today could be deemed as old-school tomorrow, thus it is important to keep up to date and expose oneself to the latest technologies used.
Where do you see your IT career going in the next 5 years?
I have big dreams! In the area of software development, I hope to run a webpage of my own representing a service or a product that I am keen on launching. On the other hand, I hope to pursue data science and land a masters in this!
Lastly, what advice would you give to those who are considering pursuing their higher education?
As cliché as it may sound, do not be afraid to venture! The tech industry presents many opportunities for individuals to discover your strengths and find your niche. So, step up and go for it!