Pursuing a career in data science

Before taking part in a Skills Bootcamp, Jed Taylor was at a loose end regarding his career. Jed reflects on his highlights of the course and his decision to pursue a career in data analytics.

My name is Jed, I’m 31 and from Bristol. Prior to taking part in my Skills Bootcamp in Data Analysis, I was a brand strategist at a small agency in London that specialised in jingles and other branded sonic devices of that nature. I’d been in and around advertising and brands for about 5 years at that point.

Why a Skills Bootcamp?

I chose to do a Skills Bootcamp after moving back home from London and being at a bit of a loose end in regards to what I should do next. I’d examined a bunch of avenues but nothing felt right or open to someone with my background. 

It all clicked when I ran into someone I know who had used one of these exact courses to successfully transition her career into data science. Data skills had always been something I was keen to develop in my professional life, but had never had much opportunity to do so. They were a “nice to have” rather than essential. I went home and registered that afternoon.

Learning sector-specific skills

We started off the Skills Bootcamp with a deep dive into the power of Microsoft Excel. It's actually quite amazing how powerful a piece of software Excel is; that was eye opening. We followed with some Business Intelligence skills in PowerBI which on the surface might look intimidating, but is actually a very intuitive and user friendly bit of kit. 

We then moved into Python, covering fundamentals of coding and data analysis in that environment. This was great because it gave us a solid foundation with which to continue to explore the endless world of what is possible in Python. I took to this pretty hard and it is still my tool of choice for anything data-related. 

Getting hands-on experience with The Data Place

Additionally, we had a really nice day spent covering data analysis skills in person hosted by Bath Spa University and delivered by The Data Place, a small but formidable company of data specialists based in Plymouth. I enjoyed this a lot as it kind of confirmed much of how I felt; that the skill is in how you define and solve the problem in your head, the technologies are just tools. 

This really helped us hone those problem-solving abilities and relate them to the technical skills we had picked up. The Data Place also briefed us on our final project which was really good fun and a great opportunity to use what we had been taught to learn about and try more adventurous things.

The benefits of project work

The final project was my favourite part of the course. I appreciated that it was primarily a problem-solving exercise: the project was briefed and a result was expected but what you did in the middle and how you got there was up to you. I liked that. It acknowledged that there would be diversity within how each of us approached and solved the problem and that each of us would have certain strengths that would, through development, eventually constitute a personal “style” of sorts. 

It was really interesting seeing everyone present their findings at the end and having the opportunity to learn from different and equally valuable ways of approaching a challenge. 

Advice for future learners

If you’re considering taking part in a Skills Bootcamp, you should know that you’ll get back what you put in. Be proactive and engage as much as you can both within and outside of class hours. You can probably get yourself 75% of the way there by simply choosing a topic you are genuinely interested in. For me it was data analysis, for you it might be something quite different! 

The staff at Bath Spa are wonderful. They’re highly skilled and feel genuinely invested in helping you make the most of your time studying and beyond, so be sure to give that energy back and you’ll fly! 

Sound interesting?

Inspired by Jed's story? Follow along with his data journey.

If you’d like to sign up for a Skills Bootcamp, you can find out more on our website.

Disclaimer: The Bath Spa blog is a platform for individual voices and views from the University's community. Any views or opinions represented in individual posts are personal, belonging solely to the author of that post, and do not represent the views of other Bath Spa staff, or Bath Spa University as an institution.



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