February

Securing a new role with a Skills Bootcamp

Following his Skills Bootcamp, Jed Taylor secured a role as a senior analyst. He reflects on combining his course experience with previous work experience to successfully change careers.

Since September 2021, Bath Spa University has run free Skills Bootcamps for local residents. In January of 2024, Bath Spa started its 50th cohort.

Jed Taylor, a Skills Bootcamp alum, talks about his time on the course and how he was able to combine his previous work experience and Skills Bootcamp experience to land a senior analyst role. 

Choosing a Skills Bootcamp 

My name is Jed, I'm in my early thirties and from Bristol. I have a music degree from the University of Hertfordshire and previously worked as a Creative Strategist working on creating sonic brand identities. Following redundancy, and having specialised quite early on in my career, I was at a bit of a loose end as to what I should do next.

I’d been aware for some time that, despite the creative arts degree, my interests were more aligned to working with information than they were strictly ‘creative’. A desire to become more competent with data and coding had been sitting in the back of my mind for some time. A Master’s degree had felt like the logical next step, as I had family who had, in previous decades, turned their careers onto a different trajectory by that means, but the spiralling cost of these courses made this entirely unfeasible.

A friend had the year prior done a similar bootcamp which successfully helped her to reshape her career dramatically, and after many months of soul-searching, a chance encounter with her in the street led me to investigate and subsequently enroll in the Skills Bootcamp in Environmental Data Analysis at Bath Spa University.

Completing a Skills Bootcamp 

During the course we covered everything from how to solve problems with data to the essentials of using Excel effectively, Power BI tools and the foundations of analysing data with Python. 

For me, the highlight of the Skills Bootcamp was the final project. We were briefed to analyse data from a real project being undertaken by a real company. The scope wasn’t too prescriptive, which allowed us to use our relative strengths to deliver on the brief. It was a great opportunity to not only expand on the skills we had learned, but also to apply the principles of effective problem solving with data. I enjoyed it immensely.

Support post Skills Bootcamp

I received excellent support after completing the course, which helped me to work through some areas that I felt less confident in. Whilst I had acquired new skills and new confidence with data, I still wasn’t much closer to having found a career path that felt right for me.

Prior to receiving careers support from Bath Spa, I had taken a bit of a blunderbuss approach to job hunting; I lacked focus and felt resigned to simply apply for anything with the word “data” in it, regardless of whether it excited me at all. The support I received helped me to channel my energy more effectively, to see the value and experience I could bring, and feel more confident to not waste time on applications that brought me no joy, and that would not leverage my abilities.

I went from being rejected from countless junior analyst roles to being successful in landing a role as a senior analyst at a well-known consumer intelligence company. This role leverages both my experience gained through the Skills Bootcamp as well as my prior experience in branding and advertising; it is this combination of attributes that I think was pivotal.

I struggled to see my potential value to an employer prior to working with the careers service, but through working together I was able to combine my skills and experience in a way that was both recognised and highly valued by the right employer.

Since graduating, I have also maintained contact with a couple of students, one of whom I am hoping to work on some side-quests with in the near future to sharpen my skills further and bolster our portfolios.

Advice for future students

What you learn in the Skills Bootcamp isn’t the whole picture; your experience until now, regardless of what it is, has a lot of value. Leverage your existing knowledge, skills and experience to add value to what you gain from the bootcamp; I really believe this is incredibly powerful in helping you stand out when applying for a new role.

Have fun with it, be curious, look out for opportunities where the skills you’re learning can be applied in everyday life. I’m now much better at managing my finances every month simply because the Skills Bootcamp taught me more advanced skills with Excel.

To find out more about our Skills Bootcamps, please visit 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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