I decided to change careers to data analytics although my education has nothing to do with computer science or software engineering. I’m one class away and a thesis to finish the requirements for my master’s degree in biblical studies. I have been in the master’s program for over two years and in bible college for six years plus.
My decision to change to data analytics comes because of the work I do at my current company. My title is Application Engineer, engineering in the variable refrigerant flow and duct-free split industry. I work doing validation testing on new product development, technical writing proofing and engineer support for the product.
The last 1.5 years I have been working in gathering technical and competitive data, then sorting this data into Excel spreadsheets. One project took me seven months to complete. This year I was promoted to another side of the business and I worked on spreadsheets that have taken up to 5 months to complete. Before I knew about data analytic I would think to myself, there’s got to be a better way to gather information than to search for information in technical manuals, submittals specification, or engineer documentation.
In the process of doing these spreadsheets, I quickly realize that my Excel skills would have to improve, being self-taught, I never learned a good foundation in Excel. The other thing that came to me is that I like to organize data and present it in powerpoint, tables, graphs, and graphics. I like making spreadsheets look pretty. I come to the conclusion that data analytics maybe something I would enjoy doing and possibly start a side business in analyzing data.
In my career research, I found that to start in data analytics you should be proficient in Excel and SQL (Structured Query Language). Excel had been haunting me for a few years. In the past, I purchased Excel tutorials and never started or completed them.
I started searching for schools where I could get trained in analytics. I looked for a short program and I found a three-month boot camp specific to data analytics. This program would train you in data analytics and become a Microsoft SQL BI Developer. Classes are twice a week, and you have to put in 20 hours extra a week at home, doing projects and required assignments. I plan to start in the spring of 2019.
In my preparation for the data analytics boot camp, in the next 6 months I am pursuing certifications in Excel and learning SQL. I found an Excel training course, the Excel Master Diploma, through IACT (International Academy of Computer Training). In this course you have to complete seven Excel certifications and submit an Excel project to receive your Excel Master Diploma.
I got the course on Groupon for $39, the course value is $999. When you complete the video modules, you take the test for free and then you will get your certification once you pass. You have to get an 85% or higher. You have choice to do the course in Microsoft 2010 or 2013 for the Groupon deal. I believe they have Excel 2016 on the IACT website.
Below are the list of Excel certifications:
- Excel Apprentice Certification
- Excel Associate Certification
- Excel Specialist Certification
- Excel Profession Certification
- Excel Expert Certification
- Excel Architect Certification
- Excel Developer Certification
So my current situation is I am finishing my last class, World Missions Today, writing my thesis and just going for it in Excel certifications. I’ll figure the SQL training after I complete the Excel program.