Turning New Data Skills Into A New Data Career

Turning New Data Skills Into A New Data Career

Data Skills - Data Career - Udacity

Yesterday, Udacity launched a new Data Scientist Nanodegree program for students with advanced programming and data analysis skills. It is the latest step in our mission to offer students multiple entry points to learn the in-demand data skills they need to enter the fast-growing world of data. The program joins our existing Data Foundations (for students new to data), Business Analyst (less technical, focused on analytics), and Data Analyst (more technically advanced) Nanodegree programs.

Graduates of our data science programs land exciting roles all the time. Today, we wanted to share the story of one of these amazing people: Arati Vaze. Arati is a graduate of the Data Analyst Nanodegree program. She recently landed a new role as a Search Language Specialist. This is a wonderful milestone for Arati, and represents a significant new stage in a journey that began in 1998. That was the year she married, left her physics lecturer job in India, and started a new life in San Jose, California. Today she is the proud mother of two teenagers, and she has an exciting career ahead of her.

Arati Vaze - Udacity - New Data CareerWhen Arati and her husband started a family, Arati chose to raise her children and didn’t look for a job in their new home. She loved her life. Time passed. Her children grew older. When they were teenagers at high school, Arati felt she had the time to explore a growing drive to return to the workforce.  

“I started looking at different options. I volunteered at a museum. Then I investigated taking some classes at a university. Then I found Udacity’s data programs, and they sounded perfect. There was flexibility in how you studied which fitted around my parenting responsibilities. And data analysis, with its need for analytical skills, felt like a great fit for my background in physics.”

She signed up to Udacity’s Data Analyst Nanodegree program and started studying.

Arati arranged her studies around her children’s schedules. When they went to school, she would set to work practicing Python and SQL programming skills, and tackling the program’s projects on data wrangling and data storytelling. The more she studied, the more her belief in her new abilities grew.

Arati updated her resume to present her new programming knowledge, and her experience analyzing data to uncover insights and produce solutions. She chose her best projects to showcase on her online portfolio—including her success using the NumPy and Pandas libraries to investigate a curated dataset. She started applying for a few roles.

When she received her first interview offer, Arati thought she still had to face her greatest challenge. After nearly 20 years out of the workforce, she worried about the experience of talking with recruiters face-to-face about her background and experience.

“My Nanodegree program was what gave me the confidence to even face the interview. It gave me so much to talk about. It meant I was able to show I was current in the workforce. I could talk about how I was actively pursuing new knowledge and adding to my skills. In the interview-setting, this felt just as important as being able to point to the specific programming and data knowledge I’d built.”

Arati’s confidence and determination to keep learning certainly impressed the recruiters. They offered her the job and she has been working as an Search Language Specialist for a company close to her home since early this year. So far, she’s loving it! She feels like she’s learning something new every day.

“Right now, I’m just really happy that things went smoothly—from deciding to do the Nanodegree program, to graduating, to finding my job. I’m still adjusting to all the new things I’m doing—it really is a big shift to go back to work after so long! But I’ll definitely keep learning more about data. In the back of my mind, I already want to find some new datasets and get my hands dirty learning new things!”

Well done on finding your new job, Arati! You showed grit and independence to take on the challenge of your Nanodegree program, and you did it while continuing your parenting responsibilities. Then you landed a fantastic new job by being proactive and demonstrating your readiness to add new in-demand skills to your resume. Congratulations!