We previously launched our series of Creative, Data, Marketing and Technology Career Workshops as part of our overarching mission to enable growth and to support individuals and businesses to achieve their ambitions. Commonly named as a challenge to growth is the ‘skills gap’ – one we are hoping our workshops will help to tackle on a local micro scale, one session at a time.
We have already committed to offering our workshops to students from Babbasa on a regular basis and from 28th March this year, we are collaborating with the Care Leaver Covenant – to also offer our Career Workshops to the young people they work with regularly in order to support their mission.
What the Care Leaver Covenant is about: All young people who leave care at 16, 17 or 18 are provided with statutory support, in the form of a Local Offer. This should include help in the transition to living independently; support with finding accommodation and with any costs of participating in education, training and employment.
However, in order to provide a greater level of support at this crucial stage during the transition of care leavers to adulthood, wider society also needs to play a part, which is where the Care Leaver Covenant comes in.The Covenant is a promise made by private, public or voluntary organisations to provide support for care leavers aged 16-25 to help them to live independently.
We are inviting groups of young people that are aspiring to a career within either Data, Technology, Creative or Marketing, offering 4 separate one hour hands-on workshops, which will be running in parallel.
Guided by one or a team of our specialist Recruitment Consultants, the sessions will provide advice on a range of career opportunities and avenues – with space to ask all the questions that participants have about their sector of interest. Our Consultants will also offer their support and their expertise to adjust and tweak CVs or Portfolios if the participants would like to bring them in.
We’re looking forward to it!
Next up, as part of our “Dive into Data” initiative, we aim to change the misconception about what it takes to break into and build a long-term career in the data industry. As part of this, we’d like to showcase the many avenues and routes, far beyond the perception that it’s all about being a genius in maths, engineering and science oriented qualifications and how data brilliance is also fuelled by creative and business orientated minds.
In this part of the series, we’d like to feature the background and career journey of Russell Welfare, Campaign Solutions Analyst at Nectar Loyalty – a brilliant example that shows how unconventional backgrounds can lead to dive into data as a career.
Our chat here, to feature a real life example. How to get into data and an example of how a career path within that field can unfold….
ADLIB: To summarise, what are your main responsibilities as a Campaign Solutions Analyst?
Russell Welfare: It is my job to deliver data to our eCommerce team as well as the data partners that we work with. I also work to develop new initiatives such as Digital Display and Social in-housing.
ADLIB: What’s your background, what has been your career journey so far leading you to where you are right now?
Russell Welfare: After graduating from university, I was unsure of what career direction to pursue, and any jobs relating to my Film Studies degree were incredibly hard to get into and required experience I did not yet have. I continued my university job a ASDA whilst I looked and ended up moving on to GAME after around 9 months of searching.
GAME was much closer to my interests and offered a career path that put me in contact with big and successful technology companies like Microsoft and Sony. Whilst there, I got involved in the loyalty program as well as working with Microsoft as part of their elite program. Part of this was working with data to drive loyalty and understand Microsoft’s position in console market.
Fortunately, I had a friend who was at Nectar Loyalty also working with data and knew that I was looking to move out of the retail environment and develop myself elsewhere. They put me forward for my current job role as a Campaign Solutions Analyst and I then began working with databases. This role has evolved over the past two years from simple campaign building to managing the data across 3 databases and other environments.
ADLIB: What attracted you to the data-focused part of marketing?
Russell Welfare: As above I mostly lucked into it really, if you had told me that I would work with databases 4 years ago I would never have believed you.
I guess one of the attractive things about working with data is the way it constantly evolves, especially in a post GDPR world – the way we use and handle data has become more important than ever before. Companies are always looking to find new ways of marketing and this is being driven by data, so it’s very fulfilling to be part of that decision-making process.
ADLIB: What do you see as the top 3 skills it takes to become a Campaign Solutions Analyst?
- Most of all, a strong desire to learn. When I started this role, I had no previous experience in coding or handling databases so I had a lot to learn and fast, Although I had strong support to bring me up to the standard needed, it required a lot of self-teaching and working through thousands of my own mistakes.
- I would say secondly, having prior knowledge of the industry you are going into, and if you don’t, teach yourself. Having worked with loyalty previously, I was able to understand the KPI’s behind what drove the business and what the data I was handling meant to them.
- Thirdly, have strong communication skills. The role sits between two business units and you can be approached by anyone, from the campaign management team to the directors around a specific data-based question. It’s an essential part of the job being able to communicate what the data shows with people who may not have any experience of data.
ADLIB: Any soft skills that are advantageous to this role in your opinion?
Russell Welfare: People skills – as I mentioned before are probably the most helpful, as well as being truly needed for your everyday job, it gives you a real support network within the company. In my experience I have found that profile within a company is what can help push you to learn new things and get you involved in the projects that drive and excite you.
Thanks for sharing Russell!
As part of our “Dive into Data” initiative, we aim to change the misconception about what it takes to break into and build a long-term career in the data industry.
As part of this, we’d like to showcase the many avenues and routes, far beyond the perception that it’s all about being a maths or science genius and how data brilliance is also fuelled by creative and business orientated minds. It’s about taking data, putting it into context and telling a story.
Specifically, we’d like to feature the background and career journey of Sam Berger, Digital Analyst at Shelter, a brilliant example that shows how unconventional backgrounds can lead to a career with data at the core.
Our chat here, to feature a real life example of getting into data and how a career path within that field can unfold….
ADLIB: To summarise, what are your main responsibilities as a Digital Analyst?
Sam Berger: It’s varied – but essentially I look after Shelter’s website analytics, providing teams with analytics and insights. This can be anything from tracking campaign success and event sign-ups, to monitoring how users engage with online help and web chat functionality.
ADLIB: What’s your career background and what has been your journey to lead you to this point?
Sam Berger: Like a lot of analysts I meet, I kind of fell into the role. I worked as a freelance theatre director for around ten years and during times when I wasn’t working I did various temp jobs where I would organise data sets in Excel. Through this experience I started doing analysis, and after a while found myself working as a full-time data analyst. One of the nice things about analytics work is that it is transferable across a wide range of industries, so I’ve worked for website publishers, architects, sporting organisations and now, a charity.
ADLIB: What do you like most about your job? How does it go “beyond” data?
The variety of work is always interesting, and the ability to surprise and challenge people is always fun. Beyond data, I am a big fan of design and making things look good – so I certainly take my time trying to make things looks as appealing as possible. I think this is important because often data can be seen as dry and uninteresting – good design does half the work in communicating your findings by engaging people from the outset.
ADLIB: Briefly, what does a “typical day” entail for you?
Sam Berger: I’m not sure a typical day exists! At my current job, we work within an Agile framework so there is always a stand-up first thing with the rest of the team. Typically, I’ll almost certainly be doing something in Google Analytics, PowerBI or Excel (sometimes all three!). There’ll usually be meetings with stakeholders at some point, and dealing with ad hoc requests are fairly commonplace too.
ADLIB: And finally, what do you see as the top 3 skills it takes to become a Digital Analyst?
- Mastering as many tools as your brain can hold in number one – as a starter I’d say you need Google Analytics, or something similar. GA Is great as it’s free and there is a seemingly endless supply of help articles, videos and forums out there for someone learning it.
- Secondly, I think being able to consider your analytics works from the end-user’s point of view is an often overlooked skill. People generally don’t care that you’ve spent two days trawling data lakes, and crunching huge sets of numbers – they want results that can help them in their job. Being able to put all that stuff aside and give simple, actionable results is key to being a good analyst…and make it look nice too, please!
- Finally, and perhaps a bit boringly, communication is a key skill for the analyst. This includes number two above, but also being able to make complicated processes and ideas compelling and meaningful is extremely important. Communication is also key at the outset of projects – being able to ascertain exactly what people are after, and ensuring everyone understands what you’re going to do and deliver back to them is a great way to ensure your time is used effectively and the work you do is as efficacious as possible.
Thanks so much for sharing, Sam!