Lluvia Meneses moved across a continent, began a new life in a new language, and expanded her family, but there was another challenge she planned to take on. She loved finding meaning in numbers, and she hoped to resume her career as a Data Analyst (DA). It took a lot of dedication, but in 2021 she graduated with her BCIT Applied Data Analytics Certificate (ADAC). Lluvia shared her story with us, both the ups and downs, because she hopes it will inspire others to follow their passion.
Discovering a love of data
Lluvia’s journey with data started by accident. She was working in an administrative role in the food industry.
“It started with curiosity about some excel reports – I was intrigued,” she explains. “But at the time, with my limited data knowledge and expertise, they meant very little.”
Lluvia became a liaison between the functional and technical sides of the company. She learned the business end-to-end, and developed the ability to translate business goals and issues to the IT department, and bring back insight to inform the organization. It was work she loved.
Yet after starting a new life in Canada, Lluvia wasn’t able to work with data for almost a decade. “Crunching numbers, working around descriptive analytics, and developing data visualizations – I missed all of that,” says Lluvia. But she worried that she’d fallen behind. “I thought the profession had evolved so much that it would be impossible for me to catch up. I had to start over.”
Investing in herself through Flexible Learning
It was daunting to restart a career. “I was afraid to invest money, time, and effort in resuming my career as a data analyst. It was easy to think of excuses: no time, no money, no skills,” she admits.
Overcoming the obstacles, Lluvia enrolled in her first part time BCIT Computing class, appreciating the flexibility of studying evenings and weekends while working.
“Have I looked back? Yes, many times!” Lluvia admits. “What kept me going was my desire to be able to tell stories with numbers.”
Facing her own challenges one by one, Lluvia realized that even the most experienced professionals are still figuring things out as they go along. “Even when my strengths were not necessarily with coding or any other sophisticated programs, I found a space in the DA world.”
Lluvia’s advice? “Set your Data Analytic goals. Start today. Start with just one course. If you are already in the journey: build one more skill, learn one more coding program, take one more certificate…challenge yourself everyday.”
“What kept me going was my desire to be able to tell stories with numbers.” – Lluvia Meneses, BCIT Applied Data Analytics Certificate Alumna
Living the dream
After making her way through her program, Lluvia clinched a role that allows her to do the work she once missed.
“What I have enjoyed most in this profession is to support decision-makers with graphs, stories, and meaningful analysis,” she explains. “In my current role, part of my responsibilities include creating visuals that trigger valuable conversations.”
She takes a lot of pride in the analysis she’s done that underlies company decisions, and she knows she’s making a difference.
Three skills that help the data analyst: By Lluvia Meneses
Curiosity: Key to being a Data Analyst is asking questions. I try not to assume or leave gaps of information. Clarify every number and concept in all repots and dashboards – you can never ask too many questions. Also use your curiosity to learn about the need of others. You can never go wrong on this one, it will make you a sensitive DA.
Creativity: A good DA looks at information in a way that nobody else has. Creativity is needed in all the processes involved in Data Analytics: eliciting information, gathering requirements, transforming information into data, building a database, and presenting your findings. Creativity has done wonders for me in this Data Analysis world, especially when I find myself in an environment open to new and different perspectives.
Communication: For a Data Analyst this skill is the cherry on top. A favorite instructor once told us: “There is a story behind every number”. Make sure you know the story, but also make sure you are able to communicate it. Data Analysts used to be hidden in the back rooms of companies, but no longer. Today, DAs present their data and insights to others, and share rooms with decision makers.
Learn more about Data Analytics and Business Intelligence offerings at BCIT Computing, including courses on the latest visual data analytics tools offered over 6 or 12 weeks:
- COMP 2156: Intro to MS PowerBI – create data visualizations and dashboards
- COMP 3156: Microsoft PowerBI Optimization – fine tune and manage large data models and PowerBI Services
- COMP 3157: MS PowerBI Advanced Data Visualization – learn visualization best practices and how to manage dashboard development projects
- COMP 2256: Intro to Visual Analytics with Tableau – create and publish dashboards to industry standards