My Experience as an Iteration Insights Practicum Data Analyst

Practicum Student Experience

My professional career has been a balance of roles that has groomed me and made me realize how passionate I am about data. My longest job in tech was five years as a Data Analyst – Internal Audit in Lagos, Nigeria.

In this role, I gained experience with data extraction, analysis, and reporting for Risk Management. I used Excel, PowerPivot, and Power Query to present data for business decisions.

In 2019, I immigrated to Canada. I felt a strong need to grow professionally. I wanted to improve my data skills, soft skills, and learn new technologies for data handling and reporting.

I considered returning to school but worried about coping in a new country. Balancing cultural diversity and norms was a concern for me.

Thanks to a great support system, I was motivated and accepted that it was okay to be scared. I embraced the fear and used it to motivate myself. All this while keeping my eyes on the prize, becoming a successful Data / Business Intelligence Analyst.

I began researching courses to help me improve and work on a show-stopping portfolio project. My goal was to acquire in-demand skills for a future career in tech. After a while, a friend I spoke to about this referred me to SAIT’s Business Intelligence: Data Analytic and Reporting certification (BSN). I applied to the program and was accepted.

If you’re transitioning to a Business Intelligence career, I recommend this post on Data Analytics Programs in Alberta.

Challenges at SAIT

On May 4, 2020, I started classes with SAIT BSN Fast Track Program. It was a positive and comfortable learning experience despite coming with its challenges. During the pandemic, social amenities like daycares closed, making time management crucial.

It was hard separating school time and family time. However, with proper planning and the right mindset, eventually, I created a workable schedule that got me through this period.

As a SAIT student, I met new people from diverse backgrounds, who are now part of my close circle and network. Virtual classes ended in August 2020, leaving only the required 8-week practicum to complete.

The goal of the internship is to provide hands-on practice, real-life projects, mentorship, and career coaching. The whole experience ultimately leads to an enjoyable career.

The search for an actual company that would hire for my practicum proved to be very difficult. I faced many rejections, as tech companies often demand skills and experience that can be difficult for newcomers to possess.

Also, due to the ongoing pandemic, it seemed potential employers were reluctant to hire. Luckily, tech growth in Alberta led to funding and new relevant positions in Business Intelligence and Data Analysis.

Getting Hired by Iteration Insights

A few weeks into my job search, Joelle Mason (HR) reached out to me about the opportunity to start my Practicum with Iteration Insights.

During my time at SAIT, I had learned directly from Chris Sorenson and Tutu Hamid, who are a part of the Iteration Insights team. The opportunity to work with the company was the boost my career needed and an experience I was looking forward to having.

On October 5, 2020, I became a practicum student in Iteration Insights. Upon resumption, Joelle revealed that she had been part of the presentation of my final Power BI project at SAIT. She mentioned that she was impressed with my content and story-telling.

For all current and future students of the Business Intelligence & Reporting program, always give your best effort. Tackle each task with dedication and commitment.

Take on every challenge and get feedback from tech professionals with the desire to provide relevant value. This effort will be evident in the quality of your work and will not go unnoticed.

First Day with Iteration Insights

My first day at work went by seamlessly.

It started with being introduced to the team, who welcomed me and were supportive in helping me feel like a part of the team. During the floor walk (all COVID-19 good practice duly observed), I met the President of Iteration Insights, Chris Sorensen. He was very welcoming, and he encouraged me on my new journey.

My final stop was meeting the Head of HR to sign my documentation and contract. It was official!

I have started the next step to bring me closer to my career goal.

As Iteration Insights is a remote company, I was able to work from home with flexible time, which facilitated my learning process. This work environment was easy to adapt to as I had adopted this already from having my classes online.

In general, it was easy for me to have my workstation set up at home and ready to go.

My first team lunch.

How Iteration Insights Collaborates

A virtual meeting is part of the new norm.

My classes at SAIT were virtual through Microsoft Teams. Also, before I landed my role at Iteration Insights, I had a couple of interviews with future employers through Zoom.

Microsoft Teams is the official communication platform for my team and me. But, like anyone else, I initially struggled to settle into the flow.

Thankfully, everyone on the Iteration Insights team was open to assisting me in any way they could. It got easier daily for me, and I quickly adapted to my new work environment and teammates.

I had a very experienced mentor Emily Gu, who had a well-structured learning plan which included digestible lessons. She was always ready to help. I never felt left out or alone on my learning journey, and I am grateful for this.

My mentor and I had a great working relationship. This, I believe, contributed positively to my work experience and project-based learning path.

So far, I have loved being a part of this team. Each member is always ready to help and willing to provide resources and detailed feedback to assist me with my tasks and projects.

Collaboration and interactive learning are key parts of the culture here. We were able to connect as a team through the occasional Friday Virtual Happy Hour and a monthly collaboration meeting, Call of Data. These meetings gave us opportunities to share our work experiences and support each other.

The Environment at Iteration Insights

My team implements custom data architecture and reporting solutions. These support small to medium businesses.

These solutions clarify organizational performance and enable data-driven confidence. As part of my responsibilities, I have had to work on several projects that required DAX skills.

My teammates consistently provide guidance and share their knowledge throughout my learning process. Their direction has helped build my competence in my current job in tech.

Iteration Insights promotes lifelong learning for its employees. They offer in-house training, incentives for relevant certifications, and monthly one-on-one check-ins.

We aim to build a strong analytics community in Calgary. To achieve this, we run the Calgary Power Platform User Group and Azure Analytics User Group. These attract industry experts from around the world.

Conclusion

My practical work experience as a practicum student with Iteration Insights has been a memorable one.

I am even more enthusiastic about how much I can contribute to the forever-changing BI world and achieve tangible outcomes. I tell myself to take every day as a stepping stone and continuously work to improve my skills in my current position.

Despite facing challenges at the start of my journey and working on real business projects, I’m proud of my accomplishments and growth. These experiences have led to an enjoyable career as a confident Data Analytics Consultant.

Don’t miss your chance to thrive in the ever-evolving BI landscape! Connect with us at Iteration Insights. Together, we’ll harness our extensive industry expertise to propel you toward success. Let’s start a conversation today and unlock your full potential in the field. Reach out and talk with us – your future awaits!

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3 Comments

  • Great work. Quick question-How to become Certified Microsoft Data Analyst? I mean how many courses and exams you need to pass.
    Thanks

    Reply
      • Hello,

        I would like to know how long for you to secure a practicum at that time and if you are unable to secure one, how will the SAIT advisors help you on that? I am interested in taking that BSN program too.

        Reply

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Dammy leverages her professional background as an Auditor alongside knowledge gathered from the Business Intelligence, Data Analyst, and Reporting program at SAIT. She is a Certified Microsoft Data Analyst and loves providing Business Intelligence solutions to her clients.

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