Hastings’ partnership with Women in Data offers great opportunities for our colleagues who work in, or aspire to work, in data. We value the expertise of our data professionals, yet we recognise we need to do our part to bring more gender balance to the industry.
Our colleague Lolene, Principal Analyst in the MI Analytics and Reporting Team tells us more about her career in data.
I didn't plan a career in data
When I chose a university degree, I never imagined that I would be working with data. I graduated with a BCom degree in Industrial Psychology and Marketing in 1992. I gained some life experience and then went back to college in 2000 for a Comprehensive programming diploma.
I took a career break and found an unexpected talent for learning new technologies
At the beginning of my career I focused on gaining experience related to my BCom degree, working in a variety of different roles in labour relations, training, human resources and marketing. I decided to take a career break to travel - this was a watershed for me. I found that I had a talent for learning new technologies and had an affinity for writing programs and websites. I went back to college as a more mature, focused student to get a diploma in programming. I did well, and was recruited by a business intelligence company before I graduated. Business intelligence as discipline fitted like a glove - it allowed me to use my commercial degree and experience and combine it with data know-how to build my career.
I worked in South Africa for many years providing business intelligence solutions. I worked for banking, mining, manufacturing and marketing companies. In the UK I joined Atos Origin as a consultant, and later moved to Hastings Direct.
I have always loved puzzles and finding solutions to problems
Data is a creative field, where you constantly have to pull on all your experience both business and technical to solve problems and deliver value. Working with data and using data to answer questions, folds well into my love of problem solving!
It's important to raise the profile of women working in data
I'd like to see women getting the same recognition and remuneration as their male colleagues. I still see a lot of inequality especially in regards to representation in leadership and pay.
If you are looking to start a career in data, here are a few top tips:
- Go online and look at the kind of positions available in data
- Find several that looks really interesting to you. Extract the qualities and experience that they are looking for in candidates
- Talk to recruiters
- Once you have a clear idea, break down the gaps into manageable chunks and set goals accordingly
- Network, network, network!
- If you are still at college or university, get to know your lecturers. If they know you and opportunities come their way, they will know to recommend you as a candidate
- Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date and searchable
- Network with other colleagues in the same field as yourself
- Don’t burn bridges with colleagues from previous organisations
- Get training - if you don't know where in data you want to focus, look for a broad spectrum training course that teaches you a bit of everything
- If you are interested in a specific data discipline i.e. database administration or data science or Management information, focus on training in these areas
- Look for work opportunities that will build your resume in the right way. Don’t be afraid to start with an entry level position, if it will take you closer to your goals.
Join us: Check out our available roles.