My Path into a Career in Data Science

I was 10, a standard four pupil by then when I started to figure out the meaning of life; not in the sense that I wasn’t alive but what I truly needed to continue living, discovering my purpose. We were at the time living with my late grandmother (may she continue resting in eternal glory). She had cultivated a spirit of resilience and responsibility in us (my siblings and I). Then there is my mother, who would always keep us busy by giving ultimatums – else we would pay the price for disobedience.

At the onset of this character formation, we didn’t appreciate our guardians’ efforts because childishness was at its brim- fooling us that we would be smarter by playing trickery. Fortunately, I discovered the value my guardians were trying to instill in us and I truly accord them the credit for showing me the critical virtues of life: hard work, resilience, and responsibility- which have defined me to date.

A lot happens at  elementary school. Most dreams are choreographed at this stage, mine was no exception. When teachers would ask us what we wanted to become, I took it seriously, convinced that education would determine my future. Additionally, what I had learned or was taught in my childhood extensively modeled my life at elementary school. There is so much influence from what happens around us on the decisions we make: I consider it a blessing to have grown in an environment with both good and bad examples from which I valuably learned. For instance, I did witness some of my classmates become what their parents never wished for them. A sad reality, but it taught me to become better. 

As I transitioned to high school, I knew that it was my last chance to make or break my future. There was no room for taking chances; I just had to exploit my wits. I wouldn’t say I was a perfectionist or intelligent kind, but at least I knew where I was going. Had I lost touch with the future I anticipated, I would have become a disgrace to my village (it does have exaggerated expectations for high school graduates) – if not my family. My goal was obviously not to please society; what counted was what I intended to become. And I did.

Then comes my last leap to the start of my career- enrolling in a university. My experience in university was phenomenal; I had freedom- that alone made life interesting at the time. It was upon me to beat all odds in this socially influential environment to actualize my dream.

With all the excitement that came with joining the university, I started experiencing doubt over the course I was taking. I cannot say that I disliked or liked it at first, I was still trying to figure it out. But at least I had made it to campus; that feeling itself made everything enjoyable and less stressful. 

Within my first and second year on campus, I was figuring out what my course would have me become. We soon got into programming – that stamped my career. I vividly remember the joy I had when I executed my first simple C++ calculator program. Please take my word for it! I could feel a breeze of success. For sure, that was a life-changing experience; it defined what I was to become in my career- ‘a tech guy’.

That’s the snapshot of the grounding data of my life.

As I was completing my 4-year Bachelors’ Degree in Mathematics and Computer Science, I sincerely was not absolutely confident in my tech skills. I knew I was somehow good enough to be hired but with reservations about what the recruiter would demand. I however familiarized myself with  Web Development and Java Desktop Applications; of which most of my coursemates were not well versed. Truth be told: generally, our education system does not offer so much when it comes to acquiring technical skills; you have to sweat it out by yourself to make your career. I only speak from my personal experience, I’m sure there are others with the same tale.

Having graduated, I was over-ambitious, my mind fooled me that IT graduates never struggle to find a job. With both an IT and statistics background, I felt like I am already hired before even I searched for a job! It was an outright overambition. I waited; 11 months after graduation I got the first job in SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and Joomla CMS administration. It was good news.

“Why don’t you enroll for Masters?” A thought came to me at the peak of the 2nd year in my first job. I honored the thought; at least I had a single reason to: I would become more marketable. 

Data has built my experiences, helped me grow myself, and challenged me to always recall “You are not yet there”. I have learned to collect the broken pieces, mend and reinforce them. My career journey has been inspired by embracing the reality of what the world is demanding. So much is happening; I am always feeling like I am being left behind by the speedy digital revolution- it is a race for the swift. We all got to be data-minded!

Data composes life; everything happens using or to give data. When you understand data, you know the decisions to and not make. Most critical failures and breakthroughs in life are data-oriented, rarely are they by chance.

The reason businesses are upholding the use of data is because data endures more than even the technologies and people that support it. Data makes life and lasts longer than life itself.

Data is neither new nor does it age!