August 17, 2018
How to forge a career in analytics: 5 tips for career resilience
By: Swati Handa

When I joined Accenture as a Technology graduate 10 years ago, I always knew that this journey was going to be an amazing roller coaster ride, which will have its own share of excitement, happiness and tough times. It was my dream company and nothing could have been better to begin my Corporate career with my first choice.

Newbie at Accenture 10 years ago

I can laugh about it now but, at the end of first year itself, I had my first setback when I was rated “below” in the performance assessments. The lowest rating you can get. I was completely shattered but thankfully it had nothing to do with my work quality. Back in those days, performances were rated on a Bell Curve and as I had joined the project late, I was scored low for chargeability. However, this led me to think should I leave Accenture or if the corporate world is the right career choice for me.

So I toughened up and realised that I am at the right place and this was merely my first real lesson in early resilience. I am the one who needs to know how I can progress and self-drive my career in the right direction. This learning has stood to me for the next 10 years.

Triumph and new beginnings

From then on, things really changed. In the next two years I got the top rating, two back-to-back promotions, and several awards - including one for excellence.

A Digital Data Engineering Manager now with Accenture

I started as a Junior Software Engineer and now I am Digital Data Engineering Manager with Accenture working on varied and interesting analytics projects. I have been part of projects ranging from digital product delivery, data strategy, business consulting, visual and data analytics and much more. I wish to continue this exploration further to all upcoming areas like artificial intelligence, blockchain etc.

Rugby Australia experience

Talking about the different clients I have worked with, one of the most interesting projects was for Rugby Australia. It was my first sports analytics experience. We helped the players, coaches and sports scientists behind the Wallabies gain deeper insight into their team’s health, performance and training; using data visualization. Visualization was a way for them to easily interpret and learn more about the players, so they could get the best talent in their teams, including now for the Wallabies, Wallaroos and Men’s and Women’s Sevens teams.

And now that work is going so well, and working on exciting projects such as this – I often think back to that temporary setback and how glad I am that I didn’t let it define my future.

Building resilience at work

Here are my 5 tips for building resilience at work.

  1. Don’t let a setback break your heart
    My parents always told me whatever you do in life you have to give one hundred percent. There will be many ups and downs, and there have been for me. But you can’t let them break your heart. If you are patient and work hard it will pay off. I definitely feel it has paid off so far.

  3. Learn to say ‘no’
    People often work until all hours of the night but I feel working that late is not healthy. It’s also not showing you’ve done a good job in your defined hours. I’ve struggled with this myself in the past but you have to learn to say no. Develop your communication skills so you can present your case beautifully and say no without offending the person in front of you.

  5. Have an interest that’s just for you
    Spend 30 minutes to an hour doing something not related to your work or family responsibilities. For me it’s listening to music. It totally removes the stress of the day.

  7. Do something you’re passionate about
    This is so important. I’ve seen people who come to work and get bored very easily. If you’re not passionate about what you’re doing, your mind isn’t clear and you don’t have what’s needed to get the job done. If you’re not interested in what you’re doing, you’re wasting your time.

  9. Don’t get pigeon-holed
    Never stop learning. You can self-drive your career very quickly if you want. One of the biggest career changes I’ve ever had started when I spent a month self-learning data visualization in my own time. Now I’m one of the most sought-after visualization resources in Australia and New Zealand. It completely changed my work. I started out as a data resource but today, moved to visualization and now, I want to change again and move more into data science, so I’ve joined a customer marketing team. You can’t be just tagged as one skill set. You have to explore and improve yourself all the time. Nobody is going to stop you.

Explore and improve yourself all the time

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