My Journey as a Data Analytics Apprentice: Changing the Independent Variable with Maia Slidel
– Maia Slidel, Data Science Analyst I, London, UK
In three years at Expedia Group (EG), I’ve achieved more in my career than I ever thought possible. I completed my Data Analyst Level 4 Apprenticeship with a Distinction, secured a full-time role at EG, and my confidence has soared. Although the journey to get here wasn’t straightforward, it led me on a path that truly suits my strengths and ambitions, and I’m excited for what’s next.
Choosing The Right Path
Like many Apprentices, I grappled with the challenge of finding the right path. When I think back to the start, I’m reminded of my pursuits toward a career in medicine – the late nights struggling to find enjoyment in studying Organic Chemistry and the feeling of dread at the thought of leaving home to start at university. It was only a few weeks before my university course was due to begin when I made the decision to seek a different path.
It wasn’t straightforward, however, I had the burning question, “Where should I start?”. I was a visual and practical learner; I enjoyed the content of my UK A-level subjects (except Organic Chemistry of course), but I struggled to conceptualise it, and knew university would bring similar challenges. So, I took a step back and thought about my strengths, career aspirations, and what I truly enjoyed doing. I craved continuous learning but in an environment that resonated with my learning style.
After some research, I stumbled upon Multiverse, an Apprenticeship provider offering a range of qualifications, with connections to companies seeking Apprentices. It was the perfect fit for my aspirations – an opportunity for on-the-job, practical learning, in a real-life work environment. This way I could pursue my career goals in a way that truly suited me, plus I’d gain a formal academic qualification alongside hands-on experience: the best of both worlds.
Adding Up The Numbers
The moment I discovered the Data Fellowship Program, I knew it was the right fit for me. Despite not having a strong background in maths, I drew inspiration from a few tech-savvy individuals in my life who encouraged me to explore the world of analytics. Data fascinated me, and I was eager to understand how it fits into the world around us. I started by researching more about data analysis and enrolled onto online ‘Intro to’ Python and SQL courses, like Code Academy. It wasn’t a prerequisite for the Apprenticeship, but it was a great taste for what was to come; I learned that I loved to unpack complex problems and extract meaning from datasets. With the programme decided, I just needed the role to match it.
How Does An Apprenticeship Work?
The Apprenticeship structure I had involved dedicating 20% of my time to “off-the-job” activities, including boot camps and online sessions by Multiverse. This time was crucial for building a portfolio that showcased major work projects, aligned with industry standards, and applying my Apprenticeship knowledge to real-world scenarios. During the remaining 80%, I worked at EG as a Product Analyst, handling tasks like helping to design and review A/B tests, communicating results, addressing ad hoc analytics requests and collaborating with Product Managers to drive impactful decisions about improving the traveller experience.
Balancing Work And The Program
Balancing my role as a Product Analyst at EG with the demands of the Apprenticeship Program was initially daunting, but with the support of my line manager, Multiverse Data Coach, and some effective time management, I found my rhythm. Connecting with my teammates and other Apprentices in my cohort played a significant role – knowing I had a support network empowered me to ask questions and seek out learning resources, fearlessly.
The Journey Continues
Completing my Apprenticeship opened doors to even more opportunities. I remained in the Shop and Book Product Analytics team for a few months before opting into a temporary rotation in the Data Visualisation team; an opportunity explore and deepen my knowledge in an area of data that truly fascinated me. The nine months working with experts in the field and contributing to the team’s outputs enriched my skillset and broadened my horizons even further. I even had the incredible opportunity to travel with the team and connect with my colleagues in India, an unforgettable experience that not only added depth to my journey but also marked a significant milestone as I continued to grow beyond my Apprenticeship.
While my career journey has only just begun, I’m amazed at the transformation that has taken place since the Organic Chemistry days! Joining the Apprenticeship Program at Expedia Group was a life-changing decision, and it has led me to such a fulfilling path that aligns with my strengths and passions. All it took was changing the independent variable of my career equation!
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