If you had asked me 10 years ago whether I would have consider pursuing a career in data and analytics I would have said no way! Actually, if I’m being entirely honest, I wouldn’t have even acknowledged your question, I was 13, I would have grunted in stereotypical teenage style at the mention of any possible career paths and continued to ignore you over my computer game! Fast forward a few years to University, and believe it or not I had matured, philosophy was my first love, followed closely by politics. I was never into maths! So it was a surprise to me when I discovered my interest in, and began to enjoy statistics – I did not see that coming!
While studying I got involved in the Essex Challenge Project during my final year – a programme that Essex County Council (ECC) runs with the University of Essex to bring together multiple disciplines to tackle shared challenges. During the Challenge Project I met colleagues from ECC’s Data and Analytics team, they really inspired me, and I was excited to hear about the work they were doing within the profession of data and analytics to improve people’s lives. I learned that as a profession, data, analytics, and insight offers a unique opportunity to investigate and learn from the past to prepare for and shape the future. And in being introduced to ECC I realised I could have a career that combined all my interests, so as soon as I saw a role advertised for Junior Analyst I applied!
Since I joined ECC the opportunities for personal and professional growth within the Data and Analytics team have been excellent. I first connected with the Data and Analytics team as an Undergraduate in 2019, I joined the team as a Junior Analyst six months later, and within 18 months I was successfully promoted to an Analyst – I did not see that coming either!
I’ve thrived during my time here at ECC, thanks to the opportunities to learn new skills, gain different experiences, and work with such a wide range of experts in data science as well as some exceptional subject matter specialists. When I was a Junior Analyst I thought I was annoying everyone by asking lots of questions, however, not only was this approach encouraged but it fostered a culture of transparency and collaboration.
Career progression is supported within Data and Analytics, and during my time as a Junior Analyst I had opportunities to understand as much as I could about all the areas that we support and the roles that exist within the team. Learning takes places through formal training, shadowing, self-development, and group learning with our peers. And development goes beyond technical skills too because stakeholder engagement, research, communication skills are also vital in our role.
I believe that a strong Analyst should have a good understanding of what data is in the system, how to export it, how to manipulate it, how to analyse it and how to visualise and present it. Becoming an Analyst, I’ve been able to take responsibility for directing my skills development and pursuing areas of particular interest to me. I have been involved in data analysis, visualising, and publishing open data, and most recently data development. I'm currently focusing on expanding my skills and understanding in data development, as we plan to transfer all our internal data to the Azure platform to improve our data management and enable us to extend our analysis capabilities.
My work is so varied and interesting, from supporting emergency response requests, to enabling partners to unlock the potential of their data for the benefit of the whole county.
I have had so many wow moments during my time at ECC. Every time I see how the insight we produce enables colleagues to better understand communities within Essex, and target services so that they support our most vulnerable residents I am reminded of how impactful data analytics can be when it informs decision making. I'm passionate about my job because I'm working shoulder to shoulder with people that are passionate as well. When colleagues see the value in the insight that data analytics generates, and act upon it, it really makes my contribution meaningful because I’m part of a system that is improving people’s lives.
You can make a difference too – if you’re considering a career in data and analytics we are recruiting for a Junior Analyst and an Analyst right now. In my experience you could not find a better team to be a part of and we look forward to welcoming you!