The data industry needs you!
More than 120 women applied for the “Women in Data” scholarship. 50 of them received one of the coveted scholarship places for the Data Analyst course at StackFuel. And unfortunately, it’s true: the data industry is still predominantly male. Just one-sixth of data experts are female, with a negative impact on business, development and research. The COVID-19 crisis has been particularly detrimental to women’s career advancement. This is exactly where the StackFuel and Telefónica scholarship should have a positive impact and qualify women for data professions and make them fit for the future with data skills.
Women in Data: How winner Andreea became a data analyst | StackFuel
Women in Data: Have you ever wondered if you would be a good fit for a new career as a Data Analyst? Andreea did and talks about the experience in this interview.
Congratulations on winning the “Women in Data”-scholarship! What can you tell our readers about yourself and your career path?
Thank you! My name is Andreea Buteata. I was born and raised in Romania and I’ve been living in Germany for the past 10 years. I’m currently an Inside Sales Representative at Ansys, a simulation software company and my daily job is generating and qualifying inbound sales leads. I can say that I’ve always been a little undecided when it comes to my career. I always felt like I could do everything and nothing at the same time. Maybe that’s rooted in my educational background. I did my bachelors in a mix of sociology, psychology, political science and media. So, I never really had to pick just one thing. My career background is more traditional in sales and I gained a bit of management experience along the way too.
What changes did 2020 and 2021 bring your life and career?
Probably the same changes that they brought for everyone. I’d just switched jobs in 2020. So I had only worked in my new office for about a month before we all had to work from home. That brought a lot of challenges in itself. The major one was the fact that I was working from my living room desk and I have been doing that for the past one and a half years. I had to set up my own goals and work more independently than ever before. I miss the coffee break talk with colleagues, the little office interactions, and just getting to know the people you work with, even though you may not be working on the same project.
Did you encounter other hurdles that you had to tackle along your career?
A really big hurdle has been sexism in the workplace. I’m really lucky enough not to have that problem at my current workplace but it has been the case in the past. I’m not sure what changed, maybe I changed in the sense that I’m now able to really believe my feelings and to speak up when something bothers me. That has been something that has helped me, but it was such a difficult process getting there. I realized that what I was feeling wasn’t just an overreaction. I really started to trust my own judgment. This is still a super emotional topic for me and I wish I had the perfect magic solution that would help everyone who is facing these kinds of situations.
Where did your interest in working with data originate?
I wish I could say that I’ve always been interested in data, but that’s really not true. What first piqued my interest was my previous job. Our global head of marketing was paying us a visit and one day we came to talk. Somehow he then started showing me all the cool things that you can do with the data that we had available. So, we got into forecasting a little bit and we looked at the story this data can tell us and how to get into the finer details with it and how you can actually make business decisions based on that data story. That was fascinating! After he left, I tried to do it on my own. And now I’m really happy that I get to explore that even more. Something I would really like to learn in the “Women in Data” scholarship is how to take a step back and gain a wider perspective.
Speaking of the scholarship: How did hear about the scholarship and what convinced you to apply?
Actually, one of my friends sent me the ad. She knew that I was interested in data analysis and she asked, ‘Why don’t you give it a go?’ And I said, ‘Sure, why not? Let’s do it. I’ve got nothing to lose.’ A little voice inside of me said that I wasn’t going to get it. But I thought it was a great opportunity and I’m really excited to do a proper course and learn about data analysis. When you read it and realize that this scholarship is for women in data, it makes you feel so cool, like you belong. I’m a woman and I want to work with data. I was even thinking, that if I don’t get the scholarship, I’m just going to try to pay for the course myself somehow and just do it the year after. I still feel a little privileged that I was able to apply for this scholarship and able to do the course. I think other people have a harder time making this switch. That’s why it is so important that an opportunity like this exists. When we had the introductory meeting, there were so many women with such different backgrounds, young women, older women, some of them had children. That was really great to see! I’m hoping that this course will allow me to find other people who are as excited and nerdy about data as I am. Professionally, it’s giving me the chance to explore this kind of path but sometimes there is the question whether I will be able to do it or whether I am really going to enjoy it at the end of the day. So, I’m exploring and if I enjoy it, I’m hoping that it’ll open some doors for me career-wise. But there’s nothing set in stone yet.
Do you have any fears about working with data, programing and mathematics?
Yes, I am a bit afraid, even if it’s a little silly, but it’s there. But doing this course is part of overcoming my fear, because doing something that you’re afraid of is often also a great opportunity. I was raised with this idea that one person is good at languages, someone else is good at math. I focused more on math and computer science in high school, but it wasn’t something that I felt passionate about. So, I didn’t always feel like I could also be good at other things. Now I think to explore is a great thing and that this is my choice is what’s helping me overcome the fear. It’s okay to be afraid of something, but then you should just go ahead and do it anyway. That’s why participating in this course is part of a bigger process for me.
What do you think is holding other women back from going in the same direction as you?
There isn’t an easy answer to this question because I really don’t want to generalize. I think we’re all individuals and so our struggles are different. What I’ve found challenging is that I felt that once you choose a career path you have to stick with it and not switch to something else. I’ve always admired people who were able to do that. To me, that didn’t feel like an easy thing to do. You have to start over from scratch. But I’m convinced everyone can do it. What helped me was asking myself what gives me pleasure in a workplace and what am I excited about and to follow that. I haven’t yet completed this process successfully, but that motivated me to look in places where I would not have looked otherwise.
Which steps do we still have to take as a society and in our professional lives to support gender equality?
For me, speaking up in situations where I feel uncomfortable has been the most empowering thing, even if other people think that it’s wrong or that you should stay quiet. That’s been my number one thing that I had to learn in the past few years. I’m involved with the Women in Technology Group and it’s a great project because you get to network with other women in the industry. I think getting in touch with other women and supporters of women in your workplace is super important. I’m also working on something that’s meant to make female role models more visible, because I didn’t have a lot of them when I was growing up. At least not in the technology field or career-wise. I think it’s important to increase that visibility. We’re all biased because we were raised in the same kind of unequal society. That’s why we should always keep asking ourselves ‘how am I biased, what is it doing to me? Why do I see things the way that I see them and how can that be different?’ It’s a small exercise that you can do just for yourself and be really honest to yourself and take it from there.
How to become a data analyst
We firmly believe that all women should have the same opportunities to pursue a career as a data analyst. Whether you think you’re disadvantaged or not, whether you’re already working in a data-related environment or changing to a new career, we’ll give you the chance to hone your data skills and shape your career path.
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