Earlier this month, I put up a post about how getting certified can help your career. However, while it is great to get the badges, certifications, or any kind of recognition, the piece of paper in your hand is, in fact, a challenge to yourself. It is proof that you jumped the hurdle, but it does not mean you are done with the race. No, for that you must do the unthinkable… get to work!
While it is impossible for me to say exactly what you will need to do, I only know that if you are good at something and it makes you happy, you must keep doing it. And that is what passion is all about, right? Put another way, if I was certified as a neurosurgeon, you would hope that I wouldn’t stop learning new things as soon as I got my degree. I would be so passionate about my career that I wanted to keep practicing and learning and growing. And while you, the analyst (or aspiring analyst), may be no neurosurgeon, you do have duty to yourself to keep at it. If you are passionate about Alteryx, SQL, R, Python, or any of the other analytical programming languages, you cannot allow yourself to get rusty.
One thing I learned as a student of music is to immerse yourself in the language. I had to learn not only how to play an instrument, but also the theory behind music, watch performances, meet with like-minded people, and *gasp* play music (both good and bad) in front of many, many different people.
Well, it is really no different if you are an analyst. You should be comfortable in the analytical language, learn new techniques & theories, review and comment on other people’s work, talk with like-minded people, and *gasp* share your projects (both good and bad) with the world if you hope to get better.
I feel like the last part of both of these past two paragraphs are the most difficult for a lot of people. No one wants to be told they’re terrible, they should give up, or any of the things that a normal self-conscious person feels when they go to get judged. However, I can assure you putting yourself and your work out there is where the most learning will happen. You will get people commenting on things you didn’t think about, or they will talk about new and interesting ways to perform a similar analysis. And no one actually says those mean things that you’re so worried about anyway. If they do, they are not worth your time.
So, here is my recommendation those that put in the work to get the certification… put in the work to keep the certification. Join in the discussions, mentor others, test your knowledge of the tools daily. You can start by reading analytical articles, reviewing someone else’s analysis, or even trying your hand at a kaggle challenge.
Here are just a few resources I use daily to keep my analytical language alive:
- R-bloggers – Great for reading other people’s analyses, learning about new techniques, or discovering cool visualizations.
- Alteryx’s Community – Plenty of topics to learn about, data science blog, live training, weekly challenges. If you are using Alteryx, it is a must to be active within the community to get the most out of the tools!
- DataCamp – Great for R, Python, & SQL. They have their own community, daily practice, projects to work on, and even a mobile app so you can learn on the go!
- Twitter – Probably the best tool I’ve used to keep my analytical conversations alive. Share your experiences with like-minded people, see great analyses that others have done, and you can even discover more sites like the ones I have listed above to help you on your journey!
What are some of your favorite resources to stay sharp?