Case study

Data analyst — Mohamed Souare

Mohamed works for a company that provides business software to distributors selling promotional products online. Find out how studying for an MSc Data Science helped him secure the job

How did you get your job?

I graduated with a BA Economics from the Université Nongo Conakry in Guinea. I also have a degree in business and finance from Sheffield Hallam University and an MSc Data Science from The University of Sheffield Information School, which I completed in 2018.

I started sending my CV out to potential employers after completing my Masters dissertation project. I think the critical factor that helped me land my role with Customer Focus Software was being able to make my thesis relevant to the job. I was able to use my projects as 'proof points' of my capabilities.

What's a typical working day like?

My main responsibilities include building and maintaining internal reporting and dashboarding solutions to support managerial decisions. I also work closely with colleagues across operational functions to help define, select and reconcile key performance indicators (KPIs), investigate data quality issues and respond to ad-hoc queries.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

One of the greatest things about working as part of the analytics team is being able to try new and better ways of solving problems. As an analyst, this mind set brings a lot of joy to my daily tasks. I'm fortunate to work for a company that's so forward-thinking.

What are the challenges?

Our team uses both open source and proprietary tools depending on the business's needs. Although challenging, it's important to be constantly learning new software features in a fast-moving technical environment.

Is your degree relevant?

I'd worked previously in a data-related position, but my skill set was limited. My Masters studies at The University of Sheffield Information School equipped me with advanced tools and techniques to perform data analysis through the full cycle and understand the ethical and strategic implications of data-driven decision making.

The MSc focuses on information retrieval, data mining and visualisation, big data analytics and data ethics. It also offers networking opportunities with industry contacts, which is extremely important in this area of work.

How has your role developed and what are your career ambitions?

The past few months have been a really interesting learning experience. I've been involved in activities ranging from building some domain knowledge to creating and deploying my first dashboards on the company server. Our team has exciting and ambitious projects in the pipeline in areas such as text analytics to better understand our users' interests.

What are your top tips for others interested in data analysis?

Every organisation has its own requirements, so it's important to research the foundation skills and tools and then learn and practise them.

I also believe that it's important to:

  • get comfortable with communicating and partnering with others
  • develop knowledge of key statistical concepts and processes and understand the principles of presenting data
  • focus on impact-oriented outcomes that add value to decision making.

I also found attending local meet ups and connecting with people in the data community really valuable.

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