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Why this aspiring data analyst is looking for a mentor

Recent MBA-MIS graduate Renee Biggs is set to take on a new career. Now, she writes, she needs some guidance from a women who's been there.

Women in tech. (Photo by Christina Morillo, used via Pexels)

This guest post is a part of Technical.ly's Women in Tech month.

This is a guest post by technologist and recent MBA-MIS graduate Renee Biggs.
Did you ever start learning a new skill and somewhere along your journey became unsure on how to accomplish your goals or overcome a roadblock? Have you questioned how someone gained success in their career?

If you answered yes to one or both of those questions, a mentor can be of value to you.

A mentor can be defined as an individual who is skilled in their respective subject and can give advice to others based on their personal experiences and knowledge. Under the guidance of a mentor, challenges and periods of uncertainty can be conquered and their support encompasses encouragement, motivation and accountability. The relationship between a mentor and mentee requires diligence from each individual and should not be taken lightly, which is why choosing a mentor is immensely important.

Finding a mentor can be intimidating. Seeking a mentor with whom you identify can add comfort to the process — you immediately have a common denominator. Women who aspire to be in the field of tech can look to women with experience navigating the field to share their success or failure stories.

Advice received from a mentor should be as specific as possible, which I believe can only be attained through relatable experiences. I’m sure we have all offered advice at a time and in response received “you don’t understand.” A female mentor is pivotal to the mentorship experience due to her knowledge in the gender imbalance world of tech and I think it will at best provide attuned guidance of familiarity to her fellow female tech community.

I’m looking for a woman who can provide guidance as I embark on transitioning into the field of data analytics.

As I pursue data analytics, I am now preparing myself for my future, which I believe includes having a female mentor.

I was first introduced to the study of technology in 2016 from my MBA program. A little late to the subject, I grew an immense interest in programming after building an e-portfolio site exercising the lowest level of HTML/CSS. Nevertheless, I was fixated on programming and spent the following summer completing a popular web development bootcamp on Udemy and concluded that web development was not for me, but I really enjoyed coding.

I enjoyed coding so much I decided to become a full-time student, completing the remaining 11 courses of my MBA program while working full-time (not sure how I survived) to begin pursing what was at that time an unknown career in tech. During that final year I was introduced to data analytics and knew immediately I wanted to continue studying the subject and begin strategizing how I planned to enter the field.

Beginning to learn a new skill without having a considerable amount of knowledge in that area can be daunting. When pursing a skillset in technology there are so many decisions to be made such as which programming language, resources to use, educational model (university vs. MOOCs) and etc., the list goes on. Researching your questions on the internet can sometimes complicate the decision-making process as you will find a supporting article for each question you ask. So, how do you decide which direction to follow? And once you establish your objectives and develop your strategy, believe me, the questions don’t end there.

I have decided to return to graduate school to study business intelligence and analytics — that was the most suitable plan for me. As I pursue data analytics, I am now preparing myself for my future, which I believe includes having a female mentor. Having the support of a female technologist to answer my many unanswered questions, share her experiences and provide criticism, guidance and support in times of uncertainty will be crucial to achieve success.

Looking for a mentee? Reach out to Renee Biggs at renee.bigs@gmail.com or @Naybiggs.

Series: Women in Tech Month 2019

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