Graduate Blog: Six Months As A Data Analyst

by Rachael Carpenter

Posted October 8 4 min read

How time flies! I somehow find myself at the end of my second rotation of the graduate scheme and my first year at CDK.  For me, one of the main benefits of the CDK International Graduate scheme is the rotations, as I can test out different roles. This helps me discover what I enjoy doing, and allows me to do something new every six months, which keep things interesting.

My second rotation has been a great example of the flexibility of the graduate scheme, even within a six month rotation, as my role has changed in line with the needs of the business and where I can add most value.

My objectives for my second rotation described the role of a project manager, with one line suggesting a side project to produce some statistics if I had the time. As time went on, I discovered that I enjoyed producing statistics and data visualisations much more than project management.  With a scientific and mathematical background, I also felt that producing statistics and data visualisations was something I could do a lot better than the more business focused role of project manager.

In my experience at CDK, especially for those of us on the graduate scheme, I have found that our managers want us to succeed and be happy in what we’re doing. This means that they will help as much as they can in finding other projects or roles that may be more suited to you – so long as you go about it in the right way. Here’s what worked for me:

1. Let your manager know what you’re interested in

From my first application to work at CDK, I expressed my interest in data analysis, which is probably the reason statistics were mentioned in my objectives in the first place.  From our first discussion of my objectives (if not before), my manager, Kirsty Jarvis, knew the statistics ‘side project’ was what I wanted to explore more of during my rotation.  During my previous role as a product owner I worked on data visualisations and I was able to give Kirsty a demonstration of these - further showing that this was what I wanted to do and hopefully that I was good at it!

From these discussions, Kirsty ensured that I was invited to any meetings in the business involving data analysis so that I could see other areas where I could apply my skills.

2. Speak up and get known

In the meetings I was invited to, I tried to make sure I was noticed (despite being naturally shy in these situations). For example in a demonstration of a new data visualisation software, when questions came up on how to display things, I shared my ideas (despite not being directly asked!). Whether or not they were good suggestions, this got me noticed, and showed that I had fresh ideas the business could use. As a side note, this has also led to other people in the business coming to me with all sorts of data problems, which could be a pro or a con depending on how you look on it!

3. Show, don’t tell

As my objectives included a side project involving data analysis and visualisation, I was able to show my skills in that area, and show (which admittedly did involve telling) Kirsty my ideas for what I could do if I had more time to spend on the project.  By proving that I am able to work in that area and produce results while it was only a side project, I was able to provide evidence that this was something worth investing my time into.

Through showing what I can do in the areas I enjoy – and having an excellent manager – I have been able to work on projects that really interest me, and that let me use my best skills to benefit the business. Word has also spread to my next manager so fingers crossed I can continue my journey at CDK working with data. Watch this space!

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