Hi, everyone. I’m Jennifer from EntryLevel, and EntryLevel helps you learn and get experience so that you can get hired. So today I'm joined by Alexa, one of EntryLevel's previous students. And Alexa actually received a data analyst certificate with us a few months ago. So, Alexa, do you want to introduce yourself?
Thank you, Jennifer, for having me today. Hi, I'm Alexa, and I'm a self-taught data analyst currently on the journey of discovering purpose. I enjoy learning, so I've done a lot of learning in the past few months. I enjoy reading. I love reading self-development books. I love interacting with people, getting to share ideas, bounce information, and I just love connecting with people and mostly talking about data related topics. Actually, I think that's about me. And I'm currently in Nigeria because I think EntryLevel's students are from different parts of the world, so I'm currently in Nigeria. Thank you.
Thank you so much for the introduction. Alexa, you mentioned some books like Personal Development. What are some of your favorite books?
One of my favorite books is by John Maxwell. It’s on how successful people win. It’s a book is about how you should learn from your mistakes, how evaluated mistakes are actually like good learning platforms. Then you make a mistake, and then you get to ask yourself questions about the mistakes you've made, and then you learn from those mistakes and not repeat them again. That’s why I really loved because whenever I make a mistake, I used to feel down and feel like, oh, why am I making this mistake? I shouldn't be making this mistake. I pick myself up about it. After reading the book, I've come to realize that I actually have to make mistakes to get better.
That’s a very good takeaway, because I also hated making mistakes because I felt like I had to do everything right. But sometimes in the workplace, I noticed that people are fine with you making mistakes as long as you learn from it, so it doesn't happen again.
Thank you for sharing that. I’m excited to learn more about you and your story. So, my first question for you is, what was your learning journey like?
Learning journey for me has been filled with a lot of ups and downs, a lot of motivation and bending motivation, push and stop. I just becoming really consistent and disciplined in my whole learning journey, and it's even thanks to the self-development books, because along my learning journey, I have also taken time to learn about myself and become a better person. So, my journey started officially, and I started with some academic courses after I've done my research on data science and data analytics. So, I started with some reading courses, and I did one on Excel. I did another on Python. She thought just one course wasn't being enough to learn all I had to learn, but I was wrong. And after learning with Udemy, I felt that I actually didn't really learn much. And then I saw EntryLevel. EntryLevel was like the first official training I did. And I took the data analytics level one I think was level one for level two, right? And level one actually made me feel confident working with Excel, pivot charts, Pivot tables, sorting, filtering, getting to learn how to actually use Excel to analyze data. I actually fell in love, really in love with data analytics from that first training. And I think I actually recommended to some of my friends who are also on this journey with me. And from there that was July, and then after that I took the level two that was on SQL and Tableau, and I got to really learn more on data analysis and build upon my skill set. And after level two, I enroll with UTiva (?). I also applied for financial aid for Google Data Analytics Professional course and courser, I took that for some months, I think three, four months. And I got a certificate in May this year. I also got two certifications from you guys. Currently I have six certifications and data analytics how much I love to learn. Whenever I go like a week, some days without learning, I feel so uncomfortable. For me. Learning is living. You actually have to keep learning as long as you're alive. And after that, I'm actually currently on another certification program with you. I’m about to wrap it up, actually, and I think that's my learning journey. It has been my learning journey so far
Wow, did you say 6 certificates?
Yeah. And that's a one year certificate.
That's amazing. How long did all of that take you overall?
For all the certificates, I would say one year. One year really spaced because I was working, so one year.
Okay, that's awesome. I’m actually wondering about how your study habits are because you mentioned discipline earlier and it's like, wow, six certificates in a year are a lot. So, what were your study habits like? Do you have any advice for me?
When I start a course, I go through the course content, the hours dedicated to each module of the course, and then I try to write a timetable. I usually make use of noting app to write the amount of hours I want to spend in a particular module. Sometimes I use more than the estimated time, but then I still make up for it. I try to read every week, minimum like five days in a week. I have resting days two times a week, so I don't get burnt out. Even if it's just something new. I try to learn like almost every day. There’s no big difference by it. I do not learn something new.
That’s so inspiring. How do you balance learning almost every day and also posting on your Twitter?
Sometimes it gets overwhelming, but what makes it okay is the fact that the things I put on my Twitter are some things that I've learned in the past and I've documented them. It’s just easy for me to just type them out or even copy from where I've typed it and post it. When I link, I like to gather documents, I like to gather information. And I think I posted earlier on my Twitter how I have over 200 classes. I just got that because I planned to study data analytics. So that's one thing I do. I just keep my information for when I need them in the future.
Wow, that's amazing. That not only did you take all the notes and keep information, you also shared them with other people.
Yeah, because I thought that during my journey, I wasn't in a data community. I didn't have access to direction and resources. That’s what I'm trying to do with my Twitter account. I’m trying to help New database, analytical newbies. Find yourself, find your stopping on time without having to go through the whole feeling and standing and standing. I just want them to be able to know this is the right part. As long as you're disciplined and dedicated, you would actually grow fast and start working on time.
That is so inspiring. I love what you said about as long as you are disciplined, you can grow fast. I think for a lot of people, it can be kind of confusing. You’re not sure if what you're doing is correct. So having a data community is really helpful for that validation to know that they just have to keep going. I do know you're part of a data community. Do you want to recommend places that Data newbies can go to for guidance?
Yes. I actually always recommend the community because since I joined, it has been like a blessing. It’s all about data community. We have a Discord channel, we have a Facebook channel and a Twitter community channel as well, so they can join any of these channels. There are data professionals at different levels that actually are dedicated to helping out data newbies. And there are firms for people taking different courses, such as the Google Data Analytical course, the IBM course, university Data Analysis and Degree. There are different groups, so you can easily find an accountability partner on your journey. That’s why I always recommend this community.
That’s perfect. So you said it was on Discord Twitter and then also a Twitter group?
Yeah. Discord, Twitter and Facebook. Facebook.
That's amazing. I know for EntryLevel, we have a cohort for our data program and you can join the Discord and talk to people there. I think all about data is outside of EntryLevel, so there's like Facebook and Discord because I know some people might have issues with doing Discord with the phone verification. So it's lovely that you have all these options.
I just want to add that the first time I used this Discord app was during the EntryLevel training. I was really confused initially with the app for over time, I just got so comfortable using it and I've been using it ever since then. Oh, and all about data discord. Yeah, it's quite similar to the same one with EntryLevel.
Yeah, I think there's a channel for like movies and games too, which is really fun and fitness’, and book reviews’, that's amazing. So I'll leave a link to the All About Data community in the Show notes so for everybody listening, don't worry, you can just check the show notes with a link to that resource. And now Alexa, I have another question for you. So you mentioned you love learning a lot, so I’m wondering about your plans for the next few months. What are your goals for the next few months?
My plans actually complete this financial analyst training started a while back or I had to drop it and pick up another course. So I actually plan to complete that. I actually just shared it on my Twitter actually. And aside from that, I want to get the Microsoft Power Bi data certification as well. Trying to take the exam very soon and get certified with Microsoft BA. Aside from that I started applying to internships. For internships I'm applying for entry-level jobs. So I want to not just lend but also start applying the skills that lends as well. And then I also plan to get active in terms of freelancing, I plan to utilize my accounts with Upwork and five or more and start working on more data projects.
That’s awesome. You mentioned working earlier, so I was wondering, do you recommend working and freelancing alongside doing your training and learning or would you recommend doing it separately?
I think it depends on the individual. If you're able to handle your time, if you have good time management skills and planning skills, then you'll be able to figure out the amount of work you can put in your learning freelancing and your actual job for you to actually do a self evaluation and determine if you can achieve balance them all.
That makes sense. Did you know that EntryLevel has a job search workbook?
Yes, I've seen it before. I think I got emailed it one time. Oh yeah, you can fill in your skills, you can fill in the skills that you have and look at the ones that you midyear, I think one of my LinkedIn post was on that workbook. It was featured in the workbook.
Oh, yeah, I remember that. Perfect. So that kind of brings me to one of my last questions for you, which is what advice would you have for other students? And this could be like for a data Newbie.
Okay, so for Data Newbie, my first advice would be to go read my article on Medium where I address it to all Data Newbies. And aside from that, I just want to say everyone's journey is different, right? Someone can start today and in three months they have learnt and mustered all the skills required. And so I start at the same time. I still need, like, six months, up to a year to actually learn and understand. So I want to say your journey is different. Stop comparing yourself to others. I know others might be posting their work out there, posting your portfolio, posting their projects and dashboards, and you are just starting your journey and you're feeling, oh, okay, I'm behind, I’m late, I need to catch up. And you're trying to read everything, you're trying to learn everything all at the same time. I just want to say your journey is different. Go at your own pace, right? Don’t try to be someone else. Don’t try to catch up. Like, that's not what you're going to end up overwhelming yourself. And I want to say, please join the data community if you're not in one. I don't want to say you're learning, your growth is going to be slow, but joining a data community guarantees that you're going to learn faster. You’re going to have assistance, you're going to have help from others, and you're going to have competitive partners that would always keep you motivated. And I just wanted to say that the experts, the professionals that we all look up to, our mentors, they all started as newbies. They all started from the very beginning. Like us, they basically didn't know anything about data, and now their professionals will look up to them. And I feel in a matter of time, in a few years, we also are going to be mentors to people coming. We’re going to be mentors to new sets of data analysts. So, I don't know. Be confident in yourself. Be confident in yourself and have a growth over goal mindset. Because sometimes you set goals for yourself, and for sure, you might not meet your targets, you might, let's say, not meet your project deadline, but the fact that you learn something while doing that project should matter. So you focus on the growth that you’ve achieved and don't beat yourself for the fact that you don't need to go try again. You didn't get to the first time. Try again. Your project was rejected, but you got a review from the reviewer. So work on the review and make your project better.
Oh, my gosh, that was so good. I got chills when you talked about going at your own pace, and I got chose again when you said growth over goals mindset.
Thank you so much for sharing, Alexa. I feel like within the workplace, a lot of people feel like they need to know everything, but that's not true because a lot of employers actually look for that growth mindset. They want you to learn because the industry, the market, everything is always changing. So if you show that you're adaptable and open to learning, that's a skill that's more valuable, in my opinion, I agree to be able to keep growing. So what you're doing, like, learning every day, that's something that can help you develop that mindset, which is amazing. We’re still getting chose a little bit.
Of course. And then what you said about how everybody started out as Newbies. Like. When you were posting on Twitter about your data journey and posting all these resources. I remember I think one time I got the sense that you thought of yourself maybe as a beginner. As somebody still learning. But from what I was reading about your posts. You seem like an expert. Like a mentor. Because I know you've been helping all these data newbies. So I think if people are like you, they’re disciplined, they're determined, they have that growth mindset, and then they share all these opportunities. Then one day they could be a mentor as well, actually agree with you.
When I started out on Twitter, I actually wanted to be relatable with people like newbies. I wanted them to feel safe, and I didn’t feel comfortable sharing their journey as well. And I wanted to help them and not make them feel like, oh, I’m bigger than them, or I'm a professional now, and I’m just going to tell you what to do. I wanted to know that I also experienced what you’re experiencing, and we can keep growing together, because growing ever ends when you become an expert. You’re still going to keep growing. So we're all growing together, basically.
That’s amazing, because I feel like a lot of mentors and professionals might seem unapproachable because they seem so busy and you're, like, scared to reach out to them for help, but it's so nice to know that you want to foster a sense of approachability and collective mentorship and collective learning. So that's really nice to hear.
Well, thank you so much, Alexa, for chatting with us and sharing your story. So we referenced your Twitter a lot. What was your Twitter Handle?
My Twitter handle. Alexa_Ighodaro.
And I will also link your Twitter in the Show Notes and then your article about the Data Newbies article on Medium. If you send that over to me, I will also link it in the Show Notes. Everything would just be in the Show Notes.
All right, I will send that to you. And currently has over 8000 views, so I think everyone actually has the reading, and it's something for everybody in it.
Yeah, perfect. Thank you for sharing those resources. And feel free to check out EntryLevel as well for the Data Analyst program. It’s at entrylevel.net. But of course, there are so many free resources out there, Alexa shares them on her Twitter. I will link that all in the Show Notes. All right, that wraps it up. So thank you, everybody, for listening, and good luck on your learning journey.
Learning is living - if you keep learning, you'll keep growing.
That's according to Alexa, who has collected 6 certificates in Data Analytics.
In this interview with EntryLevel, Alexa shares her philosophy around learning, as well has her best advice for data newbies.
If you're starting your Data Analyst journey, this is the interview for you. Listen to get some practical tips and motivation for your learning.
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