Meet Wayne – He became a Data Scientist after 15 years in IT

career change from IT to data science

The Institute of Data caught up with Wayne 4 months after completing the Data Science Full-Time Program*. Here’s what he had to say about making the career change:


What motivated you to change your career to data science?

“After completing my Science degree in Marine Science at university, I found opportunities weren’t showing themselves in that area so I decided to move laterally. I wanted to find another pathway into a career that used what I had learned at university and my previous background in IT. I wanted a career that used a combination of my science degree, IT experience and data science.”

Can you explain your career before making the change to data science? How many years of experience did you have?

“Before getting into data science, I worked as a computer programmer in IT for 15 years. Then I went to university and got my science degree in marine science – I’m currently still going to university and progressing with my Masters in Spatial Science Technology.”

Why did you choose to join the Data Science Full-Time Program in particular? What appealed to you?

“The prospects of getting to work in data science very quickly with this qualification.”

What did you enjoy the most about doing the Full Time data science program?

“I enjoyed the programming and developing the algorithms.”

Did you find anything challenging about switching careers?

“Yes, the prospect of failure and not getting work.”

How did you get a job in the industry after completing your training?

“By using my network and through my connections on LinkedIn. One of my connections on LinkedIn actually contacted me directly and helped me get work quickly after graduating.”

Tell me about your current data science role, what does your day to day involve?

“My day to day involves mainly programming in python and working on enrolment data – I’m working on many ongoing projects at the moment.”

How has your career progressed or changed since entering the data science industry?

“It’s been all good, I’m doing something I enjoy and learning something new everyday.”

How long have you worked in the industry and what’s your future career plan?

“After working in the data science industry for about 4 months – I’m planning to stay in data science and in my current position for the next three years. I’ve signed a three-year contract so I’ll be continuing with that and developing my career in data science and also spatial science because I am interested in that as well.”

Would you recommend upskilling to fellow professionals?

“Yes, but if you’re getting into data science, it helps to have some background in IT or statistics to begin with. I also recommend making contacts, especially on LinkedIn and going to data science meet-ups.”

How has your previous knowledge helped you in data science? Do you apply your previous knowledge in your role?

“Yes, absolutely! My previous programming and statistics knowledge from my university studies helped when I was learning data science tools and processes in the course, and it’s helping me now in my current role.”

How do you compare your career situation now to 12 months ago?

“It’s even better. 12 months ago, I had a job but I was struggling to see what the future entailed and now I have a fulfilling career where I learn something new each day and I get to use a variety of my skills on a daily basis.”

If you are interested to learn more about up-skilling and landing a job in the Data Science & AI industry, you can book a consultation with an Institute of Data Career Consultant.

*This program was provided by Black Cat Data and its education partner at the time. (Black Cat Data is now the Institute of Data)

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