Having completed her master’s degree in business administration, Lydia Tsang was inspired by her professor to return to college and teach business forecasting applying statistical methods to analyze big data. “After several consulting sessions with my professor and many other people who work in the analytics industry, I decided to study data analytics,” she shares. Lydia was introduced to Nashville Software School (NSS) while volunteering with a healthcare association. “The committee's vice president introduced me to [NSS], and she even accompanied me at the NSS Info Session,” Lydia recalls. “[I was] very grateful.”
Curious about NSS’s teaching methods, Lydia enrolled in the Analytics Jumpstart in February 2020. “The instructors' professionalism and the positive learning vibes among students prompted me to continue the journey with NSS,” she smiles. “I made an important decision and I applied to the six month Data Analytics Bootcamp with a clear mind to land my first job as a data analyst.”
THE NSS EXPERIENCE
During her time in Part-time Data Analytics Cohort 3, Lydia enjoyed continually learning new skills and being able to see how her problem-solving skills improved through her NSS journey. She says that through this six-month experience, she learned to not be afraid to keep gaining hands-on experience for different projects.
The continual learning was challenging, especially while learning the concepts of web scraping. She was able to overcome those challenges by reaching out to her instructor and doing outside research to better understand. “[Web scraping concepts] involve a lot of back-end knowledge,” she explains. “I took the initiative to take some online courses to understand the web scraping knowledge and kept coding [until I] solved the roadblock.”
“Don't be shy to ask questions” is the advice Lydia offers to future NSS students. “Other classmates have the same questions,” she says. “The instructors are so supportive, and they would be delighted that you ask questions.”
Do not compare yourself with others. You do not know what experience others have [coming into] the course. You only need to compare to yourself and keep improving your coding experience.
With an interest in promoting health, Lydia’s capstone project topic is How to Promote Community Health and Pursue a Healthier Lifestyle in Tennessee? “I started to figure out the topic backwards by asking ‘who am i presenting to? Who is the audience?’” Lydia explains. She began to look at population data from the Health Department at Vanderbilt and realized that Tennessee has one of the highest chronic disease rates and decided that her topic would focus on obesity in the state.
“Because the topic was so broad, by the time I gathered my data, I had about 2 weeks to complete the project,” Lydia recalls. “So I started to figure out how to apply certain filters to Excel so I could have a focal point to look at lifestyle factors and how they relate to obesity.” Lydia not only assessed health issues in the state but also looked at the overall activity level and other lifestyle choices, such as diet, across Tennessee and finally what actions were needed to help promote changes to Tennessean lifestyles.
“The completion of the project allowed me to experience the entire process of a business analysis project,” she says. “That includes finding and understanding data sources, cleaning data and analyzing the data with Python and Excel, and finally creating a storyline in Tableau Dashboard to present and provide insights into the business problem.”
Since graduating, Lydia is keeping her skills sharp by coding, exploring different datasets, and improving upon her Python knowledge. Lydia also enjoys attending local, online networking events to stay up-to-date with industrial trends and information.
I enjoy understanding and visualizing the data and applying fundamental statistical knowledge for logical reasoning in problem-solving.
Check out all the recent grads at Part-time Data Analytic Cohort 3's class website and hear the graduates share their experience at NSS and capstone projects in their podcasts below.