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Business Intelligence Careers

Erik's Career Journey and Advice for Data Analysts

5 min read
By John Pauler
Jul 1, 2021

Today, we're talking to Erik van 't Ende about his career journey.

Personally, I love his advice about putting in the effort and having patience. I myself have struggled with the latter, and I think a lot of ambitious young people have this problem.

Another thing I'd like to call out is Erik starting to learn Power BI and then putting it on pause. This wasn't laziness, it was smart. He steered himself toward Excel instead, because that's what was most valuable to him at the time. This is a great example of leaning into opportunity. The best growth plans are flexible. Learn from Erik's solid example on this one.

Hope you enjoy learning from his experience here!

Let's get into it...

Q: What do you think have been some of the key factors in your success?

There’s never, ever anything gained by doing nothing. So putting in time and effort is definitaly one of them. Also taking time to think about what it is I really want, has helped me to find a goal and move in that direction.

Another point that I really want to stress here is: be patient. You might knock on one door and find that it won’t go open. Don’t let it discourage you. Keep working even if you feel you ain’t getting anywhere. A farmer doesn’t see the seed he planted for a long time. It even has to die first before it comes up and bears fruit. Sun and rain will give growth and the farmer will reap what he sowed.

I hope you understand what I mean with this and get something out of it.

Q: Professionally speaking, what do you do today? How important is data mastery to your current role?

Actually, I just started a new job as a sales admin with a large, worldwide company. It’s not a purely data oriented job but I’m really happy with this change. What triggered me most was the customer reports that are part of my responsibilities. You guessed it, I plan on rocking those reports!

During the application I emphasised my already acquired Excel-skills and my ambition to master tools like SQL, PowerBI etc. This seemed to make a positive impression on my interviewers. Whether it was mainly because of this or other experience and skills, I got the job.

Since we’re working a great deal with Excel, I’m very happy that I learned to work smarter with this tool.

Q: You mentioned Maven has made a positive impact on your career. Can you tell us more about that?

Well, yes, it has. The thing is, almost two years ago, I realised data analysis and vizualisation is “my thing”. Picture me, a guy in his early 30’s, hardly any education or experience with analytics, unaware of where to start. And to be honest, I felt overwhelmed and a little discouraged. How was I ever gonna reach that point of landing a data-job?

When I found Maven and had a look at what it had to offer me, I became enthusiastic. This was gonna be my starting point. As I started learning, I found ways to implement my new skills in my job. This way I gained data-proven insight in stock movement and for example causes for differences in our stocks. You could say I handled the whole process myself. I collected, prepared, analysed and visualised the data myself.

Let me share one other example of how I applied my knowledge into my job. Due to the lack of a location system in our ERP (everything was stored on one location), none of my colleagues could ever find anything. So I built an Excel tool that featured a combo of INDEX&MATCH as well as VLOOKUP and array formulas. With this file they could not only find the location(s) of a specific item but also find all the items at one location.

Q: Let's jump back in time. Think about yourself on the day you started your first Maven course. How long ago was that? What was your job at the time? How would you rank your data skills on a scale of 1-10 back then?

My first Maven course was the Excel Charts and Graphs course which I took about 1,5 years ago. I was a logistics coordinator then and held sway over a small warehouse. My daily occupation was mostly being busy with picking items and processing incoming goods.

If I’d had to rate myself I’d say that my skills would be a three. My mind is pretty analitical by nature so I’m naturally seeing logical connections and i feel at ease when stuff is structured (like a heap of data for example).

Q: Which Maven courses have you taken? Do you have any particular favorites that you think have helped you the most?

Right now I’ve finished the Excel ‘Charts and Graphs’ and ‘Formulas and Functions’ course and also the ‘MySQL Data Analysis’ course.

I’ve started the PowerBI Desktop course but decided to focus on Excel since I think I’ll benefit most of that. Right now it’s Pivot tables I’m working on. After that the productivity courses are what I look forward to.

What I particularly like about the Maven courses in general is that they are easy to follow. The intructors really focus on a thorough explanation of the material and an understanding of the principles behind it.

Q: Is there anything else you think would be valuable for our audience to hear about your career journey?

To share one thing... See what you can do to contribute to the community. The Maven instructors really share inspiring content that helped me to get more insight in the field of data. Be involved! Only though I’m a person who ‘just’ comments or likes posts on for example LinkedIn. It helps me to stay inspired and focused.

One last thing: be true to yourself. This might sound like one of those signs you see in people’s houses. And I’m not a big fan of those ‘live, love, laugh’ category stuff. It holds up! If you’re trying to be someone you’re not, you’re not gonna end up happy.

Q: If our readers are interested in getting in touch with you, what is the best way for them to connect or find more information?

Well I guess the easiest way is through LinkedIn. I really like this platform to connect with people on the business-end of life.

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I love the advice Erik gives here. It's really good stuff, and can help folks looking to grow their careers and find the right balance.

Hopefully learning from Erik's journey can help you in your own.

If you're looking to launch your career in data, check out Maven's brand new bootcamp offering. First cohort starts in September!

Maven's Fully Immersive Data Analyst Bootcamp

Author

John Pauler

John brings over a decade of business intelligence experience to the Maven team, having worked with companies ranging from Fortune 500 to early stage startups. As a MySQL expert, he has played leadership roles across analytics, marketing, SaaS and product teams.

John brings over a decade of business intelligence experience to the Maven team, having worked with companies ranging from Fortune 500 to early stage startups. As a MySQL expert, he has played leadership roles across analytics, marketing, SaaS and product teams.

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