#WhyICode: Jennifer Lella Fills In The Blank

October 13, 2017

 

What do you want your blank to be filled with?

 

On Mother’s Day, my oldest daughter came home from school with all the handmade treasures that a first grader does. My absolute favorite was a flower with a bunch of “Mom Facts” scribbled in. She filled “My mom is ______” with smart. I could not possibly be prouder.

 

I didn’t always have a passion for data science, mainly because I had never heard of it before. For the past several years, I worked in a technology operations role. Specifically, I was managing the learning management system at my company. I’d been through a few system deployments and countless upgrades. Each time, reporting and analytics were a struggle as those are the first things to go when the project schedule or budget starts to get tight. As a result, I frequently found myself working on projects that aimed at providing some sort of solution to data and reporting on our systems.  As stressful as these efforts were, they were the most fun for me; I love being able to pull data and turn it into something meaningful to the business.

 

Last year, I finally decided that it was time to move the needle on my career. Having a Bachelors in Business (music business, to be more specific) is enough to keep me employed, but I was craving something more creative; I knew I needed some specialized training. To give it a test run, I signed up for some Coursera courses in analytics. Two weeks in, I was applying for my Masters in Data Analytics at Southern New Hampshire University.

 

While I feel like I am supposed to say that I am doing this to be a good role model for my daughters, I am equally doing this for me. My mind works well with a challenge and the opportunity to be creative, and data science offers that to me. I’ve had to learn discipline with doing homework. I’ve had to learn how to read all over again. I’ve had to learn how to say no when my plate is just too full. I’ve had to learn what SQL actually is. It’s been a full year of learning, and if the only result of that is that my daughters see me as smart, I’d call it a success.

 

- Jennifer Lella

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