As a child, I remember my first dream was to be a librarian, just to sit amidst piles and piles of books and discover new ones each day.
Quite a few books and not that many years later, I was fascinated with archaeology and dreamt of finding a new civilization, armed with just a spade. Cut to more books and college; a degree in Statistics and MBA in Finance prepared me to enter the corporate world of problems linked to growth, cost, and risk – where data lay lurking in the corridors, waiting to be discovered. A world where one had to dig really deep to find the right answers.
After working in the field of Investment Banking initially, I stumbled onto the world of Analytics as did many others at that time. We were lucky to have entered the field during its Wild West days. A typical glance around the offices of the early adopters of Analytics showed a widely mixed cast of characters – those with impeccable quantitative backgrounds cheerfully discussing business
problems with ones who had just left jobs in Investment Banking, Credit Rating, Consulting or Market Research. Graduates, post-graduates, PHDs across disciplines – you could bump into them all. The word “Analytics” could have been new but the world of data, research, and analysis wasn’t.
And so we pored over books, took training in tools and techniques, trained others, experimented with ideas and when some of the ideas started showing business results, we behaved with the happy exuberance of first-time entrepreneurs. We were curious – curious to discover this nascent world, curious to understand how we could be a part of it, curious enough to keep questioning and learning. And our tribe grew. And the tribe was ever accepting of outsiders – those came in with differing points of view and experience but had a common curiosity and desire to dig deep and solve business problems.
More than 15 years later, those early adopters are now leaders in this world of Analytics with divergent career paths. Some chose to become domain experts, while some became technical experts. Quite a few chose to hone their people management expertise along the way. Some joined the businesses and became customers of Analytics solutions. Sales careers, marketing careers, HR careers and even quality (think six sigma) careers started getting launched with Analytics. Formal career paths were yet to be chalked out. After all, who had seen anyone retire from a career in Analytics?
Cut to present day; the hype around the industry has grown exponentially and signs are ominous. As the growth continues and so do the expectations, there is one key message that sums up those days as one of the early outsiders in this industry: “I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.” – Einstein
The industry does need more data scientists; but above all, what we need even more today, are just “Humans of Analytics.”
Meet Debleena Roy, a storyteller who uses words, numbers and music to share stories and to learn. Weekdays find her being a lifelong intern, always in search of the next interesting project. Corporate gloves come off during the weekends which are reserved, for stories.