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WHY YOU SHOULDN’T BE AFRAID OF LEARNING NEW SKILLS

Aurora Perez

by Aurora Perez

7.09.2021

Article

About a year ago, during the high peak of the pandemic, the workload was lower than usual. Especially for me, with everybody working from home. I was an Office Manager without an Office to Manage. One day our social media team asked me for support with some numbers and calculations for the white paper they were writing: “Transforming Marketing for International Brands: How to create more impact with fewer efforts''. Then I thought: ”I’m good with numbers. I enjoy working with Excel files. … Yes, of course!“.

Most of the work was already done, 75 brands were analyzed. Some first results were very clear and straightforward from the beginning. But if we wanted to get deeper and more significant results that could be related to a wider range of brands, all these numbers needed to be aggregated in one single document and unified format. And only after that was done, I could work with them to get the results we wanted.

I worked on that. 75 rows and 20 columns was the result of the first aggregation. Do you think is it a big amount of data to work with? Actually, it’s not. That is a very small amount of data if you think about it. In spite of that, I encountered some issues such as missing values, outliers, clustering and grouping, to name a few. This made me realize how challenging it would be, if the 75 rows and 20 columns turned into thousands. This motivated me to look for more efficient ways to handle large amounts of data.

Through Coursera, a learning platform, I found and signed up for some data analysis courses. As I mentioned earlier, I’m good with numbers and mathematics. I’m also very analytical, but I had never worked with any programming languages. It was a new world for me. This is something I was afraid of, taking the plunge into the computer world beyond Excel, Word, E-Mail, and a couple other standard programs. But I did and four months later I finished my Data Analyst Professional Certificate.

It was no easy feat. I did it online in my “free time”, which as a working mum of three in the midst of a pandemic, with regular lockdowns and homeschooling, can be quite a challenge.

Taking the step of signing up and investing the time and effort to complete that online certificate helped me transition from an office manager without an office to a data expert.

Are you also interested in a change? Have you ever thought about learning new skills? Are you unsure how to start? Let me share my conclusions.

Many times you have the chance to work on something new and you turn it down just because you are insecure about your skills. This happened to me many times. Instead of turning it down because you don’t think you can do it, you need to see it as an opportunity to explore your capabilities and potentially learn a new topic, discover new skills or open your eyes to new interests.

Alternatively it can be a time issue. Now-a-days there are many, flexible options. You just have to figure out what works best for you. Whether you prefer short or long term courses. Online or in person, fixed times or on-demand. The possibilities are endless. To learn new skills or get a deeper knowledge in different topics, online platforms are for me the best option. There are a lot of them and they have courses in different fields of study, from tech to creative topics and languages. And not everything has to be about professional growth, many are great for developing our personal hobbies such as playing piano, sports or art.

Maybe after finishing one course you discover new fields or more efficient ways to work, which you can then implement to your daily work.

Your new passion could be waiting behind the next: “if you have time, could you help me with this?”

I encourage you to say yes to new projects or take a look at possible courses. It is always an opportunity to learn and discover new skills. Now I’m thinking about taking more courses, there are some in my list.

What new skills would you want to learn?

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