AI is taking over, but how do you get started in the field? We spoke to Data Scientist Adam Thorsteinson to break down the most important skills you need.
Meet Winston, a Finance graduate who is currently enrolled in BrainStation’s part-time Data Analytics course. Exercising his entrepreneurial spirit as an Art Dealer while also running a family business, Winston is constantly looking for ways to develop professionally. We asked Winston how he plans to use his new skills in data to elevate his career.
BrainStation: What is your education and/or career background?
Winston: I have degree in Finance and Interdisciplinary studies that focused on art, social science, and economics. I went into accounting for about a year in a firm that focused on helping distressed businesses and families with account management to maintain or [improve] their business. Afterwards, I realized that accounting is not my pursuit, and ended up in a completely different field as an art dealer.
It all began with a friend and a conversation that led to a snowball effect of gaining new knowledge and meeting new people. I found my passion in the appreciation and admiration of paintings and sculptures, it was a great discovery! Art [distribution] is a line of work that requires a strong network in order to [be] sustainable and maintain longevity. [While] art dealing is a passionate side project for me, what I currently have to focus on is [my] family business.
How did you first hear about BrainStation?
I learnt about BrainStation through a friend who was a Data Analyst for Google in Hong Kong [before moving] to Vancouver for a better work-life balance. We discussed his line of work and it sparked my curiosity.
Which course are you currently enrolled in?
I’m enrolled in BrainStation’s part-time Data Analytics course. I first heard the term “big data” back in 2013 during a TED talk conference. I could see the importance of big data, [and] pursuing the path of a data analyst was not something I dove into immediately, but now I can see a long-term career path, and it starts with BrainStation.
What sparked your decision to register for the course?
The biggest push for my decision was my family business. We deal with a very particular raw material called Zirconium dioxide (aka Zirconia), it’s a ceramic powder being mined out in west Australia that we process and experiment with.
We have formed relationships with the Taiwanese International Technology and Research Institute to do R&D for various applications of Zirconia. The predominant use for Zirconia is teeth enamels in stomatology. Most of us who hear about Zirconium dioxide would think of either cubic zirconium (synthetic diamonds) or Zirconium watches like the apple watch. There are actually many applications of Zirconia, for example: Refrigerators, Textile machinery, Cellphone encasement, Nuclear, and military weapons.
What I would like to do is to have a deeper understanding of [data] to eventually become a data scientist and help the R&D team come up with new applications for Zirconia.
What aspects of the course are you most excited about?
I am excited to learn how to organize data and utilize various softwares like SQL and Tableau to visualize data in a meaningful way. I am most excited about SQL because it plays into presentation, which is very important in visualizing information for others to understand easily. It allows me to draw meaningful patterns and present complex data findings and problems to the company or the public.
How are you hoping to apply these skills in the future?
Like many others, I believe that data is integrated into every aspect of our lives and therefore by having the skills to collect, clean, organize, contextualize, draw patterns, and present data is very useful in any business. I do hope that my skills will develop beyond data analytics and into the realm of data science to partake in the research and development process of new tech applications of raw materials like Zirconia.
Want to learn more about the course Winston is taking? Check out BrainStation’s part-time Data Analytics course.