Engineer Story: Jarod Wilson

In 2017, an article in the Economist made a bold yet, in my view, convincing claim: “the world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data”. Data is everywhere and drives everything we do; and the last 18 months has brought to the forefront of our attention the impact, value and importance data has. Whilst I always envisioned my career involving data, I was never particularly sure what direction it would take. Until now.

With an educational background in Psychology, I have had many opportunities to work with data and I thoroughly enjoyed doing so. I found gaining insights from data; applying these insights and using them to help answer questions to be both intriguing and valuable. As I progressed through my education, I had the opportunity to study and use some of the methods, tools and topics involved in data science, such as measurement, methodologies, statistical methods in R and some of the ethical considerations and issues associated with data. 

After graduating, I found myself in a common position for graduates – taking the next step in my career. I knew I wanted to work in data and had the passion and drive to do so. But by many standards and metrics I didn’t have the required technical skills – specifically related to programming – for a job in data science, even at an entry level. I found myself on a metaphorical cliff edge – wanting to take the leap but needing some help in doing so. 

Then I came across Digital Futures. A company with core values that centre around opening doors and creating opportunities for individuals who have the skills and qualities to succeed in technology – regardless of educational or technical background. An immersive and engaging training period followed by two years of working in tech teams at innovative companies, allowing for continuous growth and development? This was the perfect opportunity for me. 

An application form, some online assessments and an interview later and I was offered a place in the data Academy. Time to take the leap. 

I am so glad that I did. In such a short space of time the Academy has already provided me with a multitude of technical and professional skills setting me up for a successful career in data, all in a friendly and welcoming learning environment. Alongside this I have begun to establish and build professional relationships as well as friendships with my fellow cohort members and have greatly enjoyed learning alongside them so far. 

Regardless of educational or technical background, I would encourage anyone to consider what other attributes and qualities they have that equip them for a career in data or technology. If you possess things like curiosity, ambition, aptitude, and commitment – it may just be the right step for you.

It has now been just over 12 months since I took the leap into a career in data, thanks to Digital Futures. I am now placed at a global information technology service and consulting company, working as a Junior Data Engineer/Developer on a large scale project. To put it simply, I would not have had this amazing opportunity without Digital Futures. 

My current project, put simply, involves building data pipelines and databases to allow three different entities to send and share information. Though it is a bit more complicated than that!

The first couple of weeks were admittedly nerve wracking, and in some ways challenging. I had to integrate myself into a well-established team; familiarise myself with their ways of working; and understand how they were using the technologies and solutions I had learned about in the Academy and my upskilling in the project. But thanks to the support from within the team, Digital Futures and my engagement manager, I am now confident and comfortable within my team and thoroughly enjoy what I am working on.

Through regular one-to-one meetings with my engagement manager, I am able to provide updates as to how things are going, as well as share any concerns or problems I might have. We also have larger meetings with my fellow engineers deployed at the same organisation to stay connected, hear how they are getting on and share any useful information.

Digital Futures continue to develop and enhance my technical skills by sourcing and providing courses relevant to the projects I work on to ensure I deliver high quality work for our client, as well as offering the opportunity to obtain certifications in addition to the ones I have already been supported to achieve.

Thanks to Digital Futures, my leap into a career in data has been extremely rewarding, and I am excited to see where my journey will take me.