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Embarking on a Career in Data Analytics: My Internship at Action

AuthorAutumn Kloth

The Beginning of My Data Story

My journey into the world of data began in the summer before sixth grade when I was introduced to the elegance of coding by my father. It was a world where HTML and CSS could be magically turned into websites and digital design, though at the time, I remember being more captivated by the aesthetic beauty of the code itself than its practical applications. In high school, my interest in statistics was piqued during the tumultuous time of COVID-19, as reporters, anchors, and experts spouted off figures about the pandemic and I found myself lost in a sea of numbers. As the world grappled with uncertainty, I found myself intrigued by the statistics, leading me to venture deeper into this field during my senior year of high school, through an A.P. Statistics course. This passion for understanding the world through numbers guided my decision to major in statistics in college, where I’ve come to appreciate its universal application across industries and its power to tell stories through data.

In college, I’m learning just how versatile and important statistics, the study of people through the lens of numbers and data, are to every business and endeavor in the world. It has been fascinating to learn how to understand and draw conclusions through that lens. Apart from my statistics studies, I have taken several interdisciplinary computer science and mathematics courses. I have learned Python, SAS, and currently, I’m learning SQL. These different languages have pushed me to explore different ways I can apply my statistical knowledge. I’m excited for the new languages I get to learn as my college career progresses.

Interning at Action

I was very fortunate to meet Actionaut Shaun Davis at our local church. When I was babysitting his children, I was reading the book Moneyball by Michael Lewis, which tells the underdog story of the Oakland Athletics baseball team and their use of Sabermetrics (the advanced statistical analysis of baseball data) to assist them in winning games. When Mr. Davis saw me reading it, we talked about it, and he started telling me about his career at Action Analytics. I was immediately intrigued with his work in data visualization, and later asked him about the possibility of an internship.

In order to secure this internship, I had to complete an 8-hour technical interview where I was given four sheets of Excel data. I could use any software I wanted to visualize the components of data. The purpose of producing these visualizations was to not only show my skill, but also provide valuable insights for Action. I decided to build my visualizations with Python in PyCharm, but because I’d not done a lot of data visualization before, I had to quickly learn the skill to build graphs. Along with producing several graphs, I had to write analytical insights for the company that would show my knowledge in understanding how to utilize beneficial visualizations.

I have to admit, I was a bit nervous during my technical interview, where I had to present my analytical insights and visualizations. I had nowhere near the skill nor experience of these seasoned data analysts, and I didn’t want to disappoint Mr. Davis. In my nervousness, I decided to wear my new big, blingy hoop earrings I’d bought over Christmas. Looking back, they probably looked silly, and maybe even a bit unprofessional, but I wanted to wear something that might bring me some confidence. A week later, I was offered the internship. I wear the hoops now, for confidence, whenever it’s time to do business, such as getting on a Zoom call, or when preparing for a hard test.

Joining Action Analytics as an intern has been the latest, exciting chapter in my journey. Here, I’m not just an intern, but a burgeoning data analyst tasked with mastering Tableau to craft insightful dashboards and workbooks. The essence of my role is to harness the power of data visualization to simplify complex datasets and turn them into compelling narratives that drive decision-making and innovation within the company.

In joining Action Analytics, I am now an “Actionaut.” In Greek, “naut” means “sailor/traveler,” so we (the Actionauts) are sailors traversing vast seas of data in order to produce analytical insights. I absolutely love “Actionauts.” Having a common identity allows us to relate and push towards the same goal. Growing up, my father was an avid comic book reader, and he would read them to me (a hobby we still share). We would turn ourselves into superheroes and create story arcs. As an Actionaut, whose superpower is transforming numbers into beautiful, understandable visualizations, I feel that this is the closest I can get to my childhood dream coming true.

Navigating the Onboarding Process

The initial weeks at Action have been a whirlwind of learning and adaptation. From setting up the essential workplace tools that Action uses, like Slack, Notion, and Google Drive, to getting my hands on Tableau for the very first time, each step has been crucial in integrating into the company’s ecosystem. Understanding the company’s communication dynamics and mastering these platforms is not just about staying organized; it’s about weaving myself into the fabric of a team, ensuring that I can contribute effectively and collaborate seamlessly.

One of the hardest parts about the onboarding process has been learning “crosslinking” and how Action’s Information Architecture all works together. Because the Actionauts live in different parts of the United States, and work at different times, we have to be intentional in the way that we communicate in Slack and document projects and tasks in Notion. Every project or task that we’re working on is documented and referenced across all platforms. It can be easy to forget to crosslink everything, to the detriment of fellow team members.

Aspirations and Future Endeavors

As I settle into my role, my aim is to bring along the perspective of a younger generation, bridging the gap between seasoned expertise and the innovative spirit of youth. Beyond the confines of the company, I want to use the skills and insights gained here to empower non-profit organizations in Tallahassee, Florida, helping them unlock the potential of data analytics to further their noble goals.

This Action internship represents more than just a learning opportunity. It is a platform for growth, innovation, and making meaningful contributions.

As I navigate through this exciting process, I will be sharing my experiences, challenges, and victories here on the Action blog. In doing so, I hope to inspire others to explore the limitless possibilities that lie in the intersection of data, technology, and creativity.

Stay tuned for future updates as I venture deeper into the worlds of Tableau, data analytics, and being a part of this unique and innovative company.

Read Autumns other posts in her Intern’s Journey series: