My path has been an odd one to get to where I am now - it certainly was not a traditional route. It all started with digital marketing back in 2000 when I was running a small marketing business in Spain. I returned to the UK in 2011 where I joined Action for Children to define digital data for the digital team. For me, this was an exciting time, taking an organisation from the start of its data journey through to deploying one of the first hybrid cloud servers in the UK. Soon after this, I left to work on some specific projects around sensor technology, analytics and AI within the health sector, working on theoretical applications of sensor technology for people in care and working with an organisation on smart wearable technologies. Now I am work with Save The Children as its lead analyst which is hugely rewarding in the sense of creating change through the use of advanced analytics, while also leading the data function within my own global education business.
If I were asked what the most exciting part of my career has been so far, I would have to say it was joining Save the Children. There is nothing more exciting than using data to make a difference. The opportunities that this organisation has with its data is vast and the possibilities are exciting. I would also say that the work I did on sensor technology in the health industry has to be a highlight - seeing your theoretical implementation become a commercial reality is very rewarding.
Be passionate, communication is key, and don’t be afraid to stand your ground and say no. Along with this, I would tell myself that continual learning is the key. Digital and analytics is a fast-paced and ever-changing environment - to be successful you need to be hungry for personal development.
2018 went very differently to how I had expected it to go. I think finding the amazing opportunity that Save the Children presented was one of my working highlights of last year. It’s great to find an organisation where I can really make a difference to the cause and the lives of children using data - I just couldn’t turn down that opportunity. What we can do in this organisation with data could very well lead the sector over the coming the years.
I think it’s going to be tough on some levels. Data morality is going to be a highly-discussed topic, I think, because of the introduction of GDPR and general privacy concerns. AI could well become mainstream this year. With more infrastructure and software-as-a-service, these complex platforms are becoming easier to use by the masses. Self-service BI platforms, like PowerBi and Tableau, will be increasingly used in businesses of all sizes as they move to more centralised reporting services. Data science will become more common as it becomes easier to implement into organisations.
This really differs from organisation to organisation. In my own business, we particularly only hire remote workers in order to ensure we can get the best possible talent without restricting our talent pool by having a central office. Within the charity sector, I think it’s more about showing how data can make a difference to the cause you support in our case this is children. It’s about showing the sector can lead on data and exploring data apprenticeships and providing a great entry environment for new data analysts to join and use the skills they have learnt in a very meaningful and rewarding way.
The accessibility of data across businesses is exciting - it’s great to see more and more staff across businesses engaging with data. I am starting to see all kinds of roles embracing data through BI platforms, such as PowerBi and Tableau. This helps to enforce the benefits of data across businesses.