Data and Insight Analyst
Sam-Aaron Butler, UCL Planning Division.
My role at UCL is as a Data and Insight Analyst in the Data and Insight Team within the Planning Division. I’ve been working in this role since April 2019.
The Data and Insight team aim to improve decision making across the university by providing clear and accurate data, and my role largely involves taking data, shaping it, and presenting it in visually engaging ways.
My long term ambition is to work as an academic. I love education and research, so in the last couple of years my focus had been to try and get a role (almost any role) at a University. I was very lucky to find a role at such a prestigious university which has both made good use of my existing skills, and really challenged me to refine them and learn new ones.
My two previous roles since originally graduating had involved data in some form – first as a Knowledge Management Team Leader at a major charity, then as a Business Analyst at a Housing Association. In these two roles I’d learnt the value of data, some of the pitfalls of data when not used appropriately, and some fairly basic visualisation techniques. These roles certainly helped me into my current role, but I wouldn’t have been confident applying for the role if I hadn’t done some of the learning I did outside of work.
In the few months before applying for the role at UCL, I finished a part time Master’s in Social Research which was great for understanding some statistical concepts and how to apply them practically. However, I think the most important learning for getting me to this point was the various free online training I undertook. I used MOOCs (Massive Online Open Courses) to teach myself Tableau, R, and some Data Storytelling techniques, all of which I utilised in the interview process at UCL. Because of that I’d say my biggest piece of advice for anyone interested in a career in data would be to not feel boxed in by what you already know, or even what you need to know for your current job. There’s an incredibly rich array of resources online (and also offline with various Meetups) and some really good support communities for when you get stuck. Anyone at UCL should also definitely get involved with the Data and Insight Community of Practice, which is a great way to learn more, and be inspired about data.