Breaking Into People Analytics: I’m taking my education into my own hands

I’m carving my own path to becoming a part of the People Analytics space. Here’s why:

Masters Degree or Self-Taught?

How many Masters degrees exist that are specialized for People Analytics? Admittedly, there are a few. What I’ve decided is that I have accumulated enough skills to be able to learn what I need to learn in order to become a Data Scientist within the HR field. With an applicable Bachelors degree (I/O Psychology) under my belt, and a few real projects that I’m currently working on, I believe that I can get the learning and experience of People Analytics in the real world. How do the two options compare?

Just doing a little bit of mental logic here, I reckon that after 2 years of work I will be making something similar to what I would be making after getting my Masters degree. That’s not to mention what I’ll save in tuition, books, and housing. Who knows, maybe I’ll get lucky enough to find an employer that will pay for me to get my Masters down the road anyways. I’ll let you do the math. I would be happy to hear anyone else’s opinion on the matter!

My Friction with School

I know what I want to learn. More importantly, I know what I want to become. I think that’s what a lot of students miss out on as they go through school. School proposes a curriculum for you to follow to learn skills that could be applicable to the type of work that you’re going to go into. It’s likely, however, that your employer will have to train you again on much of what you have learned simply because it’s in a different context. Certainly learning it the first time helps to shorten that learning curve, but how much in time and resources can be saved if those lessons could be learned the right way the first time? The problem is that most people don’t really even know what it is they want to do, even in the final semesters of their undergrad, even years into their careers. Finding a passion or purpose for some is much more challenging than learning advanced calculus, it involves an existential element that many colleges aren’t equipped to provide. What if you knew exactly what you wanted to become? What if you knew exactly what you needed to learn to go where you wanted to go? Would you spend time learning things that added little value to that overall goal? If you could tailor your learning curriculum to your needs to reach your goals quicker, and adapt to the real world work environment faster, would you settle for anything else?

I’m Not Alone!

Mentors are valuable. Find a mentor. No, find many mentors. Find a mentor in every experience of your life, and in every person that you talk to. Find a mentor in that time that you stubbed your toe, and in that book you’re reading. Find a mentor in yourself. Stop asking people to be your mentor, and start asking them questions about their lives that you’re curious about. In that moment they become your mentor. Don’t complicate this idea of mentors. Some people have mentors they meet with regularly, others have mentors they only speak to once a year. When you can take on a mentee mindset, the would is your university and every experience is a chance to learn something about yourself and the world around you. I’ve spoken with hundreds of people over the phone, on Linkedin, at social events, in line at Taco Bell, leaving Walmart, whom I will never speak to or see again. They are all mentors to me. These mentors will help shape the way you think, who you decide to be. They will help you find something within yourself that can give you an unending supply of energy to reach those deep seated goals that your spirit yearns to achieve. Some people call it a passion, I think that it’s synonymous with purpose.

In essence, I’m taking control of my own path. I know where I want to go, and who I want to be. I see what experiences I need to achieve in order to get there. I’m also willing to admit that I don’t know everything! I’m happy to hear your thoughts or advice.

My next post will go over more of the actual learning tools that I’m using and what I’ve been up to!