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KadaProfile: Gabby Herrera-Lim

Isang panayam sa isang Data Analyst

Kung mahilig kang manood ng videos sa Youtube, marahil napapansin mo na ang mga videos na inirerekomenda sa iyong home page ay akmang-akma sa iyong kagustuhan. Ganoon rin kapag nakikinig ka ng mga kanta sa Spotify, na tila ba na may namimili ng susunod na kanta na naaayon sa iyong mood! Sa pamamagitan ng data at pagsusuri nito (data analysis/data science), ang mga kompanya (tulad ng Spotify at Youtube) ay nakaka-identify ng mga trends at behavior ng kanilang mga users. Mula rito, napapabuti nila ang kanilang mga serbisyo sa pamamagitan ng pag-rerekomenda ng bidyo o kanta na magugustuhan ninyo.

Sa panayam na ito, matutunghayan natin ang istorya ni Gabby Herrera-Lim, isang data analyst sa Lazada. Alamin natin ang kaniyang background at ang kaniyang makulay na istorya tungkol sa career niya at sa kaniyang passion for sports!

Ang buong interview ay mapapanood sa aming Facebook Live: link

Photo by fabio on Unsplash

How did you get interested in this industry and what factors led you to where you are today?

Nung lumaki ako, hindi talaga ako sigurado kung ano ang gusto kong gawin. At first, I wanted to be a chef or a doctor, or a lawyer. When I first heard of data and data analytics, it was actually towards the end of my college career. Siguro less than 3–4 years ago, one of my friends got into it. I just thought of it as numbers, especially since there were no pure analytics-related classes doon sa college namin at the time. But the more I got into it, my interest really grew. With the increased attention on analytics, lumaki yung conversation sa sports, especially if napanood niyo yung movie na “Moneyball”, nag-increase yung interest ko in analytics sa basketball industry. I also read this book that was called, “Soccernomics”. It discussed statistics and what factors were important for long-term winning in terms of international football or soccer.

I really saw that there was a whole world beyond what we see on paper, kasi usually when we look at sports or boxcars, medyo plain lang yung stats, but then it really doesn’t tell us the whole story. I realized that with data and data analytics, we can use it in any kind of business and any kind of industry, so yun talaga yung naging interest ko. At the same time, when I was growing up, math talaga yung favorite ko na subject, so I felt like yun yung magpapa-integrate sa strengths ko and at the same time, yun talaga yung interest ko.

What kind of skills or technical skills would you need to get into this field or to be successful as an analyst? What programming languages can we study to become a data analyst?

Of course, the first thing that I wanted to learn was how to do programming, since yun yung medyo backbone of analytics and running numbers. But it doesn’t have to be limited to that. There are other ways for you to analyze and visualize the data at kung magagawa mo into graphs yung data na nakikita mo, analytics na din yun. It’s a good foundation to have, so you have to understand how these things work. At the same time, you really have to be logical. Siguro that’s a counterpart skill when you’re trying to learn to program.

In terms of programming languages, yung main ones are python, R, and SQL. SQL is used a lot in data management, especially sa pagkuha ng data from big databases. If you’ve heard of big data, malalaki talaga yung data storage, especially for tech companies, kasi lahat nasa computer ngayon. What you do with SQL is narrow down the data that you need based on different parameters. Yung R naman is more versatile, and you can use it to develop apps and programs. Yung python naman, ito yung pinaka ginagamit ng mga tao in terms of data and tech, kasi ito yung pinaka versatile in terms of soccer development, web development, or program development. Focus on one at first, then diversify later on.

What are the responsibilities of a data analyst?

The biggest responsibilities are to be clear with the data and to create understandable reports. The work of an analyst isn’t just limited to data science. Data scientists are far more skilled than I am when it comes to running data and running statistical projects, but at the same time, analysts are the ones who want to translate these things to make them understandable for the stakeholders. Walang use yung data if hindi sila maintindihan ng stakeholders or yung mga gagamit nito, so yun talaga yung main responsibility. It’s a mix of technical skills and business acumen, you really want to merge those two together. You have to be responsible for making these things easily understood kasi if nagpapakitang gilas ka lang pero hindi siya naiintindihan ng audience mo, walang masyadong use yun. The biggest responsibilities are to keep the data clear and understandable and to understand the language of your stakeholders.

What is your favorite sport to analyze?

Since dito ako lumaki, I think the biggest sport that I watch/consume is basketball. Nag-diverge din yung interests ko growing up, but it’s always been basketball. I wouldn’t say that it’s the sport with the most available statistics, because we see that in a lot of other sports. Especially baseball, since baseball talaga yung nag-start ng movement into sports analytics, pero basketball yung pinaka naintindihan ko on a deeper level. Yun yung pinapanood ko most of the time, so I see how the statistics translate into actual gameplay. Malaking critique sa basketball analytics is hindi siya nag t-translate into “eye-level” or the “eye test” as a lot of basketball players call it, but at the same time, it’s really important for me to see how it translates into the gameplay and how it influences people in making better decisions both in and out of the court.

What was your biggest motivation to pursue and become a data analyst?

I think the biggest motivation talaga was to keep learning about the world around us. Nagiging mas tangible yung data since numbers silang lahat at mas kapa mo yung mundo. Nakikita mo lahat ng nangyayari at nakikita mo din kung bakit ito nangyayari. I wanted to experience everything around me. Yun talaga ang nag d-drive ng interest ko kasi before, parang hindi ko masyadong nabigyan ng emphasis ang data, so lahat ng insights ko, gut feel lang siya. Based on my own experience lang siya, pero obviously when it comes to business and life in general, hindi mo talaga masasabi yung experiences ng iba based on your own experiences. So nakakatulong talaga yung data on that, nabibigyan ka ng bigger perspective. I wanted to gain a better perspective and to gain better insights into the world around us. Whatever your interests are, yun talaga ang nagbibigay ng perspective and foundation on your understanding of the world.

What are the basic principles that everyone should follow and what are the benefits of becoming a data analyst?

I think the most important thing is to make things understandable for everyone. Kasi obviously, data and statistics, mahirap sila intindihin. Do a lot of research, intindihin mo yung past works of people and what they were trying to do. Intindihin mo yung gusto mong ma-achieve with that data and then translate those ideas into code, insights, and programs. You can then translate that data into actionable insights. The term “actionable insights” really stuck with me when I was in college kasi yun yung parirala na ginagamit nung isa kong professor when it came to our management consulting class. Insights, on their own, hindi talaga sila magagamit sa business without a plan to pursue the strategy moving forward. So kailangan talaga ma-translate yung records at data into actionable insights, so that’s a really good principle to have.

Another thing is to be open to ideas and learning. I only know 1% of what I’m doing now, in terms of the realm of analytics. There’s really a lot of things to learn, and there are a lot of people who have experienced the things that you’re experiencing and they were able to move forward. So yung mindset na kailangan mong i-integrate is to keep learning and keep moving forward with your learning, while also developing yourself.

What final advice can you give to students who are trying to look for a job in the industry?

I can give two. The first is technical, and the second is more personal. On the more technical side, the main advice I can give is to keep learning and doing research on what you want to do. One of the websites I really like looking at is GitHub. I like working on sports, movies, and pop culture, and maraming interesting na projects doon. Another website that I use is Pudding.cool, it’s one of the websites that have a lot of projects that use analytics for tv shows and sports.

On a more personal note, it’s really common for people in this industry to feel yung “Imposter Syndrome”. If hindi niyo pa naramdaman yun o narinig yung term na ‘yon, it’s when you feel like you don’t belong here, since maraming gumagawa ng iba’t ibang programa, and mas advanced pa sila. Yun yung nararamdaman ko at first, because when I entered my program, wala akong alam tapos maraming mas may alam tungkol sa data. Usually nakaka-demotivate siya. But my advice for that is that everyone we’ve met and everyone that we’ve seen working on these things, maliit palang ang natutunan nila. Sometimes you know something that they don’t or you’re good at something that they’re not, so may ma p-provide ka talaga na value doon. You just have to keep learning and the rest will follow. Keep trying to learn and kalimutan niyo na yung Imposter Syndrome. Huwag kayo matakot. Always be ready to learn and always be ready to ask questions, to research, and to keep learning.

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