Welcome to edX Insider — where we take you behind the scenes at edX HQ to interview people across the organization. In this installment, we sat down with Eric, our new Category Manager for Data Science & Analytics, to talk about remote starts, personal goals, and advice for pursuing data science opportunities during a pandemic. Let’s dive in.
What are you most excited about as the new Category Manager for Data Science & Analytics at edX?
Working with partners to bring new content to the platform that is valuable to learners and to edX is very motivating. I’m looking forward to sharing insights with my colleagues about the profession that will hopefully lead to exciting new programs coming out on edX. Data science is obviously a hot topic area with a lot of learner demand and activity right now, but that makes it a competitive market as well. I’m hopeful that we can help guide our partners to align their content with industry trends to serve learners effectively in a quickly changing professional field.
How was the experience of starting a new role remotely?
I wasn’t sure what to expect since I’ve never been onboarded at a new company remotely before, but my manager took the time to make a checklist that involved meeting with many of my new colleagues at edX. These initial get-to-know-you conversations were really helpful for me to get up to speed on how the company operates. My onboarding “buddies”, who were more tenured edXers outside my own content strategy team, were also very welcoming and took the time to meet with me weekly as I got started to answer any questions I had about the work or the company in general. I was really glad to have that opportunity to touch base regularly with people outside my team to talk about my progress.
What is one goal you’ve set for yourself in 2020?
My 2020 goal is to finally make my way up to the Boston Area from Washington, DC and get settled. I’d also love to be able to learn some new technical skills through an edX course on analytics (MIT’s The Analytics Edge has caught my eye) and apply them in my role as Category Manager to help my colleagues and I make data-driven decisions, but that is more of a 2021 goal!
What is your best advice for those pursuing new career opportunities in data science during the pandemic?
Take classes to learn new techniques to build up your GitHub repositories with high-quality code, and then take the time to communicate it to your intended audience well. You can solve an intractable problem with a brilliant solution, but if you can’t communicate what you have done well, you may not get the recognition you deserve from employers.