3 Reasons Data Analytics Can Benefit from Building Community

Joshua Otten was already a successful engineer working in manufacturing when he began to realize that data is the future of his field. He craved a deeper understanding of how to use the data—along with the competitive edge that would come with that knowledge. 

“You can no longer be one-dimensional in your career; you have to have some sort of data exposure,” he said. The Ohio-based engineer stumbled upon Case Western Reserve University Data Analytics Boot Camp. He signed up. 

With his strong foundational knowledge of how data can be used, Otten was prepared to learn solutions to apply to his job. He found those—but what’s more, he was surprised to find how a tight-knit community can enhance your work. 

Here’s what he learned about the value of community when it comes to harnessing data.

1. Shared passions create purpose. 

From the outside in (and even the inside out), the world of engineering is pretty isolated. Working with machines is often a one-person job and can leave much to be desired from a social perspective. 

Additionally, Otten wasn’t used to being around people he could “geek out” with or learn from. But CWRU Data Analytics Boot Camp was filled with people that shared his passion for using data in a meaningful way. 

“In my experience, most people are not actively seeking out engineering or coding night classes,” Otten said. He found that the similar passions of his peers in the program motivated him to work through difficult problems. 

2. Different perspectives can help you see the solution more clearly. 

Otten didn’t always agree with his fellow students—but he found that the differing viewpoints were actually really useful for solving problems. 

“The various perspectives were beneficial, because you may have a different view than others, but the different perspectives can be constructive,” he said. Often, when Otten was headed in the right direction with a problem but missing some small piece of the puzzle, listening to feedback helped him understand why—and to nail the answer. 

3. Teamwork is just as important an on-the-job skill as technical expertise. 

Following the boot camp, Otten landed a new job as a process engineer for PolyOne in Avon Lake, Ohio. His current role relies heavily on using “cross-functional teams to gain insights and help construct data infrastructure that companies can utilize to make ongoing decisions,” he said.  

In CWRU Data Analytics Boot Camp, Otten was able to learn how to work with multiple teams and channel the data they generated into meaningful trends.

Refining your hard skills is, of course, of utmost importance as an engineer—but honing the soft skills you need for career advancement is just as much of a challenge. 

Building the future

The boot camp gave Otten the skills he wanted—but he’s still surprised by how much he enjoyed the team building and collaboration. 

CWRU Data Analytics Boot Camp was exactly the segue he needed to transition to the next step of his career. With recent strides of data-focused engineers like Otten, the industry is moving forward at a rapid rate. 

“In general, people in and out of the industry are becoming more interconnected,” Otten explained. “In the last 20 years, we’ve generated more data than over the last 200 years.” He found the boot camp to be an eye-opening look at what data enthusiasts can accomplish collectively. 

“There will definitely be growth within the data sector, and a need for roles involving data will grow in demand across multiple industries,” he said. “Companies in manufacturing, legal, and medical industries are just starting to work with the mountains of data that we are generating. The need will only grow to help bridge the gap between current technologies, both available and being developed, and where industries are today.”

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