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My Pivot Journal: How Onyinyechi Obi moved from communications to data analysis

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My Pivot Journal is a Ventures Africa weekly series documenting people’s career transitions from one industry to another, especially to tech. 

Onyinyechi Obi has always been passionate about effective communication. After a degree in Mass Communication, she initially embarked on a career as a customer representative with an IT company. However, she has since transitioned to harnessing her tech skills as a Data Analyst. Here is her pivot journal:

How It Started 

I earned my Mass Communication degree from Imo State University, graduating in 2011. During my final year, I discovered a passion for programming languages and pursued Oracle and Database Administration courses at NIIT. Despite initial doubts about a career in this field, my path shifted unexpectedly.

A year post-graduation, I secured a perfect score of 100 per cent in a Structured Query Language (SQL) exam from a Port Harcourt institution. The Manager of an IT training institute, seated beside me during the exam, was impressed and offered me a job immediately.

Initially hired to teach SQL, Oracle, and Database skills, I later transitioned into a customer service role, leveraging my strong communication skills. While I occasionally taught, my primary focus shifted to communication, allowing me to unite my passion for technology with effective interpersonal connections.

Epiphany

After a few years, I decided to resign from my position and return to my hometown in Umuahia, Abia State. Soon after, I landed a role as a Data Analyst with The FADAMA Development Project, a World Bank Assisted initiative collaborating with the Nigerian government to address environmental risks and enhance food security for the less privileged.

In this capacity, I delved into tasks involving databases, datasets, and Excel, gaining a profound understanding of Data Analysis. As the adage goes, “When you know something, you teach it. But when you understand something, you practice it.” It was during my time at FADAMA that I began to view Data Analysis from a different perspective, sparking my interest in pursuing it as a career path due to both the enjoyment I derived from it and the unique insights I gained.

Onyinyechi Obi, Data Analyst at Zion Tech Hub. Founder of Beloved Foundation.
Onyinyechi Obi, Data Analyst at Zion Tech Hub. Founder of Beloved Foundation.

Transition 

Over time, I recognized that pursuing a career in Data Analysis not only offered global opportunities but also the flexibility to work remotely. Motivated by this realization, I secured a scholarship with Digi Girls and underwent an intensive Data Analysis course, igniting a deeper passion for the field.

To enhance my skills further, I invested in various paid courses, including the Google Data Analytical Professional Certification on Coursera. I also bought and optimised Udemy courses extensively. Seeking broader insights, I subscribed to LinkedIn Premium, unlocking access to a plethora of courses. My journey was largely self-taught.

But, to solidify my knowledge and apply it in real-world scenarios, I committed to months of virtual internship with KPMG, immersing myself in hands-on experiences in Data Analysis.

How It’s Going

Presently, I am working with Zion Tech Hub, serving as a Mentor for students enrolled in Data Analysis programs. Our classes are predominantly conducted virtually via Zoom. While one of the challenges involves some initial difficulties students face in adapting to virtual learning, most eventually overcome this hurdle with time.

Additionally, I am the founder of Beloved Foundation, established in 2021 as a manifestation of my dedication to empowering women in the digital realm. Our community has achieved noteworthy milestones, successfully training over 200 women and young girls in an array of digital skills, spanning Graphics, UI/UX, Data Analysis, and Social Media Marketing. Our emphasis lies on essential aspects such as Customer Service and Data Analytics, reflecting our commitment to holistic empowerment.

Career Hack

If you want to transition to tech, be determined and convince yourself that you can do it. Start now and learn as many relevant courses as possible.

Find a tech community and be a part of it. While in that community, build an online presence. Also, volunteer to practice what you have learned.

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