The sixteenth of February presented a wonderful opportunity to students hoping to contribute to the world of data analysis. Chester Chen, the hiring manager and head of data engineering at GoPro, was invited to Pacific to familiarize students with the diverse applications of a university education. Chen is responsible for hosting the Big Analytics meetups in Seattle, Beijing, and Santa Clara each year, and has helped countless university students by showing them the various advantages their degrees can afford them and guiding them through the process of translating one’s unique passions and goals to a competitive job application.
At his presentation, Chen first explained how the realm of data analysis intersects with business by employing statistical frameworks to analyse customer feedback and provide better services. He explained the roles of a business analyst, data analyst, and data engineer, and the strengths that are characteristic of each of these. He emphasized that these positions are not exclusive to students well-versed in software engineering: those with a strong background in statistics can also find a place in this rapidly expanding market.
Chen used his experience as a hiring manager to advise students on how to prepare themselves for approaching these jobs. Due to the length of the application review process, patience is essential—it will often be several months before an applicant receives an invitation to an interview or a clear rejection. Regarding the latter, he mentioned the importance of accepting rejection in a healthy, productive way. In most cases, the timing of the application is just as important as its content, and even the best applicants can be turned away if the position has just been filled, or if the occupation is no longer needed. Chen advised students to think of these experiences as “just exercise.”
He also offered advice on how students might distinguish themselves as competitive applicants for data science positions. Demonstrating passion was most important, both on resumes and in interviews. Chen said it was always most refreshing when an applicant put in effort outside of classes to make a professional project of their interests—it was things like this that have more of a personality than good grades from a fine university. “The school and the grades don’t really matter,” he said, “It’s more important to do work outside of school…do small projects, build your own site, [pursue] your own learning projects.” He went far enough to imply that these small acts of enthusiasm were second only to fundamental competence.
For students interested in data analysis positions that allow them to demonstrate their passion, GoPro currently has two openings in Romania.
Jo Ann Kirby
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