Women in (Good)Data

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Intro

For women looking to start or further a career in the data industry, it can be challenging to find inspiration or role models who have had similar experiences. We’ve asked four of our female colleagues from our San Francisco and Prague offices about their data career paths, their learnings, and what they think about data analysis and business intelligence.

 

Can you share a little bit about yourself?

Dorota: I’m Dorota, and I work as a Data Product Manager at GoodData. My favorite feature is the Analytical Designer (AD) because you can create any insight you want. My hobby is mountain hiking and running, it’s how I challenge myself and learn patience and consistency. I’m also interested in the Czech startup scene and community.

Nicole: I'm Nicole, and I work as a Data Product Manager. I love how easy it is to explore data and uncover patterns with our AD tool. Outside of work, I'm usually cooking dishes from around the world and going on hikes in the woods with my husband and two dogs.

Sheila: I’m Sheila, and I work as a Solutions Architect. My favorite GoodData feature is the support of many-to-many relationships. Outside of work, I enjoy traveling, fitness, and music.

Tereza: My name is Tereza, and I am a Principal Solutions Architect at GoodData. My favorite features are the APIs and SDKs that allow for endless customizations. When not working, I like to go rockhounding, make jewelry, and play guitar.

 

How would you describe your role at GoodData?

Dorota:  My role as a Data Product Manager is to ensure that customer implementation projects are on the right track from a project management perspective.  Moreover, I influence product decisions by translating customer requests and pain points to our Product and Engineering organizations.  Besides that, I’m helping with some internal projects and reporting to streamline the work procedures. 

Nicole: I help our customers envision how they can help their customers make decisions with data using the power of our platform. I bring expertise in building analytics products that users love and in guiding our customers toward the most impactful features that will differentiate them from their competitors. 

Sheila: My role as a Solution Architect is to be the technical lead for our clients during their GoodData implementations. It is my responsibility to design their solution architecture and enable them to leverage our platform for their business needs. Outside of my role as a services team member, I am involved in GoodLife (GoodData’s wellness offering) and Women in Leadership (GoodData’s female interest ERG). My role in GoodLife is to help organize and manage workout activities in our office to promote an active and healthy lifestyle. My role with Women in Leadership is to curate and lead events that will empower women in our office to advance their professional impact.

Tereza: I’ve been with GoodData for a long time. That has allowed me to wear many different hats over the years. Currently, I do whatever is needed, which can range from solution design and implementation, project management and training to internal operations.

 

What influenced you to pursue a career in the data industry?

Dorota: Coincidence and fate. I originally interviewed for an HR reporting position, but I was then offered a completely different position in the IT team as a Business Intelligence Analyst. It was more challenging than the HR job and IT has always fascinated me. I thought "I have nothing to lose", so I took it without knowing anything about BI.

Nicole: I transitioned from the banking industry, where I investigated cross-border money laundering. I was analyzing data every day, but I found that the rigid nature of banking wasn’t a fit for me, so I found a great job helping nonprofits use data to raise more funds. I was fortunate that I found a way to transition into tech that would still use my analysis skills but also allowed for creativity.

Sheila: As a statistics major, I was always interested in data, but I was especially intrigued by how data is relevant to everyone. As I started my career in BI, I found working with different client business models and solving various business problems to be incredibly exciting. With each implementation, I continued to grow and learn, and I’ve been hooked ever since.

Tereza: It was never about the data industry specifically for me. I started learning programming in elementary school, and at that time I was mainly interested in game design. I always enjoyed building things, solving problems, and being creative. I get all of that from working on data products for our customers, plus I get to work with a great group of people.

 

How do you think data and analytics will affect business in the future? What do you see as an upcoming trend in the industry that will dominate the next decade?

Dorota: In my opinion, successful businesses will be built on data in the future. After the digital revolution comes the data revolution. There is not much of a way to grow before learning from your own operations and analyzing your data. Automation will be the economics driver for the next decade. 

Nicole: Data that leads to the right information is a prerequisite for making the right decisions. Traditional fields such as banking, sales, or fundraising have been relying on data analysis to succeed in the market. I assume that the same pattern will go into the less digitized sectors, as other organizations hope to achieve similar levels of success.

Sheila: In the next decade, I see increased data security and automated data science as continued trends.

Tereza: Data analytics will continue becoming more affordable both financially and in terms of the technical complexity of building and maintaining the necessary infrastructure. More and more decisions and processes will become data driven and automated.

 

Do you remember an interesting lesson learned during your career in tech?

Dorota: Do not underestimate the importance of business analysis in BI and data processing. Jumping into data analysis before you see how the business works and what needs is counterproductive. It is easy to do different analyses and reports, but without a deeper understanding of the business needs, they can be useless.

Nicole: Earlier in my product management career, my team and I were building a new BI tool for a specialized segment of our larger addressable market. I had worked with many of these customers before and needed to define an MVP within six weeks. I opted not to do a full round of user research and instead started building with my team. When we launched our first version, our customers told us about many pain points that our product couldn’t solve and would require building out custom features for each client. We ended up having to reformulate the offering and build a whole new product from scratch. Now I know never to skip user interviews and to never assume that I know our customers’ business better than they do. 

Sheila: Truly listen and understand what the client values and never make assumptions.

Tereza: If you want to deliver a good and useful product, you first have to understand what the end users need and what problems they are trying to solve. If you are not sure, ask questions. Also fail early and don’t spend too much time developing something in isolation without getting feedback.

 

What would be your career advice to women, especially when pursuing a career in tech?

Dorota: Not to be frightened and not to underestimate yourself. Gender diversity in teams brings better results, because everyone has a different point of view and a mix of skills that helps to solve a wider range of problems more easily.

Nicole: The best advice I have to give was given to me several years ago from my mentor of many years when I was at a crossroads in my career. She told me to be more of myself. She said “be you to the maximum, be you unapologetically.” She mapped my career highs to times when I showcased my natural abilities and showed me that my career lows stemmed from not following my passions. I would love to pass this on to women getting started: Always be yourself unapologetically and move toward your passions! 

Sheila: Take the time to know your value and strengths. Once you reach success, open the door to other women who want to follow in your footsteps.

Tereza: Just do it. If technology is something that interests you and you enjoy solving technical issues, then go for it. Also understand that technology is constantly evolving, so if you want to be successful you will have to invest time to keep up with new trends.

 

Diversity in product development

A team with diverse backgrounds and perspectives goes hand-in-hand with a better product. With a wider variety of life experiences to draw on, teams develop solutions faster, pinpoint market problems with greater accuracy, and ultimately  create better solutions for customers. Over the years, GoodData team members like Dorota, Nicole, Sheila, and Tereza have helped build and refine features such as:

  • Responsivity: Build once then use anywhere anytime—with no time wasted updating visualizations for every platform.
  • Embeddability: Include insights whenever and wherever you need them, and build custom applications with a set of UI SDKs, tools, or direct embedding. This allows you to maximize the potential of your data product.
  • Pricing plans: Start with a large-scale implementation, or test things out by starting small and growing your user base.

With GoodData Free, you can start validating your business case for up to five customers without the need for a large investment. If you want to talk to our experts directly, please let us know over at www.gooddata.com/request-a-demo.

March 31, 2020
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