Amy: My data training with Sparta Global

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After graduating in late 2019 and moving from Australia to the UK, Amy Zhang faced trying to kickstart a new career, in a new country, whilst competing with the toughest graduate job market we’ve ever seen. In May 2021, Amy joined Sparta Global’s Data Engineering stream and was finally able to start a career in a new, innovative field that welcomed her analytical mindset. Read her story…

 

Before we talk a little bit about your training and experience with Sparta Global - you graduated in December 2019, just before the start of the pandemic. What was it like job hunting at this time?

I attended a small primary school in Australia and a selective high school. I completed a Bachelor of Mathematics at the University of Newcastle and a Master of Mathematical Sciences at the Australian National University, but even with this level of education - it was exhausting and depressing.

I first applied to junior/graduate analyst, developer and data jobs on multiple websites. I did that for a year. Some of them did not reply and others rejected me, saying there were more suitable candidates for the position. If I did get through to speak with a recruiter, they would offload me as soon as they found out I had less than 2 years left on my visa. I got head-hunted a few times and got half-way or most of the way through their application processes, but again - there were always more suitable candidates.

Since the pandemic had slowed down my job hunt dramatically, I finally gave in and extended my visa to five years. I started applying directly to company websites and got a few more replies. I applied to Sparta Global and Alastair (Marshall, Senior Talent Coordinator) was a great support. He took the time to call me and get to know my background and career aspirations. He provided great support and answered any questions I had. I was very excited to receive my offer to train and work at Sparta Global. It was such a relief that someone was finally giving me a chance to use my talent and skills!

 

Had you always been keen to work in technology?

No, I just knew I wanted to do something with maths! I think my mathematics skills are very aligned with programming and problem solving though, so data and tech fit that description. I have always been fascinated by data and how it is used in science, what it can tell us about the future and the past, and how we can use data to improve things.

Tech is an exciting and growing field, and I look forward to finding new tech solutions to problems!

 

How have you found your training, and how might you describe the experience to future candidates?

Fast paced, challenging and information dense! Working with big data and cloud services was new to me and we would start learning a new program every day or two. I had to study after hours to keep up and understand as much as I could, but the trainers are very supportive and are always there if you need help.

 

How has Sparta Global supported your tech journey so far?

Fantastically. I have learnt so much in a short amount of time, especially big data (Apache Spark and Hadoop) and cloud services (AWS). I have gained invaluable experience with cloud services that I would not have gotten otherwise too.

 

What do you think are the most important traits for an individual working in data?

  • Understanding data – critical and analytical thinking.
  • Communication – verbal and written.
  • Technical – building data pipelines and programming.

 

The technology industry is not the most diverse – largely dominated by white males who come from traditional STEM backgrounds. What would you say to people from underrepresented groups looking to kickstart careers in tech?

Contribute in class and in projects. Ask lots of questions until you understand and don’t be afraid to ask for what you need. Make friends and learn as much as you can. Sparta Global will help you build a professional profile and teach you how to interview and work in groups in a professional environment.

Be bold, be brave.