In August of 2021 I started both a new job and a new career path working as a Systems Analyst. While the title is fairly accurate, it doesn’t quite outline all of the different responsibilities I would find myself having in my new job. Our department is basically the main source of data intake, but we also share a lot of other responsibilities including managing the company’s physical data assets for data intake among other things.
Over a year and a half I have learned a lot that has changed my view on certain things. Those that know me well know that I came from nearly a decade spent in a rather toxic work environment, so the change to an actual fair work culture is eye-opening for me. I wanted to write up some thoughts on things I have learned, and some things I am still in the process of learning.
Being Complete, Concise
I’ve always prided myself in my writing abilities. I would generally say I am above average, but I am definitely not in the 1% when it comes to any facet of writing. One thing I have definitely received some criticism for was how verbose my emails could be.
Over the past year I have learned to be complete, but to also be concise. Unnecessary details get cut out to ensure the correct points are being stressed.
One of the greatest challenges in my role is having to navigate a lot of things at once. While I can address many points, keeping them concise ensures that we don’t get stuck in the nuance of things. Separate conversations can be had with the details. That’s what meetings or sub-threads are for.
Upon obtaining this new role, one of the things I immediately began doing was making sure I could learn and retain as much as possible. I use OneNote as a means to document a lot of stuff, which allows me to also review what I have learned in the past.
I’m the resource in the department with the least amount of direct experience in the field, but I make up for it by both being willing to learn and being very resourceful. Prior to my involvement, there was no use of Python within the department. Since then through a combination of my efforts and efforts from our RPA department, we now have a number of scripts that are designed to make data intake easier and more consistent.
I continue to learn more about Python, about different database technologies, and how to better ensure the data we intake is being properly imported. Bringing in legacy data always has challenges involved with different encodings, corrupt data, and flat formats that are inconsistent. New challenges bring new knowledge and new tools to be built to handle them.
Being Humble, But Confident
One thing I have learned about the job is to remain humble. When approaching communications both internally and externally, being both confident and humble is a delicate balance that can pay off quite nicely. It’s perfectly fine to admit that you may not have the correct answer, but by showing a willingness to work with others, I get a lot of things done.
The company I work for positions me as a subject matter expert when it comes to data intake. As a result, I can be confident in knowing that I have a general idea on how to get data of any type into our environment. However, there can be situations where I lack intimate knowledge. During those situations it’s perfectly fine for me to take a step back and get help to cover that gap.