May 22, 2016
Christian Willard proves that a 15-year career as a financial analyst can remarkably morph into a very successful second act in data analytics through an online master's degree program at Southern New Hampshire University. Here, he explains how important it is to trend-watch and keep one eye on the future. His favorite superhero is Iron Man. "Tony Stark is a STEM guy too!"
Most of my family members are businesspeople, and my academic strength has always been in math. So I combined business and math and decided to major in finance as an undergraduate. There are commonalities between finance and data analytics, such as spreadsheet modeling, analyzing data and presenting findings to stakeholders.
I had done extensive research on in-demand skillsets, most of which were STEM-related. Since I was already 15 years into my career I didn't want to start all over again.
One day, while conducting research, I came across the field of data analytics and it quickly became apparent that this was a great option for me. I could transition into a new field without having to start from scratch, and it also happened to be in high demand, which was a perfect combination for my situation.
Look at the current state of employment. Research what skillsets are in high demand -and forecasted to remain so. Then, look at a degree from a Return On Investment (ROI) standpoint. A degree that is relatively inexpensive and is in high demand should, in theory, deliver a lucrative ROI for the student.
"Add the pay increase, bonus and benefits of my new career and I may recoup the cost of the SNHU program within one year."
Solving an ever-growing real-world problem with the master's in data analytics program is a real thrill. Every time the media reports on another data breach in a major organization, and every time I see a TV commercial on the importance of information security, I can say that what I do every day contributes to that effort. Because of that, my job satisfaction is the highest it has ever been.
Well, the benefits and nice salary of my new job provide great security and comfort. I'm also better at managing personal finances through spreadsheets. And being a huge sports fan, I've been able to use my newfound analytics skills to better understand sports and predict outcomes in fantasy sports.
Nearly 20 students in SNHU's Information Technology in Cyber Security undergraduate and graduate programs are participating in the National Cyber League competition this spring.
We tend to be aware of big hitters in the tech space who are male, but less frequently are we aware of the women, and in many cases the women are absent.
For Toni Harris, winning a scholarship to attend the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing next month fits perfectly with her lifelong interest in computing and technology.