The Great Switch is a series featuring those who have transitioned careers during the pandemic. We hope their stories can serve as inspiration for those who are considering a career switch. Now, more than ever, companies are focusing on employee engagement, shifting to remote or hybrid work models, and employees are prioritizing their careers and health. This is the future of work.
Meet Abigail Hengeveld, a stay-at-home mom who pivoted to a data analyst during the pandemic.
- What were you doing before the pandemic? What are you pursuing now?
Before the pandemic, I was a stay-at-home mom/homeschooling mom. I had a couple of part-time jobs that I dabbled in, like content writing for a mommy blog and teaching English online to children. But because we lived in a rural area and were already homeschooling, our lives didn’t look much different during the pandemic.
Post-pandemic, I work full-time remotely as a Reporting Analyst for Work Force Management at a home health company. I am also taking some Python prerequisites to apply for graduate school at the University of Michigan in Applied Data Science. And, we’re still homeschooling!
2. What made this the right time to switch for you/did you have any doubts?
The rise in the availability of remote work after the pandemic really made it possible for me to pursue full-time work. And as I started searching for content writing jobs, I found that I enjoyed the analytics of SEO more than the actual writing, so it felt like a good time to take some courses and try analytics as a career.
And, of course, the normal “can I do this” type of questions tried to pop up as I was learning things. But I am just really passionate about learning and analytics, so I would try and push those thoughts away as soon as they started to creep in. Thankfully I have always thought that people can learn just about anything they put their effort into, and I felt no differently about this.
3. What was the turning point for you in which you decided to pivot?
Realizing that analytics was something I was passionate about. I have never had so much fun learning!
And also the accessibility of learning in the analytics space. There are so many quality learning resources for low cost or free. Writing just wasn’t enjoyable to me anymore, but learning the tools for analytics was so appealing and accessible.
4. What lessons have you learned during this process?
Consistency beats ability. There are concepts and tools that I didn’t immediately understand, and it was frustrating. But with consistency in studying and practicing with the tools, I have come a long way from where I started! Even with building a personal brand on LinkedIn, consistency in posting beats having just a couple of viral posts.
5. Have you dealt with imposter syndrome since switching? If so, how did you overcome it?
Yes! I have seen people that I would never have imagined struggle with imposter syndrome admit to struggling with imposter syndrome. Which usually gives me assurance that it’s not just a “me” thing.
I try and remind myself not to compare myself to anyone else. The only person I have to worry about being “better than” is who I was yesterday.
6. What tips would you give someone who wanted to pivot?
- Be consistent! It will take longer than you want to land your first analytics job, but hang in there!
- Consistently commit to learning, practicing with tools, and building your network.
- The certifications are great! But be sure to have a portfolio of your skills.
- Search out free or low-cost options to learn before you decide to sink thousands of dollars into a learning program. Making the investment can be great. Personally, I invested in a career services program. But check out your other options first!