Meet Rahil Jetly, a former Springboard admissions director now enrolled in the Data Analytics Career Track.
A self-described data nerd, Rahil Jetly went from being the admissions director at Springboard to a student in the Data Analytics Career Track. After years of experience in sales and marketing at various startups in the Bay Area, Jetly realized he was interested in learning how to solve problems using a data-oriented approach.
Since starting his studies in August, he launched a podcast on iTunes called The Actual Job, featuring interviews with professionals from different fields to dig deeper into the daily realities of working in a certain job. Universities tend to prepare students for a limited range of mainstream “knowledge worker” roles, and job descriptions give little insight into the day-to-day realities of the work. Ever wondered what a lighting technician or zoologist does all day? What about a corrosion engineer? (Hint: they earn over $94,000 a year and don’t need a four-year degree).
As for Jetly, he hopes to land a job in revenue operations after he finishes his studies at Springboard, a role that combines sales, marketing, and customer success to provide a company with more predictable revenue.
You went from the director of admissions at Springboard to a student in the Data Analytics Career Track. How did that happen?
I’ve always been pretty interested in data, so I worked on the Data Science Career Track while I was at Springboard. I guess I like solving problems using a data-oriented mindset, so that’s what made me want to study data analytics. The more I talked to people day-to-day, the more I was genuinely convinced this course is a great product and I think this is going to be a game-changer for a lot of people.
What do you see yourself doing after you finish the course?
That’s an interesting question. I was just chatting with my mentor about this. Ideally, I want to combine my people skills with my operational skillset and my data background. That’s a hodgepodge of skills and I really don’t know where that leaves me. Perhaps something in the sales ops or revenue ops realm.
Update: Since starting the course, Rahil has returned to Springboard as a member of the Sales Ops team.
Tell me about your podcast, The Actual Job. A resource like this is super useful (and surprisingly rare!) for career switchers like Springboard students. How did you get the idea for it?
The idea came from talking to my friends. A lot of them didn’t really know what a sales profession or a tech job looks like. So I would say, hey, I have friends in these professions, let me connect you guys. But some of my friends are also painfully shy and they don’t like talking to strangers.
So I said, okay, tell me the questions you have so I can go find this information for you. I’m sure a lot of other people wanted to know, so I started recording these chats and making them publicly available.
Job descriptions are really fluffy and they don’t actually tell you what the reality of a job is. By talking to somebody who’s actually doing the work, you get an idea of what it’s like so you can make a thoughtful decision of what you want your life to become.
Your job takes up most of your waking hours, so it should be something you enjoy doing.
People usually hesitate to discuss the negative aspects of their job because they think it reflects poorly on them, especially in the context of #hustleculture. What are some things you’ve learned about the day-to-day realities of certain professions since starting the podcast?
Right now we live in a time where everybody glamorizes tech. Everyone and their mom wants to be a software engineer or data scientist. I think it’s a great profession, but there are downsides that get underplayed. For example, if you want to be a data scientist, the day-to-day reality is you’re probably not going to talk to very many people, depending on what company you’re working for.
There are downsides to every job, and you need to pick what your suffering is. There is going to be some level of suffering in any job you take, you just have to pick what it is.
What are some information gaps you experienced when you were considering a career in data analytics?
I didn’t know revenue operations was a profession. My end goal isn’t to be a pure data analyst; it’s more about combining sales and data analytics to do rev ops. My cousin works in this field at a pretty large company and he gave me some information about the daily realities. Revenue ops consists of the behind-the-scenes stuff needed for a sales and marketing team to bring in revenue, but it also encompasses customer success operations.
You’ve published three episodes of the podcast so far, including an interview with a machine learning researcher and a corrosion engineer. How do you decide what professions to feature on your podcast?
My end goal would be to interview just about every profession, but there are over 58,000 professions, according to O*NET, so I don’t think that’s going to happen.
I chose to interview Zach, the corrosion engineer, because I met him in one of my classes and his job is really fascinating. Corrosion engineers work with oil and gas companies. They maintain the pipelines and make sure they’re protected and minimize maintenance costs. It’s a very niche profession that pays a lot but it has a low requirement for formal education; you learn on the job. Some people don’t like formal education, and you can still make a ton of money without a four-year degree or a doctorate, but you wouldn’t know about it unless you’re already in the industry.
What are some roles in the tech industry that are very glamorized that people don’t really understand until they land the job?
Few people know what a product manager does but everybody wants to do it. It pays really well, and I think that drives people toward it. Part of the reason people don’t understand the role is that it varies so much between companies. It’s hard to land a job as a product manager, but it’s very broad as far as the educational backgrounds that are accepted. I’ve seen a lot of engineers become PMs but even people from marketing and sales, because of the diversity of skills that it requires.
Tell me about your Springboard experience. Were you hesitant at first? How did you find the course curriculum and mentorship support?
I like it a lot. Honestly, I wanted to have an unbiased view after I finished working at Springboard, so I took the time to chat with other schools to see which one would be the best fit for studying data analytics. Even after some analysis, I realized Springboard was still the best fit for me. I enjoy the ability to have my weekly one-on-one mentor call. I like that it’s a minimum of a half-hour but I can have unlimited calls. That was a big factor for me. I like the student community and honestly I just like supporting the company because I loved working there.
What’s your relationship like with your mentor? Any stories you’d like to share?
We have a pretty casual relationship.
In the beginning, I was pretty buttoned up and formal, but when you talk to someone once a week, you can be open and vulnerable. It builds a stronger connection.
For example, in our last call, we discussed technical questions for the first 10 minutes because I was stuck on a SQL concept, but the rest of it was about structuring my life for success, and he gave me words of wisdom about what he’d seen in the workforce.
He told me about what skills I would actually need to use on the job versus the ones I would never really need to use.
Sometimes there’s a disconnect between what you learn in the classroom and what skills you actually need on the job. What have you learned from your mentor about that?
It seems like you won’t really use a whole lot of what you learn until you get to the higher levels. In your first entry-level role, you’ll most likely do very basic work. We’re learning a lot about SQL and advanced subqueries and my mentor told me that when it comes to data analytics you don’t really need to know subqueries; you can just query one thing at a time. That’s what he’s been doing for years.
It’s much more rudimentary than it’s made out to be. Don’t get confused if you’re stuck on an advanced topic because you’re more than likely not going to need it.
What are you planning to create for your capstone project?
I’m trying to keep it fun but also tie it to my long-term career goals. I want to do some sales forecasting. I know it sounds boring to some people, but I found an interesting e-commerce company based in Brazil that has pretty unique products. My second project will probably be about UFC fight data because that’s a hobby of mine.
And finally, what motivates you to keep going and get it all done?
The root of it is just learning.
I just want to keep learning throughout my life and I think the only time I should stop is when I’m dead.
Here at Springboard, not only do we pride ourselves on our students’ successes, but we genuinely believe that their dreams are what make up the foundation of our mission. Our alumni dream big—and they make big moves in stride. So we’re shining a light onto some of our favorite alumni stories: their journeys tell stories of accomplishment, grit, and determination against all kinds of odds.