A former personal trainer, Joel Antolijao noticed that in the last few years, the fitness industry was becoming more data-driven. While most gyms still rely on spreadsheets to track the most basic metrics, like revenue and membership, the fitness industry at large is embracing wearable technologies that enable athletes to track their own biometrics, and internet-connected exercise equipment that logs workout data and generates personalized workout programs.
While working as a trainer, Joel realized that one of the easiest ways to sell himself to potential clients was by showing them results. What better way to do that than by using data? He started teaching himself Excel, SQL, and Tableau.
However, when the pandemic hit and gyms closed down, Joel started to miss the thing he loved most about his job: the face-to-face interaction and the opportunity to help his clients reach their highest potential in terms of their physical health. That’s when decided to pursue his newfangled interest in data analytics.
After completing the Data Analytics Career Track at Springboard, Joel landed a role as a data analyst at FanDuel, a sports betting company.
Initially, I wanted to be a doctor, so I was a biology major. But then I realized the chemistry classes were too difficult for me, so I changed my major to exercise science.
After college, I moved back to New York, where I started working as a personal trainer. I worked my way up to group exercise coach and then eventually assistant manager, which was my last position before I graduated from Springboard and landed the job I have now.
The pandemic steered me in that direction when everything closed down. What I loved about working in fitness was the human interaction. Of course, that changed when everything went virtual.
I was fortunate to keep my job [as assistant program manager] at Exos throughout the pandemic, but I wanted to look into careers that were pandemic-proof at that time. I saw that companies were building out their data analytics capabilities and that’s something I wanted to pursue.
Yes. I just wanted to be proactive. Say we had a new program. I would offer to make a pivot table to determine if it was successful. And everyone was just astonished by it. No one in the fitness industry wants to sit in front of a computer all day, but I took it upon myself to start working towards that goal.
It goes back to the Apple Watch that I use to track my own fitness. That's data analytics right there—tracking your daily input, whether it's your calories or the amount of time you spend working out.
In order to prove to your clients that you’re a good personal trainer, you need to show them results by tracking the repetitions and the prescriptions you’re giving them. That’s when I realized I had been working with data the whole time.
I work with SQL and Tableau, all the tools that Springboard prepared me to use. I’ve been using many of the concepts that I learned from issue trees to key driving factors and KPIs. I'm definitely prepared for my new job, but it was still a huge leap for me to go from the fitness industry to the tech industry and it will take some time for me to fully adapt.
We look at metrics around human behavior. What are the most heavily populated cities? Which cities have teams that are doing well? So that’s how we decide which populations to target. We need to make sure our audience is over 21, and see if there are already casinos in their city to begin with.
I know sports gambling has a negative connotation in general, but from what I've seen at FanDuel, you can be in that industry and still have a moral compass. It's more about responsible gaming, trying to increase ways for people to have fun watching sports, but also making sure that it's leading them in the right direction while educating them in the process.
What grabbed my attention was the job guarantee. I could reassure myself that even if I dove deep into this and didn’t feel confident enough to get a job, at least I would get my money back.
The first resource I used to start my research was Career Karma. I took a matching quiz to see which bootcamp fit my needs and that’s when I discovered Springboard. I loved that Springboard sets you up with an industry mentor and a career coach.
He went above and beyond to help me get to where I am now. Our weekly calls were supposed to be 30 minutes, but sometimes he’d be willing to spend an hour or two to help me with my capstone project. Even after I had completed the course, he would give me feedback on presentations, or advise me on technical interviews or final-round interviews.
I used a mock dataset created by IBM. I found that the attrition rate is highest for people in roles that require constant travel or those who are being overworked without receiving overtime pay.
On the other hand, the factors that lead to low attrition are now considered standard requirements by millennial job seekers, like being able to work from home, have a flexible schedule, and regular performance reviews with the opportunity to be promoted. I noticed certain sales roles had higher attrition rates than those in director or managerial positions.
Those capstone projects are the reason I landed my job. Working on these projects also trained me to do final-round technical interviews where you have to set up presentations in Tableau and show your code in SQL or Python.
It was basically a second job. I was super grateful for my career coach, Marcella Rojas. She went above and beyond. One time she was on an eight-hour road trip when I called her. She said, “When I get to my next pit stop, we can get on a call and chat before you do your final interview.”
I was like, “Wow, that’s real.”
It took about a month and a half to find my role. I spent a lot of time creating profiles on different websites from Hired.com to Indeed and practicing interview questions.
My mentor. When you try to learn data analytics on your own by taking different courses online, you miss out on having that real-world perspective. With every project or situation I encountered at Springboard, my mentor would give me a real-world perspective on it. He helped me nail down what I really needed to learn in order to become marketable—and it’s essentially what I’m doing now in my new role. It was amazing.
Take that leap. I felt that Springboard was able to provide me with options. There are so many options to achieve your ambitions that there should be no excuse. Even if money's tight or you don't feel like you're capable of doing it, there are so many people at Springboard who are there to support you, and so many resources out there to help you get to where you want to be—whether that’s data analysis or cyber security. Don't be afraid to take that leap. No matter what age you are, no matter where you are, just take that leap and see where it goes.