After the tech startup he was working for went under during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Reagan Tatsch found himself wondering what to do next. He’d spent years working in marketing operations and had just recently started learning about data analytics before he was laid off. Tatsch loved the fact that working with data enabled him to solve problems he’d never encountered before while empowering better business decision-making. After a bit of soul-searching, he discovered Springboard’s Data Analytics Career Track.
Like most career switchers, Tatsch expected to start in an entry-level role for his first data analytics job, but thanks to his years of leadership experience in marketing operations, he was able to leverage his transferable skills to land the role of team lead. It wasn’t long before he gained the title of manager.
I work for a company called Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS). We focus on data governance for financial firms like Prudential, AIG, and Wells Fargo. Basically, we manage a consortium with all of their data. They send us their quarterly data, we clean it, and send it back to them in a reportable form for them to make sales decisions on for their wholesalers. My role is to make sure that this process goes smoothly.
Before Springboard, I was in marketing operations. I got my first degree from Texas Tech University in business marketing, so I pursued that for a little bit. Then I went back and got a second degree in management information systems, but never did anything with it because my career in marketing ops just took off. Right before Springboard, I worked at a real estate tech startup called Loft Smart. Working for a startup, you wear many hats, and I was exposed to was a lot of data—getting large quantities of data and trying to figure out what to do with it and how to make business decisions.
So I started working with the director of data science there. He was my mentor and he showed me the ropes and what he does day in and day out, which I really enjoyed. Unfortunately, Loft Smart went under in March last year due to COVID, so I was laid off and left with no real direction. I had just recently started getting exposed to data, and I wanted to go further down that path, so I took the opportunity to explore that a bit further, and that’s when I found Springboard.
What I like about data is the fact that it’s black and white, everything can be proven. There’s an answer for everything. There’s also a lot of problem-solving. I am definitely someone that lives by a list of action items. If I see a problem come up, it goes on my list and I start working through it until I can mark it off my list. That’s how I operate.
It seemed like the safest option because there was a job guarantee. In the middle of a global pandemic, it was pretty scary to jump in and start trying to find a new job. So I liked the fact that Springboard had a job guarantee; there’s nothing to lose.
Yeah, definitely. When I first started at Springboard, I was new to the data world. All of my experience was in leadership and operations roles. So I anticipated having to look for an entry-level data analytics job to get my foot in the door and take a huge pay cut. But I knew that being in tech and working with data would set me up for great success for years to come.
As I started working with my mentor, Veejay, during the course and doing informational interviews, people started to ask me, “Why aren’t you looking for a management role?”
And I said, well, I’m brand new to data. I can maybe write you a handful of SQL queries that are very, very basic. They told me “You don’t need to be an expert to manage data teams.” In fact, in the data world, you don’t see a lot of people that are able to articulate and communicate effectively with people—in other words, people with leadership qualities. So I started looking into leadership roles like team leads or managers.
These companies knew my data skills were entry-level, but it didn’t matter because I had a lot of leadership experience, and that’s what they were interested in.
I think it was a little bit of circumstance. My boss is a big strategic planner. When I first joined the company, I was a team lead for one of our studies. He saw me catch on quickly and asked if I wanted to go down a managerial route, and I said yes. So when one person quit and another changed departments, my boss told me about a managerial position that had opened up and said “We think you can handle it. Would you be interested?”
Take inventory of what skill set you already have and see how it could apply to different roles, and see if you can leverage that for a more desirable position. The fact that I had so much managerial experience in the past helped me get to where I am.
Veejay was great. Even after our scheduled weekly calls, we would stay on Zoom and talk about current events or anything, really. He was very helpful in giving me career advice and he has a great sense of humor. He was also the one who pushed me to look for managerial roles instead of just an entry-level position. We talked about what was going on in the world, our personal lives, our hobbies.
My first capstone project was about analyzing lending club loan data. I performed a risk assessment using FICO score, credit history, and other variables to see the correlations between them and the likelihood of loan default.
I was struggling a lot with my capstone projects because the results of my analysis didn’t turn out as I anticipated, and my mentor was very reassuring. He told me that as a data analyst that’s going to happen, and as long as you can prove why you got these answers instead of the ones you were expecting then you did the right thing.
The biggest piece of advice is to not get discouraged and be well-prepared for your interviews. A big part of the job search is trying to overcome imposter syndrome, but if you hit at least 50% of the required skills listed on a job description, don’t hesitate to apply. Remember, a job description is basically a wishlist. The company knows they’re not going to get everything they asked for.
The thing that I like about my job is also the thing that I don’t like about it. As a data analyst, you stare at a computer screen for a very, very long time and you can get lost in the data and not realize that eight hours have passed and you haven’t gotten up for lunch or anything like that. But it’s also something that I love about it because it keeps me engaged. I have ADHD, so being able to focus on something for a really long period of time is kind of refreshing because that’s something that I’ve always struggled with. One of the pros of being a data analyst is you’re constantly solving problems, and the cons, at least for my current role, are the long hours.
Springboard offers a comprehensive data analytics bootcamp. You’ll work with a one-on-one mentor to learn about data analytics, strategic thinking, problem-solving and Python—and finish it all off with a portfolio-worthy capstone project.
Check out Springboard’s Data Analytics Career Track to see if you qualify.