Data Analytics Career Track
Shelly Applegate
Before Springboard:
Environmental data analyst
After Springboard:
Sales BI analyst at Mars Corporation
“I had to be accountable to my mentor during our weekly calls. I couldn’t just keep saying ‘I’ll do it tomorrow.’”
“I had to be accountable to my mentor during our weekly calls. I couldn’t just keep saying ‘I’ll do it tomorrow.’”
Meet Shelly Applegate, a graduate of Springboard’s Data Analytics Career Track.

After graduating from college, Shelly took a job as an environmental analyst specializing in sewer management. In a nutshell, she did wastewater collections flow monitoring. So if a new developer was planning to build a block of apartment buildings, her company would do an analysis of the existing sewage system to determine if the pipes could withstand the extra load.

While Shelly learned basic data analytics skills on the job, she was mostly limited to Excel. She liked collecting information and writing reports, but she wanted to learn advanced data skills. She tried taking a few online courses in her free time, but Shelly, who has ADHD, struggled to stay focused without the accountability of a structured education program.

Shelly applied for and won a Women in Technology Scholarship from Springboard–a program offering half and full tuition scholarships for those who self-identify as female. The self-paced nature of the course was helpful for her ADHD because if she got stuck on something, she could come back to it later.

After graduating from the Data Analytics Career Track, Shelly landed a full-time job as a sales BI analyst at the Mars Corporation–yes, the candy company that makes the famous Mars bar.

Tell me about your career path before Springboard.

I was already in a data analytics-related field, but it was very niche. I used Excel, but that was it. I tried to learn data analytics techniques on my own, but I have ADHD. I need structure and accountability when I’m learning. I learned about data analytics bootcamps from a video on TikTok and eventually found Springboard.

I had a good job, but I wasn't learning any skills outside of sewer management. There was no room for growth at my company. I didn't want to spin my wheels doing the same thing at a similar company.

What is sewer management and how does it involve data analytics?

If a developer is building a new apartment building, you have to make sure that the current pipes can withstand hundreds of new bathrooms. We did capacity studies to ensure the current infrastructure is sufficient. We would data on the level and velocity of sewer flow. We would calculate how full the sewer was based on pipe diameter–during rain events, it would be more full. It’s just a bunch of data on how much water a certain pipe can hold within its constraints.

Tell me about your new job at the Mars Corporation.

Mars is a candy company. I look up a lot of numbers every day. Before my lunch break today, I was doing a million VLOOKUPs. I compare our actual sales numbers to what we plan to sell. I also perform user maintenance, which involves looking at user analytics to determine what features specific accounts need access to and how much access they need. This is a starter role, so hopefully I can figure out what I like to do and work towards that within the company.

Are there opportunities for growth at your new company?

Mars encourages its employees to look for a new role every 18 months to 2 years. They want you to stay with the company, so they give you the opportunity to learn different things. I dislike job-hopping but I like learning new skills, so it’s perfect for me.

Why did you choose Springboard?

I liked the idea of weekly check-ins with a mentor. Also, the ability to work the modules in any order. If I wanted to learn Tableau, I could focus on that. I had to be accountable to my mentor. I couldn’t just keep saying, “I’ll do it tomorrow.” The freedom to choose what you learn and when was very helpful for my ADHD. If I got stuck on something, I could talk to somebody or move on to another subject to clear my head and come back to it with fresh eyes.

Do you consider yourself a lifelong learner?

Oh, yes. If you don’t seek new information, you won’t change. I love who I am now, but I don’t want to be this person in five years. I want to grow. There’s all kinds of learning and I want to learn for the rest of my life.

Who was your mentor and how was your relationship with them?

My mentor was Naval Handa [global market insights analyst at AppsFlyer]. We had a great relationship. He was so easy to talk to. I could come to him with issues I had while working on a project. He was very knowledgeable. I also did mock interviews with him and he would give me constructive feedback. I never felt put down. He helped me perfect the STAR method for answering interview questions.

Did you meet with any career coaches at Springboard? If so, how did those meetings go?

My career coach helped me refresh my resume and LinkedIn profile. It was really insightful to learn about what employers look for while reviewing your application.

Do you feel that the Springboard curriculum adequately prepared you for your future career?

Yes. I use Tableau every day at work. Now I’m slowly integrating Power BI into my workflow. Having prior knowledge of all these different tools is so helpful in my job.

How did you balance studying while working full-time and raising a family?

Pre-COVID, I would commute to work, come home, take care of my daughter, and try to figure out how to better myself. With Springboard, I learned the importance of budgeting my time. That helped me with scheduling around family and work while being able to progress in my education. My daughter was so excited that I was in school because she had just started school as well. That motivated me a lot.

Did you have opportunities to network with other students during your time at Springboard?

Yes. While I was at Springboard, we had these virtual meetups with other students for networking and socializing. I remember going to a Women in Tech conference. Use all the resources Springboard has to offer. Take every opportunity to meet people because knowing someone in a different field or industry can help you advance your career.

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