Degree: Double Major in Statistical Sciences and Chemistry
Career: Data Strategist at Scotiabank Digital Factory
Since completing her degree with a double major in Statistical Sciences and Chemistry, Janice is working as a Data Manager at Scotiabank.
What is there not to like [about UofT’s Statistics program]? [...] Anytime I had a question, I knew that I could answer it myself based on what I learned from the program.
UofT Statistical Sciences: What does your workday usually look like?
As a digital analyst, I get to be part of the initial planning of campaigns through to the optimization process when the marketing campaign is live.
What I really like about my job is transforming data into insights that guides strategy of planning a campaign to ensure that we’re reaching the right customers. I also build systems that automate the data flow so we know in real time what is happening. The digital landscape provides a water hose of data. There’s so much data to work with. So, that’s where I come in.
For example, if a client wants to know how to reach a certain type of audience, I offer guidance on what types of data they should invest in or how that information can be derived by utilizing an existing data set. For example, if it’s a remarketing campaign, I would need to develop a tagging strategy to track website visits. This enables us to see the types of people who are interested in the brand so we can target them with our campaigns.
At the end of the campaign, I perform a full analysis of performance: figuring out how we can improve our systems, our key takeaways and if we have reached our goals.
Some of the projects I worked on involved forecasting which requires more advanced statistical skills. I’m finding that a lot of businesses are moving in that direction and are looking for people with this type of data science skill set.
What motivates you to do what you do?
It’s the opportunity to offer new solutions to research. As a Data Strategist, we are the first to have access to any data that gets created. It’s like being a fashion designer and having access to the newest textiles in the market. It’s really interesting to figure out how to process and mine the data, and figure out a way to use it.
Learning the fundamental theories and understanding the math will help you develop your thinking. That, combined with an eagerness to learn, sets you up for success in solving any problem.
How did you become interested in Statistical Sciences?
What I was really good at was analytical chemistry so that kind of opened the door to statistics. What I thought was, if you’re good at it, why not give it a try?
What specifically did you like about the statistics program at U of T?
What is there not to like? I love the fact that we had to learn coding. In the first year we had to take a computer science course that had nothing to do with statistics. It was where we got to learn Python. I had a lot of fun with problem solving and gained experience from doing the assignments.
What sets your research apart is your curiosity, which will guide you through the analysis and motivate you to overcome any challenges you come across. Anytime I had a question, I knew that I could answer it myself based on what I learned from the program.
Towards the end of my program, I took a Statistics collaboration course (STA490Y1), where I collaborated with a graduate student on a research project. It was a lot of fun working as a statistician in a research group, finding solutions to messy data and building a predictive model. That was a great learning experience for me and I will always recommend it.
Are there any lessons you’ve learned during your studies that are still valuable to you in your career today?
What I liked about my education at U of T is that I was able to build a solid theoretical understanding of statistics. Learning the fundamental theories and understanding the math will help you develop your thinking. That, combined with an eagerness to learn, sets you up for success in solving any problem. And who would have thought that taking a coding course would be so valuable in today’s job market?
Do you have any advice for students trying to kick-start their career after coming out of this program?
Just keep learning and building your skill set. And don’t be afraid to take some time off to think about what you want because, once you get your first job and a company that sees your value, it’s only going to go up and it’s going to go up really fast. After I finished my first internship, I didn’t have to apply for any other job, companies reached out.
What do you do outside of work, and how do you balance work with personal life?
Outside of work, I go to the gym, I paint, and sew. My job can be stressful, so working out helps train my brain to think and to be focused on one thing versus being scatter-brained with all the data details of my current project.
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