Here at Level, hearing about our students landing a successful job in Data Analytics is our shining moment. When we heard Level Core alum, Brian O’Connor had gotten a job at Pandera Systems, we sat down with him to cover his journey from desiring a career change, to a Business Intelligence Analyst.
- Why did you decide to enroll in Level?
I enrolled in Level to kick-start a career change. I was excited to explore new industries, but because of my background in finance and investments, I imagined a career in Financial Quantitative Analysis.
- What was your favorite part of Level?
The Level community as a whole – my classmates, professor, and the entire Level support team (TAs, student success manager, program manager). The capstone was also an incredible experiential learning opportunity.
- Can you tell me a little about Pandera Systems?
Pandera Systems is a business intelligence and data integration consulting company. The company specializes in implementing information and performance management solutions across any industry.
- What is your new role there?
I was brought on as a Business Intelligence Analyst to support Boston based clients. However, Pandera consultants are encouraged to expand outside the boundaries of their ‘title.’
- Did Level help you get that role??
Directly? No. Indirectly? Absolutely. My experiences at Level have changed my outlook on how information should be managed and utilized, which helped shaped the role at my previous company from client operations to business intelligence.
During the interview process, the Capstone project proved to be a huge hit (I integrated R, excel, and a customer success software to automate quarterly reporting).
- What is a typical day for you at Pandera?
My role varies every day, but one constant is communication with clients to gather business requirements. It is then what I do with the business requirements that differ – anywhere from exploring SQL databases to designing visualization dashboards to writing algorithms. My most recent project, for example, is developing a Customer Segmentation Model in R.
- What tools do you use on a daily basis?
I use R, SQL, and MicroStrategy daily. I first came across R and SQL in the Level classroom. I also dig into my statistics and machine learning toolkit every day; K-means clustering and principal component analysis to name a few.
- What advice can you give to current and prospective students at Level?
- Level covers a lot of material in a short period. You DO NOT need to master everything right away. If you are looking for a career change, my suggestion is to choose 1 or 2 topics/skills you enjoy and try to become an expert then leverage those in interviews.
- Take advantage of your TAs.
- Expect to get out of your comfort zone.
- Go to the Level sponsored events (i.e., Lunch and Learns, networking mixers, workshops), especially for those who are unsure of their career path. It is a great way to learn the various roles across the industry.
A note to prospective students:
At first, I was skeptical of enrolling in Level because I was unsure how robust the job market would be for data analytics. Just a few days after completing the course, I already began to experience firsthand how much demand there is for those who hone both business and technical skills. And I am happy to report that Level equipped me with the skills and hands-on experience to comfortably discuss in an interview setting.
We are ecstatic to hear how strongly Brian believes Level helped him in his career change. Level was able to provide him with not only the hard skills to succeed but the correct mentality to nail an interview. Check out the Level Blog for more student success stories.