Diving into a new career in data analytics or data driven role can seem daunting, and your first question might simply be “how?”. As our Level students and alumni embark on their own unique pathways with data, we make it a priority to keep up with and share their stories so that you can get an idea of how you might start yours.
Recently, I had the chance to sit down with Level alum, Matt Serio, to talk about his experience and current role as a Logistics Analyst. Matt’s journey reflects the full Level experience, starting with the introductory program in Boston and moving through the intermediate program online, and now, ultimately, culminating with his enrollment in the Master’s of Professional Studies in Analytics program.
Could you tell us a bit about your educational and professional background? What made you decide to take the Level bootcamps?
I am a graduate of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, with a Bachelor of Science in Marine Transportation. Upon graduation I sailed as a Third, then Second Officer on Research Vessels for the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Bulk Carriers for United Ocean Services/LMS Shipmanagement, and concluded my seagoing career on Container Ships for Maersk.
Currently, I work in a shore side position managing Self Unloading Bulk Carriers for CSL Americas, as well as in end user testing and development for a Ship Scheduling Optimizer. Level was a great option for my current career and role, where I needed to further understand analytics quickly and thoroughly.
After starting in the Introductory program (Level Set), how did your experience prepare you to advance further in analytics?
The experience in the introductory Level program really prepared me by touching on a variety of topics, while diving deep enough on a few to gain real competency. The Introductory program set me up for the Intermediate Core program by teaching the background in probability and statistics that I’d need for more advanced analytics.
What were some of the key reasons you decided to continue with Level into the intermediate program?
The intermediate program was an attractive option because the program gets to the most important aspects of data analytics. Introductory by itself was a lead in and in my case, a necessary one. I recommend the introductory data analytics program if your knowledge of statistics isn’t current, and found the experience to be even more fulfilling moving into the intermediate program.
How have you built your data portfolio across the two programs? Are there certain elements & tools in Data Analytics that you’ve found you enjoy working with more than others?
I feel confident working in a variety of tools, and more confidence in the ability to continue to teach myself. Between the introductory and intermediate programs, I was introduced to Tableau, Machine Learning SPSS, SQL and R, among others. R in particular is a tool that I continue to use, and benefit from. Without the instruction in the intermediate course, I would not be able to work in it nearly as effectively as I am currently able to do.
You’re currently working as a Logistics Analyst at the CSL Group, Inc. How do you feel the Level programs have helped you advance in or gain confidence for this role?
These tools covered throughout Level have allowed me to not only see how our programs work – or are intended to work – on a more granular level, but have also allowed me to think of problems differently and approach some of my work with a different frame of mind. I find that to be incredibly valuable.
Have you faced any challenges in your role?
Of course! Learning to code in a limited fashion, and then trying to bend it to your will, takes a great deal of practice and patience. There are basic functions that I was more comfortable in while using Excel, but to go beyond that, R was my tool of choice, and with work, it continues to help me in my career in data analytics.
What’s your day to day look like? What is expected of you as the Logistics Analyst?
I have two main functions as a Logistics Analyst. I work on an operations team, and personally have management responsibilities for up to 5 ships at a time. In this, I negotiate and invoice on the terms of the contracts with the customers, as well as working with the Captains and port agents to ensure all aspects of each voyage are pushed through to the next phase. The other aspect of my role is that of testing and working with developers for an in house Schedule Optimization tool, which aims to schedule our fleet of 18 vessels. Along the same vein, I have worked towards improving and generating our analytical capability from an operational perspective.
What has been the most exciting data project you’ve worked on?
The most exciting has been the fleet Schedule Optimizer that I mentioned above. Although, I would say that through this program a great deal of other ‘spin-off’ projects have begun, as organizationally we are looking to refine our data management practices.
In your opinion, what is most valuable about a bootcamp program like Level? Would you do it again?
The most valuable thing about Level is that it is absolutely practical. While I believe that there is room in the workplace for both soft and hard skills, this program will deliver on the latter in a profound way. The program opened my thinking up to so much more, that I can’t wait to take the next step. I can say firmly recommend it.
Thanks, Matt! One final question: you’ve applied to the Master of Professional Studies in Analytics (MPSA) at Northeastern! Where do you see your career in data analytics heading?
That is an excellent question! What I can say with certainty is that I am excited to take on new challenges, and feel as though the MPSA program will add greater dimensionality to what I currently understand, and can offer.
Matt’s journey has certainly been an exciting one and we’re so glad to continue to work together and support his goals. Looking to start your own adventures in data and tell a story like Matt? You can learn more about Level and enrollment for our programs here.