Hello again everyone! I am now two weeks into my virtual internship with Wrkit in Dublin, Ireland, and I can already say I have learned so much about data analysis, working in the real world, and even myself. So far, I have been performing some really interesting analyses on data I have been given, and even had the chance to present my findings to the entire company. I am getting a lot of practice using Microsoft Excel and Tableau in particular, and I couldn’t be more excited to keep working and learning more about these programs as I continue my internship with Wrkit.
As great as it has been, there have certainly been a couple things that I have struggled with, especially due to the virtual environment, and the most prevalent of these issues has been ambiguity. As I explained in my previous blog post (Check out https://pittbusinesstotheworld.com/2021/05/31/the-technology-industry-in-dublin/ if you haven’t read it yet), the people of Ireland communicate in a very high context environment, meaning that often when the Irish communicate, they do so without very direct instructions. As an intern with little to no experience operating on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean from my bedroom, the lack of direction has been something that I have had to learn to navigate very quickly. On my first day, I was basically given an Excel document and told to see what I could find about the data, so I really hit the ground running with very little instruction or direction and had to figure out a lot by myself, which was a great way for me to set a baseline for what I am able to do as a data analyst as well as where I have room to grow. Even since that first day, it wasn’t until earlier during the second week of my internship that I was given specific things to look for within the data; however, that first week was a perfect time to refresh my abilities in Excel and Tableau, making it much easier to complete my objectives going forward.
Although the ambiguity is definitely not something I am used to coming from the United States where we are a very low context society that operates with cut-dry-dry directions and clear instructions, it has been a very interesting experience to navigate an environment that is freer. Especially when working with data, having less strict instruction actually is probably a more ideal environment to work in, because it allows for more freedom and time to investigate data from different angles, creating a more thorough analysis of the data, and ultimately making that analysis more valuable to the company. That being said, with little experience as well as limited data apart from what is directly given to me, it is somewhat difficult to investigate the data I am working with beyond a base level. Because of this, one of the things I have been doing to work around this issue is multitasking. In a very dense data-driven role, it is easy to get lost between the cells in Excel, so having fresh data to work with every so often helps to pace my work and allows me to provide better analyses, as I am less fatigued by a dataset when working on it.
Additionally, I have found that when working with thousands of rows of data, and hundreds of thousands of cells to populate, it is also extremely easy to lose my place, especially when finishing up for the day. When combined with a very liberal working environment with little concrete direction each day, this is a recipe for disaster, as I constantly have to catch myself back up to speed each morning, so I know exactly where to begin again from. As a way to lighten this load a little, one of the things I have been doing each and every day to stay organized is logging exactly what I am doing in an Excel spreadsheet. By looking back on my log every morning when I start, I can easily know where to start from and what to do next, which has definitely helped me stay on track when I have limited direction.
Now that I have a better understanding of the ambiguous environment that I am working in and have a plan of ways to navigate that ambiguity, I am much more confident in my abilities as a data analyst, which will only make my experience with Wrkit that much better. I cannot wait for the next few weeks to really get into my stride in the internship, and I look forward to sharing even more about my experience soon. Until next time!