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How a former professor turned stay-at-home parent enrolled with Udacity and became a Data Analyst
I’d like to introduce you to Kevin. He’s a husband, father, and today, a data analyst. But that wasn’t always the case. A few years ago, his family undertook a major change that significantly impacted his life and career. At that time, he was teaching Arabic as an assistant professor at Appalachian State University.
The change was set in motion when his wife was offered an incredible career opportunity in her hometown of Austin, TX. Together, they made the decision to put Kevin’s career on hold so that she could pursue hers. With their 1-year-old son in tow, they trekked west, and Kevin became a stay-at-home dad.
Suddenly, his daily schedule shifted dramatically from being on the university campus all day teaching, grading and conducting research, to being in their new Austin home with his son, feeding, diapering, bathing, dressing, cleaning up, doing laundry and managing naptime.
For reasons both financial and personal, Kevin still wanted to work, but there were no jobs for Arabic linguistics professors in Austin. The idea of starting over from scratch weighed on him, and he was bothered by the idea that all his previous work might prove irrelevant.
During his PhD coursework, when he was studying how people learn the phonetics of Arabic, Kevin had employed quite a bit of statistical analysis. Reviewing local job boards, he could see there were hundreds of data analytics-related positions open in Austin that seemed promising. But the problem was, these roles required more sophisticated knowledge about modern tools and programming languages than he possessed.
Kevin started researching ways he might gain these necessary new skills, while continuing to care for his son at home. That’s when he discovered Udacity’s Data Analyst Nanodegree program. Unlike other online options, Udacity seemed to offer more opportunities for engagement with experts and fellow students, and that was important to him. Crucially, the program also included career-related advice and instruction on everything from interviewing to managing his professional profiles.
So Kevin enrolled. It wasn’t easy finding the time for coursework, but they were fortunate to have family nearby who could provide care. So while it was a bit of balancing act at times, and Kevin was often more tired than he wanted to be, he was able to work his way through the projects.
A year later, Kevin graduated from the Nanodegree program. He’d earned the credential, he had the skills, but he still had to find the job, and that came with its own set of challenges. Applying for data analyst roles was very different from the university positions he’d been used to. But he stuck with it, refined his applicant materials as he went, and learned from every interview.
This process of constantly evolving his job search strategy proved critical to his ultimate success, because while many of his interviews included technical assessments that closely resembled projects from his Nanodegree studies, he also had to improvise his way through new scenarios he wasn’t expecting.
After several months of interviewing, he was offered a Data Analyst position at piLYTIX, and he accepted!
“This November, I will celebrate my 2nd work anniversary with piLYTIX, and I’m happy with the growing responsibilities, the new skills I’m continuing to acquire, and the opportunity to grow within the company. My position involves problem solving, exploring data, conducting research and interacting with clients. It’s collaborative and challenging—I love it! Rewind three years, and I never would have thought I would make the leap from a linguistics professor to a data analyst. I feel incredibly lucky to have been able to support my wife in her career and reinvent my own, all the while building a special relationship with my son – thanks to my family and Udacity.”
Congratulations to Kevin!
Everyone here at Udacity is thrilled for your success Kevin, and we wish your family continued happiness and success!
Kevin’s story of adaptability and persistence shows that becoming a Data Analyst is within reach—even for stay-at-home parents. Who says back-to-school season is just for kids anyway?
Whether you’ve got previous data experience or not, Udacity offers aspiring learners a viable path to a rewarding data career. Our newly-launched Data Foundations program is perfect for beginners, and intermediate-level learners are encouraged to enroll in either our Data Analyst program (if you’d like to learn coding), or our Business Analyst program (no coding required).