We’re already into the second week of 2019 and want to share another story of how our students have built new skills, landed new jobs, and totally changed their lives. So let us introduce you to Richa Maheshwari.

Last year was a great year for Richa. She began married life, she moved from India to Malaysia, and she made a major career move—from journalism to working with data—after studying with Udacity! We recently got the opportunity to chat with her to learn how she changed the direction of her life so successfully in just twelve months.

Great to meet you Richa! Can you start by telling us a little about your professional background?

I studied English for my undergraduate degree and then did journalism at the Asian College of Journalism in South India. After graduation, I worked for leading business newspaper in India called The Economic Times for around three and a half years before getting married. My husband had a job in Kuala Lumpur, so I moved there with him. I needed a job when I got there, but found out that news organizations in Malaysia weren’t keen on hiring an expat. 

That’s why you began thinking of ways to learn new skills to branch out into a different career entirely. How did you decide on data as your new direction?

If you’re a business journalist, you really need to know something about data. I’d done a little—basically just working manually with figures and spreadsheets to write stories about different companies. So, while I was looking out for opportunities, I wanted to use my time to gain skills that would complement and push my profile. That’s really when I learned about journalists developing data analytics skills, and I decided to get serious about data. I thought it would be an added skill that would me get recruiters’ attention and give me the option to branch out into a new career. I started looking at Udacity’s programs, and this introduced me to the possibilities of data and helped convince me it was something I wanted to learn more about.

It was something of a family decision when you identified a Nanodegree program as your route to learning more, wasn’t it?

Yes, it was my husband who recommended Udacity to me—he works as a software engineer and knew all about Nanodegree programs. I also have a number of friends and family members who are business analysts, so I asked them about online education and whether it was a good way to get into data. I wanted to know if I needed to go to university and study full time. They recommended I try the online program option, and I quickly saw they were right—it really can be THE way to land a new career.

What did you think of the Udacity learning experience?

I don’t have a math background, so I enrolled in the Data Foundations Nanodegree program [now Business Analytics]. It was exactly what I was looking for—starting from the very basics and building up once I understood those concepts. It is magical how the program can transform you in a matter of three months and four projects! It was why, after developing my skills by building the projects, I had the confidence that I really could analyze and understand data from a business standpoint. I might not have had a background in it, but I still felt I had the skills and the interest to actually work with data.

You started applying for new roles while you were still in your program. Can you tell us about your interview experience with the company that is now your employer?

The recruiters asked about my program and my motivations for learning about data. They were looking for someone who could help them implement Tableau, so they asked me a couple of deep questions about that. I was actually still really focusing on Tableau in my program when they interviewed me, so I knew about what they were asking and could answer their questions!

You must have really impressed them, because shortly after they offered you the role—even before you’d submitted your final Udacity project! What do you think of your new position?

I really like my work now. I help implement Tableau and test out different business intelligence tools. I use my Tableau skills to help my company analyze its data and make business decisions. I like that there are always fresh challenges. It’s obviously something still very new for me, so I get to learn every day. I really always have to be learning and building on what I currently know.

Having had such a positive experience with your Nanodegree program, are you planning any future studies to deepen your skill set further?

I’m thinking about learning more about the programming language R. And I’m planning to do the more advanced Predictive Analytics for Business Nanodegree program next, to learn more about Alteryx and Tableau. I’ll pursue that soon hopefully!

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Congratulations on all your success Richa! We can’t wait to hear about more exciting new life developments through 2019!

To start your own exciting career journey this year, take a look at our Nanodegree programs today. Enroll in your ideal program before January 23 and get 10% off using the code NY2019 when you checkout!