July 28, 2021
“You should just look around and especially use networks like the one from moinworld, because you learn so much more about what you can try out or which events you can participate in - it’s also much more fun together than sitting alone in front of the laptop.”
Today we interviewed Verena who joined our mentoring program as a mentee. The interview was conducted by Katharina Platzer. She is currently in her master studies while working as a Product Owner in the Automotive sector and is volunteering for moinworld.
Verena, please introduce yourself briefly.
I am 36 years old and I have worked in controlling in the aviation industry for quite a few years. I started a new job on 01.06.2021, which is still related to controlling, but it is not the classic financial controlling. The job title is “Senior Strategic Planner” and essentially involves financial planning, but in the pricing area with much more data analysis reference, meaning SQL and database use. I am also based in the area that uses MachineLearning methods a lot.
What field did you originally come from and what did your further education to become a business analyst look like?
I originally studied Aviation Management because I always wanted to be in the industry. I started with a dual study program, then continued my studies while working, completed a master’s degree in economics, and then did a postgraduate degree in IT business administration. After that, I continued my education through online courses, did a part-time bootcamp in Business Data Analysis, which was about SQL, Power BI, the R programming language, and also use cases. It was an intersection of Data Science and the business side. Then I did a Nano Degree in Digital Transformation and right now I’m in TechLabs’ Digital Shaper program. It’s a part-time bootcamp focused on Data Science,which also involves programming with Python and we’re working on a project that funnily enough takes place at my current employer, which wasn’t even known when I applied for the program. I never really studied computer science in the classical way, but I did the courses at moinworld and then further education here and there.
What appeals to you most about the field of data science and business analysis?
I like this interface function because you don’t just write code and do analyses, but you can also make business recommendations based on them.
Why did you join the mentoring program?
It wasn’t that I said I wanted to make a radical job change or become a techie now, but I didn’t really know what I wanted and needed help figuring that out. I also knew that there were other things I wanted to work on. So my real main issue was how to be clear about what I actually wanted, how to initiate change and make decisions. In the end, of course, the mentoring program had an impact on my job change.
What is your relationship like with your mentor? What do you have in common?
My mentor, Clarisa, has also worked in the airline industry. And the funny part in our story is that we both don’t now either.That’s why she was able to relate much better to this sticking point I had. She helped me with the question of whether I now always want to stay in this industry that I was passionate about or whether I should rather focus on my job itself, regardless of the industry.
What makes the mentoring program special?
I think it’s pretty good that on the one hand there’s an organized framework and get togethers where you can exchange ideas with each other, but on the other hand in our mentoring are super free and individual. There’s not one heading and everything has to run under that, but we can work on our topics freely. That’s why I was given homework by my mentor to prepare slides with the topics I wanted to talk about with her before each session. I found that very good, because it forced me to deal with the topics.
What was everyday life like between you and your mentor?
We only met virtually. We made our fixed appointments in advance and met about every two weeks. A week before our session, I sent her slides with topics I would like to talk to her about, such as how I can make decisions. Then I would often get feedback with a follow-up task, which included, for example, preparing four situations where I couldn’t make a decision, and we would go through those situations together. And that’s how we approached each topic. She also had super good book tips for each topic. Also, it was great that not only the mentoring program itself, but also my mentor was always available for me to talk to. She was also approachable for me outside of the regular sessions.
Do you have any experiences or learnings that you would like to share with women in IT?
Depending on what exactly you want to do, a computer science degree is not mandatory as there are an incredible amount of continuing education opportunities, some a bit more expensive, some even free. There are super many ways to work your way into the topics. Once through moinworld, but also other bootcamps. There are so many initiatives that also promote this without having to pay much. You don’t need the big computer science degree to get familiar with the topic and to go deeper into this matter. You should just look around and especially use such networks like the one of moinworld, because this is so valuable, because you get to know so much more about what you can try out or which events you can participate in. And that’s a lot more fun together than sitting alone in front of the laptop.
Do you have any final comments?
The reason my mentor Clarisa and I said we had to share this mentoring experience is this one funny situation: we were sitting across from each other in our virtual session and both had announced beforehand that a new job might be on the horizon. Then we asked each other if we had each made a decision. And then it turned out that we were both leaving the airline industry after almost 15 years and were each going to accept the new job offer. We accompanied each other on the way to this decision.
Author: Katharina Platzer (you can find her on Linkedin here)
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We will also have a Meetup celebrating the ending of our first mentors and mentees batch in September. Everybody is welcome to join and listen to some of the success stories. Just follow our events!
Read more about some of our great mentors here.