Learning on the job with right attitude

Data analyst Gwen Wong, 24, started her job at crowd-investing company Funding Societies without the technical knowledge she thought she needed for her work.

She said she also found it difficult to follow her teammates' conversations initially because they contained jargon and acronyms that she had never heard of.

But the London School of Economics graduate's aptitude for logical thinking and her willingness to learn on the job helped her to carve out a career in data analytics.

She said of the two years and two monthsspent at the company: "The work that I do at Funding Societies has been evolving as I learn new things along the way."

She develops tech solutions to improve user experience and solves colleagues' problems with data analysis and automation, among other responsibilities.

Ms Wong has come a long way from her first day on the job, when a senior colleague asked her to fix a code on the Microsoft Excel programme.

She was clueless at first but managed to fix the code that night in about half an hour.

EASY FIX

When I try to solve technical problems, the problem is either me or my code. That's always something I can fix or control. Technical work is a lot easier to deal with.

MS GWEN WONG, data analyst, on solving technical issues at work.

Her supervisors let her figure out work problems on her own but stepped in when she got really stuck - a move she said has helped her become a more independent learner.

She is fluent in three programming languages - Python, R and SQL.

A friend referred her for the job because he thought she might be a good fit because of her soft skills that might help bridge the gap between the tech and business teams.

Her friend was already working at Funding Societies then and eventually became her supervisor.

She got an offer after a three-hour interview that included solving a logical question.

"I had no idea what data analytics was then," she said. "I was a big tree hugger," said Ms Wong, whose degree was in environmental policy and economics.

"When I try to solve technical problems, the problem is either me or my code. That's always something I can fix or control. Technical work is a lot easier to deal with." '

Aw Cheng Wei