Alter Everything

A podcast about data science and analytics culture.
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Alteryx Alumni (Retired)

Calling in from Brazil, we’re joined by Marcus Montenegro, an Alteryx ACE who is passionate about helping his Community upskill in data analytics. Marcus shared examples of how Alteryx knowledge has been a game changer for folks in his network, and advice for how you can get started on your journey. 








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Episode Transcription

MADDIE: 00:01

Welcome to Alter Everything, a podcast about data science and analytics culture. I'm Maddie Johannsen, and today we're talking about how Alteryx can be a game changer for your data analytics career. Joining us for this episode is Marcus Montenegro.

MARCUS: 00:16

Okay. So my name is Marcus Montenegro. I'm from Brazil. I live here in a city called Ribeirao Preto. And currently, I work to PhData, one of the Alteryx partners. And today, what I do here at PhData is I work with many cloud technologies, but I work a lot with Alteryx.

MADDIE: 00:39

Marcus is one of our Alteryx ACEs, super users in our community. And he'll share real stories of folks who upskilled with Alteryx to change the course of their careers and their lives. Let's get started.

MARCUS: 00:56

[music] So currently, my position here is senior analytics engineer. But even though, I do many other things, not just in the analytics side, but also in the data engineering side using Alteryx mainly. So yeah, that's pretty much what I do today, but I have actually a background coming from the finance. So here in Brazil, I'm a former accountant, and I believe, four years already. Gosh, okay, four years. Yeah, I did that transition from the finance area to data analytics, and that was using Alteryx for kind of achieve that. It's pretty awesome.

MADDIE: 01:38

Yeah. That is awesome. So did you always want to be in finance, and then once you found Alteryx, you're like, "Oh, I kind of want to expand my industry and just not just be focused in finance"?

MARCUS: 01:51

Yeah. Actually, I started in the finance area because I believe there is one area where you can get a job very easily. All the companies need to have an accountant in there. So I started in that area because of that. But one of the things I believe is the technology just evolve. Because you are lazy many times, so you're always trying to keep doing the same old things. And we prefer to automate things to do by ourselves. So what I decide at some point in accounting area, in the finance area was, "Okay, I can't continue doing all these same stuff people do in the finance area. Every month is the same thing; I need to do the same routines." And usually, the finance area doesn't work so much with new technologies. So was the point where I thought, "Okay, I need to learn something new to kind of automate my routines." And I started to learn a few things to do that, and I started to like. So when I started to like, that was when everything started to come in, right? So I started to learn all the tools. And at some point, I was introduced to Alteryx, and was when my passion started.

MADDIE: 03:08

So once you were introduced to Alteryx, like you said, that's when the passion started, and then you kind of moved into the analytics space in general. How did you find yourself being an ACE? I can see that you're wearing your ACE shirt today. I'd love for you to share with everybody what helped you get to that point.

MARCUS: 03:28

Sure. Actually, what I believe is important to everyone in the world about ACEs, right? And I believe in many of my colleagues, ACEs, thinking the same way as well. We have some requirements, right? That's normal. We have some requirements to be an ACE. At some point, you need to respond many questions in community; you need to get likes for your ideas and comments. And we have this minimal requirement. But usually, what make us ACEs is what we does for the community. One of the things I realized when I started to learn Alteryx was, in Brazil, we have many people using Alteryx also. But one thing I realized was we don't have so much content in Portuguese. We have a lot of good stuff already in English, but in Portuguese, at this point, I didn't have so much things available in Portuguese. So that was when I decided, "Okay, so that would be my way to contribute with people from my country." So when I realized that, I decided, "Okay, the way you're going to contribute, will not be just with responding questions in the community or other things like that." Okay, I did as well, but not just that. What I decided to do is to record videos in YouTube teaching Alteryx for free in Portuguese. So this way, I was able to make available more and more content in Portuguese for everyone here in Brazilian community. And I did, if I'm not mistaken, around 52 or 54 videos in a year, something like that. So a little more than one per week.

MADDIE: 05:09

Yeah. That's amazing. That's a lot of content.

MARCUS: 05:13

Yeah. Exactly. And actually, to be honest, was awesome to do that. I really like it. I will not lie. Was a lot of work to do that. But even though I really liked to do that content for the Brazilians in Portuguese, it's really good to see how that content is still helping many people because, even today after, I don't know, a couple of years I stopped to do these recordings, I really keep getting messages from other people telling you, "Marcus, your video's helping me to take my Alteryx Core exam. So thank you. Thank you a lot." Another day, I participated in another podcast for a Brazilian group, and here, one of the presenters told me, "Marcus, was because of your spatial tool videos the why I got my advanced certification." So that's pretty good to see that feedback. So I did these things not because of the ACE title. Of course, it's really good to get there, to get that recognition, but was not because of that; was because of the people I would like to impact that really happened.

MADDIE: 06:24

Oh, that's awesome to hear. How cool to hear that feedback directly from somebody who you helped out. And I think that's a really good thing that you pointed out as well about the ACE program, is the status is a big deal, but not everything is about that status. And having your work driven by the impact that it has to your community, I think that is more meaningful and more special than a title. So I think that's really great to point out to our listeners.

MARCUS: 06:56

Totally, totally. Yeah. And even because the ACE title, of course, is totally a big deal. I will not lie. It's really good to get that recognition. I love that. But at the end of the day, what is more important in everything is people, right? It's not the title. The titles come and go every time. But the people is always there. And the relationship you build because you was able to help someone, and the feeling you have because you know someone have a better life right now because was able to pass in a certification, get a better job, using one of your content, is awesome. That is what is really most valuable.

MADDIE: 07:37

And it's also really true for just community in general. So not necessarily the Alteryx community, like the online website, It's about literally your neighbor or your coworker that you sit next to or whoever you work with and whoever's in your community. So I think that's really cool to hear. And I'd like to talk more about this idea of Alteryx being a game changer. I know that this is a huge thing for you that you've talked about before in the past. And I'd love to hear just kind of some of the results, with all tricks in general, that you've seen for other people's careers as it being a catalyst to helping them go to the next step and yeah really just being that game changer for them.

MARCUS: 08:25

Sure. Yeah, it's a pretty interesting topic, I believe. Actually, I even talked about that in [last?] Inspire because I think that's very important to people know because, many times, people see new tools as a matter of which one is-- and see like, "Okay, it is a tool that can help in my job, but it's just another tool." But when you talk about Alteryx and how that help you in your career, that can have a lot of impact. So I could talk about myself, but I prefer to talk about others I know. For example, when I was introduced to Alteryx-- that was in a MBA course, and I had a lot of colleagues be introduced to Alteryx at the same time. One of them is Enrique Ribeiro. He's a very good friend I have. Enrique was a tax consultant at this point, and he didn't know anything about Alteryx. It was the first time he looked at Alteryx as well. And he also loved the tool and how that could work him doing his tax projects. So he started to study a lot. He started to get the certifications; he got all the certifications. And because of that, together with his tax knowledge, he was invited by another company and a bigger company as well to-- instead of be a tax consultant, he was invited to be a tax coordinator in this company, but focused in tax technology, in how to leverage the tax technology in the company, deliver more and more based on automations. And the way to do that was Alteryx. They hired him because he know Alteryx, he know the tax side as well, and how to use both together to kind of deliver more for their customers as well. So Alteryx provided to him that new job. He will advance in his career because of that.

MARCUS: 10:23

Another example I can tell you as well is another friend I have, Nava. Nava is a very cool guy I like a lot. If I'm not mistaken, 2016 or something like that, he had his own consulting firm. And he got this project using Alteryx, and was the first time when he saw Alteryx. So he started to learn about the tool and can deliver that to the client. So he delivered that project. He learn a lot of Alteryx in this project. He got another client, a very big client, and that client asked him to migrating a large amount of Alteryx routines from on-premise to Alteryx server. He didn't know a lot of Alteryx Server at this point, but he already had the experience with Alteryx Designer. Even not working with Alteryx in these last few years, he was able to ramp up really fast with the new features and do everything the customer wanted, and he delivered this huge project to that big retailer. And as a result of that, big retailer hired him. Instead of being a just a B2B relationship, a big company decided to hire him as their data analytics leader in the company because he did an amazing job with Alteryx. People like it a lot.

MADDIE: 11:48

And I like that you brought up Server. We have several products, and I think that learning a new product-- we've talked about this before on the podcast, but learning a new product can sometimes come with different reactions: you can either be intimidated or you could be excited. And this person sharing that they really just jumped in, and they were able to ramp up really fast, it does speak to some of the great resources that we have available; the resources that people like you are creating for the community. So I think that the tools are in place for learning the new products that we roll out. So yeah, I think that's really cool to hear that they're being leveraged by people that you know.

MARCUS: 12:31

Yeah, exactly. And actually, I have just one last example I would like to share because that I believe is totally game changer, and not just a game changer, but a life changer. I have this other example, another friend of mine called Marcus Alvin. He is interesting because, in 2020, he was a exchange clerk, nothing like data analytics in his life, just exchange clerk. And at this point, he had his fourth child, Collin, in the way. So was the moment that he thought, "Okay, I really need to do something, change my career, because I need to get a better job than that right now to make more money because I have a new child coming. So I need to make more money because of that." So it was a moment when he decided to transition his career. And he decided to transition his career to data analytics. He didn't know the way to do that. And by some reason - I don't know why - someone just talked to him, "Okay, but why you don't start to learn Alteryx? That can help you." So he liked the idea, and he started to study. And in less than one year he is studying Alteryx and getting certifications, he was able to get his first job as data analyst. And that changed totally his life. And that was in a consulting company here in Brazil. And right now, three years later, he is already working to a consulting company in USA. So that was a totally game changer and life changer for him.

MADDIE: 14:12

Totally. Yeah. And again, kind of going back to that: "Okay, I have this challenge, this exciting new chapter in my life, and how can I set myself up and my family for that?" I think that's so cool. And it is worth also saying there's a lot of work that goes into that too. So I think that's really awesome just to hear people taking the time to upskill themselves and being excited about it and then also seeing the results, of course, at the end of it. At the end of the day, there are careers out there for these skills that you can learn with Alteryx with having data analytics skills. So speaking of careers, as a senior analytics engineer, I think that's a great title. And I've seen that kind of floating around on LinkedIn here and there, but it's also not as common as analyst or data scientists or data engineer. Can you tell me what the difference is between an analytics engineer and maybe some of those other common ones?

MARCUS: 15:11

Sure, sure, totally. Yeah, actually, analytics engineer is a little bit new in the market. People are still getting used to that new title appearing. But it's because we can talk about, let me say, the classic way to think about analytics team, where you have their data engineer doing all the data ingestion, doing some data transformation as well, and preparing the data to-- at some point, a data analyst take this data, do the other data transformations they need, and put in the data [visualization to airport?], something like that, till the business users can consume the data. That is a more classic way to see a data analytics team. But when you talk in a more newer modern [inaudible], we think about the data engineer being that guy who do the data ingestion, take from many sources, data. Will put available in many different databases for tech guys, but will not be so worried about the data transformation. They will be really responsible for data ingestion and how to automate that. And also, if they need to do some transformation, will be just a few things. Nothing major. The data analyst start to be the guy who just consume the data. Will not work doing any transformation. Will just consume the data and put that as visualization. So the analytics engineer will be the person doing that middle. So you'll be the person taking the data from the data engineer, do all the transformations necessary for the data visualization at the end, but that person will not do the data visualization. Will just do the transformations in the middle, but applying the most complex business rules related to that. Will follow all the best practice for the data transformation. Will use the proper tools for that. So that person will be really focused in all that data transformation for the business end. So that is what the analytics engineer does. Will be that person in the middle of the data engineer and the data analyst.

MADDIE: 17:31

Very cool. Yeah, thanks so much for going into that. I do think that there are so many different career paths and different job titles that folks with these skills can have, and so I love to hear that description. And I think it's also worth-- again, on the community, going back to the Alteryx community, we have a welcome and introduce yourself board where we encourage our new community members to go on and say, "Hi" and "Here's my title. Here's what I hope to gain from this community," those kinds of things. Anybody can jump in. It doesn't have to be a new member, but I do think it's super cool to see folks jumping in on that board because we see all different kinds of job titles, all different kinds of companies, and paths that people have taken to get to where they are. And I just think that's exciting for people to hear that there's options out there.

MARCUS: 18:26

Yeah, totally. And you can be updated about the market, right? Because-- as in the market is advancing so fast, right now. We have a lot of new positions opening in the market, positions that no one heard anything about in, I don't know, a couple of years ago. It is really good to go in this place and start to see other positions like that and be able to be like, "Oh, okay, now exists something very specific for that type of situation." Or maybe you take a look in the position and say, "Okay, I don't have any idea about what that does. So let me try to, I don't know, search a little bit about that position. Maybe can be interesting." So just a way to kind of know new things.

MADDIE: 19:11

That's a really good point. And for people out there who maybe they're just getting started or they're just trying to explore different careers, what other advice do you have for them?

MARCUS: 19:22

Sure, yeah. Well, I want to believe is it's normal to everyone. Whenever you start to study something, you're going to start also to like one thing than others, right? So maybe you're the person starting with Alteryx, doing all your stuff, and at some point, you realize, "Okay, I believe I like more to work with spatial. I don't like so much to do data science. That's not my thing. I really like to do spatial research." So that is something, right? That is something you're good, something you like. If you're not in a position [inaudible], that doesn't matter. Actually, what matter is something you like, that is something you can keep getting better. And probably, you will have some place where they need exactly that skill and even maybe have a position for exactly that. For example, in here, I don't see much spatial positions, people working just with spatial, but I have one colleague, ACE, who work mainly with spatial. So she's a engineer working spatial. Diana is another really good friend I have as well. So Diana is also--

MADDIE: 20:33

Diana Sanchez. She's so cool and she's amazing at what she does.

MARCUS: 20:37

Right? So if you were looking for a position at some point because you want to advancing, but you don't know exactly to where you need to go, first, take a look in what you like more to do. Probably, you have something, you have some position, you have something to do with that knowledge. If you don't know exactly where you can find something exactly for that, the first thing you can do after getting better in that knowledge is start to share. You start to share that knowledge; you start to teach people about that. And I'm sure, at some point that knowledge will reach out to someone who really needs that knowledge in their place, and then they will talk with you.

MADDIE: 21:22

And also, I think it's worth pointing out too. I think that everybody has their own unique point of view. And your unique point of view in the way that you share your knowledge might help the concept click with somebody, whereas they could have heard basically the same concept explained a different way, and maybe it didn't click as much or it didn't resonate. And so I think that is something really important to call out that you mentioned of just sharing your knowledge; you never know who it might reach. That's really important.

MARCUS: 21:51

Yeah, people in the community, please just keep going. The community is our place. It's a place where we can keep talking to keep sharing knowledge to keeping knowing each other. So it's great place also to network, to be closer. So I'm really grateful to be part of it. And yeah, I hope to see all of you there.

MADDIE: 22:15

[music] Thanks for listening. To check out all of the resources mentioned in this episode, head over to our show notes at Catch you next time.



This episode was produced by Maddie Johannsen (@MaddieJ), Mike Cusic (@mikecusic), and Matt Rotundo (@AlteryxMatt). Special thanks to @andyuttley for the theme music track, and @mikecusic for our album artwork.