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Early in 2020, like many people around the world facing pandemic challenges, Mike Davis found himself unemployed. He’d been working for a large steel manufacturing company on their financial shared services team, and was affected by a layoff. But every cloud has a silver lining, and with his new-found free time, he was able to do something he’d been craving for a while: to skill up and make himself more marketable.


Mike had always been interested in data analytics. He had an undergrad degree in marketing which required lots of statistics classes, and he’d found consumer behavior analysis fascinating. He already had his MBA and wanted another leg up in the job market. When he discovered that Alteryx had a ‘Career Changer’ program with free online learning, a free 90-day Alteryx Designer education license, and a way to obtain an Alteryx Core Certification, he knew he had found his competitive edge.


A seamless learning experience


And it turns out he was really motivated to learn. He would wake up every morning and start studying, to make learning new skills just like a job. Alteryx made it easy. He downloaded and installed Alteryx Designer on his computer and then went through each of the Alteryx lessons. Having a multiple monitor setup helped a lot – he could have Designer on one and follow along with a video tutorial on the other. Any time he needed to go deeper to figure something out, he would just go to the online Alteryx Community and search through posts from other members. Inevitably, someone else had already solved a similar problem and shared their workflow, which helped Mike devise his own solution.


Bootcamps have become really popular for learning to code, and now they’ve become a popular way to learn data analytics. However, Mike says: “With online self-paced resources like those Alteryx provides, you might not need a boot camp. Having a free resource that brings you through a learning pathway step by step is just as valuable, in my opinion, and a lot less expensive. It’s amazing actually.”


A job search advantage


Within about three months, Mike had gone through the Alteryx learning material, completed a ton of hands-on practice, including fun weekly challenges, and was ready to take the Core Certification exam. He took it, passed, and immediately added it to his LinkedIn profile.


Having the Alteryx Core Certification turned out to be a real feather in his cap during the job search. Often, he was asked to solve a data problem (a.k.a. case study) as part of the interview process, and he could use Alteryx Designer to complete the task. He found that be a massive help, because it allowed him to visualize the flow of data and think things through. “I tried to use Designer whenever I could. In fact, I think it helped me get to the final interview rounds with several companies and receive more than one job offer.”


He ended up accepting an offer from Sophos, a cybersecurity company. “What’s really cool is that they found and recruited me. They were searching for people with data analytics experience in my area. When they saw that I had the Alteryx Certification, it put me at the top of their candidate list.”


Next up: sharing knowledge to mentor others


Mike is part of the global sales operations team at Sophos, working with an analytics department embedded within sales. If someone comes to his team with a business problem, they have the requisite knowledge of the business side - they understand how the data can be viewed and analyzed to get the innovative insights needed for sales optimization and growth. This creates a lot of value for the organization.


His team has been focused on building the analytics program, with an aim toward adding predictive analytics once they’re more established. Mike is excited to have the opportunity to dig in, help improve the data analytics process at Sophos, and help build a larger team. Part of that will involve helping to mentor newer analysts. “In general, I’ve found the technology industry can be slow to share knowledge. To learn about and stay abreast of emerging technology, you have to invest a lot of time and money. But I’m looking forward to sharing what I’ve learned with others. I will certainly help spread the word about free Alteryx learning resources which will help just about anyone get up to speed and find success.


Learn about the Alteryx SparkED education program


The global SparkED no-cost program brings in-demand data analytics to faculty and students at colleges and universities, as well as to individuals acquiring data skills in order to change careers. Get free software education licenses and custom learning pathways. Our goal is to reach one million learners by 2023. Get started today.