Q&A with Joana Owusu-Appiah : Aspiring Data Analyst and Blossom Fellow
- Tell us about your background and experience with data.
I have an undergraduate degree in Biomedical Engineering (BME). The BME I saw on field trips at hospitals, was about maintaining and fixing hospital equipment, which didn’t align with my career goals. Learning a technical skill (like programming) seemed like a viable escape.
When I decided to get technical skills in 2020, I had a general understanding of what artificial intelligence was, but the specifics of how data is the central piece were things I had to learn. Since then, I have developed an appreciation for what data is and the potential it has for humanity.
- What problem are you most interested in solving and why?
I’ve heard stories from married women and even young ladies who used contraception to plan their lives and have since suffered dire (physiological) consequences. I don’t have a plan yet, but it’s an issue I’d like to solve or provide safer alternatives for. It could be a system that predicts the long-term side effects they will experience in order for them to make more informed decisions.
I am still inclined toward the health industry because medical practice is still my first love. I will attain actualization if I am able to significantly impact the female community with my skills.
- How has Blossom Academy and Data Camp prepared you to solve this problem?
After my Blossom experience, I am more confident in my data manipulation skills. From data collection to modeling and visualizations. I believe that whenever I decide to begin this project, I can build something meaningful.
The pool of fellows was also very diverse. For me, what that meant was that I got to listen to and discuss their lived experiences. There were people who had experience working in the industry; others had completed graduate studies. A pool of experiences to draw resources and opportunities from. I can also fall back on human capital from the cohort to form lasting business and project partnerships.
DataCamp, on the other hand, complimented the efforts of the facilitators from Blossom. Through the platform, I learned extra skills that are relevant to data analysis but that the Blossom curriculum could not cover due to time constraints. There is a world-class certification track that would validate all the training I have received from both institutions.
- What new skills have you acquired through DataCamp?
Intermediate Excel skills, Data communication, and storytelling Intermediate SQL, and I have also added to my Python and SQL skills.
- What do you find unique about the unconventional learning approach at DataCamp?
The simulated software interface for practice. Particularly because some fellows had issues running Power BI due to their RAM sizes. But they still got the most out of the sessions because of the practice interface they got on DataCamp. Personally, I got sold on the real-life projects available on the platform, which thoroughly tested concepts I grasped during the learning phase. There are usually concepts that do not register while I am learning, but the projects usually require that I review them when errors pop up. That greatly improved my learning experience and I am confident I can easily face any problem during the industrial internship phase of the Blossom Academy training.
- How do you think Africans can leverage Datacamp to bridge the global skill gap in tech?
I can speak to the reality of being Ghanaian and about the people in my social circle, who are gradually warming up to Data and the vast possibilities that data literacy presents. The possibilities include job opportunities, better salaries, and bargaining chips for graduate studies in developed economies. However, most of us lack a learning plan as well as practical experience. This is where Datacamp comes in; they provide a roadmap through the career track, reducing the stress of having to search for good learning materials. They also give you the chance to try out certifications to increase your chances of getting jobs after the learning and training phase.
A lot of people know the tools and have used them before, but when it comes to solving problems with the skills, they fumble. Datacamp makes up for all those hurdles. As Africans, we can fall on DataCamp for a holistic training experience. Especially when institutions like Blossom Academy are helping with free access to DataCamp, we have to hop on the opportunity and make the most out of it for ourselves and also for the continent.
I always tell people, for everything data (data science, machine learning, artificial intelligence), DataCamp has got you covered.