Why I Switched Careers from Marketing to Data Science

Why I Switched Careers from Marketing to Data Science

Why I Switched Careers from Marketing to Data Science

I had a successful career in marketing, making enough to live comfortably and pay my bills. In the two years, I spent working between my undergrad and starting grad school I was living. I had a solid social life, weekends to myself, me time, and a little bit of extra spending money at the end of the month. By no means was I rich, but I was living below my means in a $ 400-month basement apartment in downtown Denver. I had fabulous roommates I hiked with and enough free time to drag them through watching nearly 10 seasons of the Bad Girls Club with me.

I had worked for a full-service marketing agency and got to create social media posts that reached thousands of people for brands like Hilton, Starwood hotels and other luxury hotel brands. The only problem was I felt like a traitor. At work, I went from skilled SEO con-artist to manipulative social media manager, to devious digital ad creator. I never felt "good" in any of these roles. The last of which tracked thousands of marketing campaigns to rank how well each product pulled the wool over consumer's eyes. Being at a small startup I was privy to test out these products and can say first hand few were worth what each company charged for them. Despite this, I helped them increase click-through rates and boost their sales. If they made money, we made money.

After a few years of this, the guilt set in. I started to see critical aspects of our society unravel and felt bad that facebook.com was the website I visited most frequently for work for nearly 5 years. I didn't work at Facebook but I sure as hell helped companies make millions off social advertising. Before the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, I wrote a term paper on Facebook's foul practices in my undergraduate Mass Media Law course. And yet I went on to produce years worth of social content and ads on Facebook.

I knew the longer I worked in marketing the smaller the chance I had to leave. As more marketing methods went digital I couldn't find companies or roles that didn't exploit the amount of social media they have access to. I began looking for other career paths that would leverage my other skills like a love of coding, creativity, and novel tech. I found Data Science by accident, my marketing sales role evolved because of my experience in analytics. I looked into what other people were doing in machine learning and I decided I wanted to do that too.

I started grad school wanting to never work on social media data again and after two years of exposure to a variety of datasets. My view now is that it's not necessarily the data you're working with, it's what you do with it. There are positive projects that use social media data as well.

I had a life-changing position at a drone for good company. I worked on creating a firearm detector that could help police determined if someone is armed before they even step out of a squad car. This coupled with definitive evidence an officer had data a suspect isn't armed It was the first time I had an impact on people in what felt like a good way. My time there was short, but I can't look in the rearview mirror now. I can't see myself going back to a company that retargets digital ads just trying to sell more superficial products. Finding a new position has been difficult because the bulk of my experience is in manipulating advertisement targeting and I think there are so many better uses for my skills.

The end of 2018 marks just two weeks since graduation, but I anticipate having my weekends back and enough to SAVE money at the end of each month. My goal for 2019 is to find a position where I don't have to feel guilty about what I do. Whether that's working on fullyConnected full-time or finding another Industry role I'm excited to see where the journey takes me.

If you know of open positions at somewhat respectable workplaces (i.e. not the NSA or Goldman-Sachs) please send opportunities my way at ayodeleodubela@gmail.com

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