My 2023 Midyear Review

By Millie O. Symns in Reflections

June 30, 2023


With the closing out of the year’s second quarter, of course, the drop in SCOTUS rulings does not benefit the global majority. It is such a crazy time to live in. I would have never dreamed that in my adult life, I would be living in a version of the U.S. where Roe v. Wade and affirmative action partially rolled back, and the ability to discriminate against others based on religious belief for services. With all of the going on as the Earth is going through crazy heat waves, wildfires, and even more natural disasters, we are in continuous denial of the hand human behavior has to play in it and the need to change (mainly corporations and governmental policies). And all of this has me in a crazy headspace.

But I digress because the best I can do is in my immediate universe of control, including voting, speaking my mind, and being kind to others.

Reflection time!

This time, I wanted to take a beat and reflect on where I am. I was going to do a technical post on what I have been working on, but I felt I needed to sit and reflect on where I am today in my career learning journey.

At the end of last year, I had three goals or north stars to guide me in what I wanted to work towards next year:

  1. Learn more about business needs and business intelligence
  2. Dig deeper into data modeling and analytics engineering
  3. Share my thoughts with wider audiences, like a talk or presentation

Progess Report

🗂️ So let me tell you where I am at with these things halfway through the year:

Learn more about business needs and business intelligence

This has just been organically happening as I have continued working in my role at Thinx (which is coming up a year shortly - wild!). For a while, I missed just “knowing things.” For example, having worked in education for 5+ years, I could have conversations about postsecondary programming, and secondary education needs for students from traditionally marginalized communities all day. I have facts ready and can iterate on the research and thinking in those fields. I knew what new literature to read and could geek out on it.

Shifting to e-commerce and retail, I lacked any familiarity as I did in education. For someone like myself who likes to learn but feels comfort in knowing, the vast set of time just not getting things felt uncomfortable; therefore, this was my goal for next year to gain knowledge in business intelligence. I am doing well in that department, given that I can contribute more to team conversations than before. I have gotten a couple of big projects and a super supportive team, so I feel well on my way to meeting my north star this year. ❤️

Dig deeper into data modeling and analytics engineering

In the space of getting more into my day-to-day work, towards the end of last year and early this year, I started looking into and attending dbt meetups. I didn’t hear of or know the term “analytics engineering” until my old supervisor moved on to a new role, and I had conversations with folks in the dbt community. When I looked it up, it sounded like a good bit of what I was doing at Thinx.

I have not done much digging into that field outside of my job, but I understand it more. It also helps meeting new people doing similar jobs. I look forward to spending more time on getting to learn more. I would have said no if you had asked me if I would like to be a part of building anything with dataflows years earlier, but now I do enjoy it. Growth - crazy times! 🙃

Share my thoughts with wider audiences, like a talk or presentation

This north star felt like a stretch for me, but not in the way you might think. I have given presentations or talks before - that part isn’t new. But I have not given talks in this new sector or field, and that part feels scary. You have to put yourself in uncomfortable situations to grow, right? (So they say). I put this out there to see where the universe would take me on that one, and so far, it has pulled me into a vortex.

This year, I looked into a dbt slack group and saw a familiar name from the R community who now works at dbt Labs. I reached out to say hello and ask about the conference that was coming up this year, and I was convinced to speak at a local meetup. Then, earlier in March, for International Women’s Day, I got to present at a local NYC dbt meetup, which was also my first in-person meetup. It was wild to me to speak to a community that I was brand new in and barely knew much about, but I enjoyed it so much. And the folks were super great and inviting! I hope to go to the larger Coalesce conference later this year (if funding and timing works out).

✨ In other news, I recently learned that I will be a speaker at the Posit Conference! ✨ I applied with zero expectation of my talk being accepted, but there goes that universe again, pulling me into the vortex. 😆 I am very honored to have the opportunity. I have no clue how this will go, and I am nervous about it, but I am mostly excited! The talk will be about my blog post at the end of last year on the side effects of a year of blogging. I plan to reflect on what I learned and inspire others to take the leap and do the same.

Making moves

That is where I am with my big career goals for this year. I am proud of where I am so far, given that it has been a rough quarter and change for me personally. Nevertheless, I am resilient and making big strides. It should be a good time. Until next time! 💨

Posted on:
June 30, 2023
5 minute read, 1022 words
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