Yahia Kala

Coastal/Water Engineer
Product Manager - Analytics
@ CMiC

I started my career in civil engineering and after a few years, I needed a change. I watched my industry stagnate as the world of data blossomed. I needed to be a part of it.

I had a lot of technical skills but not the “right” ones for a career in data. After taking some online courses I tried to get a data job for about a year, but I didn’t find much success. I was failing coding tests, getting stumped in interviews, and worst of all, not getting enough interviews. I decided to enrol in the WeCareer mentorship program to help make the transition happen. Three months, 600 job applications, and five interviews later, I had an offer for a Senior Analyst position at a big Canadian retail company.

Because of my career as a civil engineer, I knew I could solve problems and learn things quickly. I just needed the right guidance and I needed to get in front of the right people. This was an arduous process. Networking was difficult, Resume revisions were tedious, and interviews felt like tests designed to make you fail. With enough trial and error as well as mentorship support, I was able to hone in on the industry most friendly to outsiders (retail analytics) and eventually got a job offer for a team that needed my skills.

The single most important part of mentorship is accountability. I made a commitment and was accountable to a team of mentors and advisors. The mentors gave me valuable feedback about my resume, my interview skills, and my job search strategy. They kept me on track and motivated me to put in a significant amount of work to get to my goal.

As I grew into my new data role, new job opportunities came up and I found myself doing interviews again. I returned to WeCareer for mock interview help and they helped me land a killer job as an Analytics Product Manager. With the help of WeCareer I have radically transformed my career and now feel like I am living up to my potential.

My one piece of advice for readers is that the field of data is wide open. While there is a lot of competition, you can succeed with the right guidance. Don’t take advice from those who haven’t “been there” – take advice from those who have been in your shoes and successfully made the switch.

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Finding a job is a hard journey, but it doesn’t have to be a lonely fight. Sign up for career services at WeCareer.