Gaining skills in Data Analytics
I enjoyed the virtual experience quite a lot. It was focused on data analytics and 'data science' is becoming a major part of many jobs today due to the importance of 'big data' in the modern world. This field will only get more and more useful so as well as being enjoying, I know that the experience will be useful for a variety of career paths for the future, which is very reassuring to know for me.
I did not feel that valued during my time on the virtual internship as I was not really contributing to the company in any way. It was more of me doing my own work, practising skills and eventually doing similar work to what the employees were doing. However, I did not actually get to work with the employees and I feel like this would make the experience a lot better as I would really understand what a job at the company feels like.
I did recieve a lot of guidance and support from my supervisors during the virtual experience. All of the work that I did and produced was checked over and I was given feedback which really helped me to improve in data analytics. I also got to talk on the phone with my supervisor which made it feel more personal and I was able to receive more advice in this way, which was particularly useful for me.
I think that the skills I developed and the information I received will definitely help me in the future. I worked in data analytics and 'big data' is fast becoming an integral part of many different fields, so I know that in the future when I do encounter such, I will be prepared with the skills I have developed during my time at the virtual experience. Furthermore, it helped me developed my knowledge of data which will be useful for me.
The experience was structured quite well. At first, it was mainly online lectures from someone at the company. Then, we were given tasks to prove that we understood what we learnt and to develop our skills. These were checked thoroughly and we were given feedback regularly. Nearer to the end of the experience, we were given tasks similar to what the employees working in data analytics were given and this was quite inspiring to know that I was able to take on such tasks.
I worked from home during this virtual experience, so there was really not anyone but myself. However, when I was attending the virtual online lectures, there was a really friendly and kind environment that I really enjoyed being a part of. This welcoming environment was extended through the phone calls I had with my supervisors which really made me feel like a part of the company; eventhough I was not physically there, I felt like I was there emotionally.
I think that in terms of personal training and development, the company really did invest a lot in me. This is clearly shown through the regular feedback I got on my work and the extended feedback I got from phone calls. This helped me to develop my skills in data analytics and also helped me to become more resilient and to check my work thoroughly for mistakes before submitting it. This really helped me personally, as well as academically.
The virtual experience did provide an idea of what work I would be doing at the company if I did have a full-time role there. However, since I was not there and not working with the team, I think that I was unable to fully appreciate this. I do think that they did their best with what a virtual experience could offer for me but I would have rather had a placement where I was there working with the team.
The virtual experience did help me to understand company culture. One of the first lectures talked about company culture and I got to see the welcoming environment they had over there. Furthermore, I got to hear more about company culture on the phone. However, I again think that the placement was limited by being virtual as the only way to fully appreciate company culture would be to go visit the office and see it for yourself.
I would not say that the content was valuable in helping decide my career path. I rather think that it helped me to develop skills that I know will be useful in whatever career path I choose. Therefore, I think that the placement is more to develop skills than to explore different career paths, although it could inform you a lot of more technical and computer-based departments of companies so it could be seen in this way.
I was not paid or reimbursed. This was expected as I was working from home so I had no expenses and it was more of a learning experience than an actual job so I was not expected to get paid either.
There were not really any opportunities for networking. There were only two real areas for this. The first was through the online lectures but this was a very formal setting and did not really allow for proper networking, in my opinion. The second was through phone calls with my supervisors which was more effective but I was only really talking to a few people in a formal manner so it was not really widespread networking, which was quite disappointing.
There were not really any networking or social event opportunities. The most networking I had was to my supervisor on the phone. This was useful in personal development and developing my skills. However, it was quite formal so I did not really consider this proper networking. I would have liked there to be more opportunities to meet other employees to talk to them about their experiences and journeys to get to where they are now; this would be really useful.
I did find out about some activities that employees could normally get involved in outside of work. Normally, the company encourages other activities to keep a good mental wellbeing and this ranged from things such as sports to different kinds of volunteering. There was really something for everything and the fact that the company encouraged this was really inspiring to know that the company really cares about its employees and sees them as actual people, not just workers.
I would most definitely recommend this experience to anyone. It helps to develop data analytical skills that will no doubt be useful in the future. Furthermore, it helps to develop personal skills such as resilience. The workload is not too much and I feel that the work and the tasks set are quite rewarding. It slowly builds up towards doing difficult tasks that would seem almost impossible at the start of the experience. It was truly a valuable experience.