A former pageant contestant turned project manager at a tech solutions company – Meredyth’s career makeover sounds almost like the synopsis of a present-day fairy tale. However, her road to professional success was not an easy or a straightforward one.
Born in a third world developing country, Meredyth left for Singapore alone at the tender age of 10 in hopes for a brighter future. After finishing her secondary education, she moved to England to attend college. During her studies there, Meredyth’s fluency in several languages opened the door to freelance gigs as an English-Chinese-Burmese interpreter for embassy ministers in regional events - a job she managed to combine with assisting in research conducted by NGOs and international organizations.
Then, in 2014, as her country was opening up to become more democratic, Meredyth decided to enter the first Miss World Myanmar contest since the socialist era. Winning first runner-up, she started working on humanitarian agenda like poverty reduction and human rights. Later on, this motivated her to major in Social Science for her university degree in neighbouring Thailand, with dreams of working in the United Nations.
But upon graduation, she chose a different way to help people in need - by joining a fintech startup to advance financial inclusion and serve the underbanked population.
Despite wearing multiple hats at the time, she was predominantly working in the data analytics team as a business intelligence specialist.
It was then that Meredyth’s determination to improve her skillset led her to 365 Data Science.
Starting with no formal training in Finance or Computer Science (not even a Business background), I had a steep learning curve to overcome due to my lack of knowledge in this domain.
Meredyth wanted to acquire the skills that would allow her to add greater value in her work and, at the same time, contribute to her personal development.
But discovering the right training wasn’t simple. Since the fintech startup was headquartered in Thailand, there were very few data science classes available in English within the timeframe and cost she could commit to. Meredyth found herself struggling to get the guidance she needed in order to make a greater impact through her work and exceed her OKR targets.
I was overwhelmed with many resources I had found on the internet and in person. I chose to study with 365 Data Science because it provides a well-curated platform for my career needs that was also beginner-friendly, accommodating to my day job, and allowed for flexibility to manage my time.
Another important factor that solidified her decision was the 365 Data Science community – as a young professional with no technical background to start with, having a support system of instructors and fellow-students to keep her going and motivated throughout her learning journey felt truly important.
Meredyth also figured that online courses would be more efficient timewise and much more affordable than in-person education.
The courses were in English and were offered at a relatively budget-friendly rate compared to in-person lectures that are more expensive and in Thai language. I do like in-person classes, but 365 Data Science also has a Q&A community of learners for open discussions.
“On the other hand, other e-learning options like Coursera, EdX and other MOOCs felt like there were too many compartments and sections,” she continues, “and, although they had accredited university affiliates, 365 Data Science has real industry experts sharing insights from their experiences, which is a great alternative too.”
As to the training itself, Meredyth liked the fact that there were video lectures accompanied by additional study materials and practice exercises to reinforce new knowledge. What’s more, certifications at the end of the course added to her enthusiasm to sign up, validate her future expertise and prove commitment to the field.
After some careful consideration, what moved her needle towards 365 Data Science was the structured curriculum and the well-curated manner the content was organized in. And the rest is history.
“Pivoting from pageantry and diplomacy to banking and IT industry, I was able to learn at my own pace and apply the knowledge directly in my fintech profession - especially the courses on Python for Finance and Business Analytics”, she elaborates.
As Meredyth continued to upgrade her skills with the program on ever-evolving subjects, she progressed on with her career from digital payments, blockchain, and cryptocurrencies to her current position as a project manager in extended reality - working on innovative VR/AR/MR features to transform retail ecommerce and help communities thrive in a pandemic-hit economy.
Today, drawing from her own experience, she advises aspiring data science professionals who hesitate to make the first step, to take calculated risks by first picking up an additional short-term contract role to test it out. “Maybe you’ll have an opportunity to work in a related field or you’ll find out that you enjoy product management like myself. By then, the knowledge you have obtained from data science can also help you in doing well in your new role, no matter what it is.”
In any case, the project manager recommends 365 Data Science as a great solution to people with various learning goals and needs.
If you are a beginner doing a career switch, you can grasp a solid foundation before progressing on advanced specialization to cater for their specific work. The program also has new courses added time to time, so even an experienced professional could use a refresher on new technologies and updated best practices.
On a personal level, Meredyth is happy that the training has instilled a growth mindset to be a life-long learner and helped her prove to herself that even without a traditional STEM background, she can continue to carry out her civic duties in a better way by leveraging cutting-edge technology.