Choosing Career In A Different Academic Field

If you have read my previous posts, you will know more or less about my job in this internship at AhaMove. Data Analyst Collaborator – that’s my title. Everyday I manage, extract and analyze data – hundreds of millions of data points – to build analytical models and seek for useful business insights. Having said that, my job is very heavy on coding and involves a lot with math.

On the other hand, I am not a Math major. I don’t study computer science (or comp-sci as we often call) that much either in college – all I have taken is the very first intro to comp-sci class. What I do – Economics and Business Management, which are mostly about how businesses run and individuals interact in economies, apparently cannot provide a strong technical background for me and my aspired career path in data science. As a rising senior who has only realized his passion recently, I cannot change my academic major either.  I’m risking into the field I have not been prepared, and possibly wasting my years of studying in college. Uncertain and worried, therefore, are the obvious feelings.

Bringing up this topic, I received various reactions. My parents, who are worried about the future of their son more than anyone, suggested trying other options beside data science. My close friend who has always been supportive to me cheered me up, saying persistence and hard work will always pay off.

I have realized that only I can make a decision for myself. Maybe data science is the right choice, maybe not. One way or another, I can only know once I have tried my best and put in everything. To do so, I decided to overload and take more classes in order to be a math minor while at the same time self-studying online courses and coding. Before summer, I tried to apply for various data science-related internship, and got an offer from AhaMove.

When I first came here, it surprised me that none of the analysts at AhaMove studied math or comp-sci in college. In fact most of them were like me, economics or business management majors, with one or two mechanical engineers. They all self studied and took online courses in coding, math, algorithm, machine learning… both in college and even when working at AhaMove.

Seeing people who have similar challenges and, more importantly, have overcome those obstacles, I became more confident.Obviously their successes do not guarantee mine, but they do show me that if data science is what I really want, if I work truly hard and put everything into it, there’re still chances for me. That’s one of the first and foremost things I have learned here at AhaMove, and I guess also one of the most important.

Team trip

We had our first trip together as a team last weekend. We went to Sapa, a famous tourist area up in the northern part of Vietnam. Among the mountains and forests, we spent two days and two nights to climb Fanxipan – the highest spot in Southeast Asia, visit villages, enjoy delicious local food, and sometimes just simply stay in our hotel rooms and play board games until morning.

Sounds more like a fun trip with friends rather than a company trip, isn’t it? I guess it’s because of the culture of our company,  a tech startup composed of mostly young people – even the oldest member, our CEO, has only been in his early 30s. Working with like-minded people of similar ages makes everyday at work seem more like a day hanging out with friends than a regular rigid 9 to 5 office day.

This is the same feeling I had when I was working in the Operations team last summer. Such relaxing and connecting atmosphere, one of the reasons I decide to come back here, has been a unique characteristic of AhaMove, creating strong bonds between individuals of the company. We have our second trip – the real company trip –  coming in two weeks in which members of both Northern and Southern branches are going join together on a two-and-a-half day in Danang. “Excited” surely is not enough to describe how I’m looking forward to this. Should be a fun and memorable time of me in this internship.

“Vote Kill” (with the thumb down) is a popular phrase in the Werewolf board game and has become our team’s motto after the Sapa trip