My Tech Journey - Joshua Zink
It's summer and all we have in mind is VACATIONNNN! If you've already started your vacation or are preparing for it, a good read it's a wonderful way to start the day.
Tupu is proud to present Joshua Zink's tech journey! Although Joshua transitioned into tech not long ago, he made it his mission to help others do the same. And with a lot of enthusiasm and generosity, he is now a mentor at Tupu.
What do you currently do for work?
My official title is: "Data and Insights Analyst", but my day-to-day work involves building, maintaining, and supporting data models for the business revenue team at Anaplan.
What is your educational background?
I have a BFA in Animation and Creative Writing and a Master of Education
When and how did you get started being interested about programming/tech industry, and how did you learn?
I started considering a career shift towards the end of 2021 during the Covid Pandemic. I was feeling burned out from teaching and frustrated by the lack of support from our school district. Additionally, my wife and I felt like we were living paycheck-to-paycheck in our one-room apartment while she was finishing her PhD program. It was becoming clear that this was not the lifestyle we wanted to live. My wife had heard about a friend who was able to double their salary after completing a certification program for Anaplan. At the time, I had no idea what Anaplan was or what data modelling was. Nevertheless, I enrolled in a two-month certification process in the spring of last year. Roughly four months after the program, I landed my current position.
Which books/online courses/websites were helping you the most on your journey?
In addition to the certification program at Anaplan, I watched a lot of youtube videos to learn what programs I should learn for a role as a data analyst. Ultimately, that proved to be the best source of learning because other programs were too expensive for me at the time.
How has mentorship played a role in your tech career?
Honestly, I've had very little mentorship prior to entering the tech industry. There was one mentor in the Anaplan certification program who was extremely kind and supportive during the program, but once the program ended, I felt as though I was on my own navigating a field that I didn't quite understand. Fortunately, there were several people I met through Linkedin via cold calls who were kind enough to help me get connected with the right people.
I thought I needed to become a master of everything but in doing so, I actually became a master of nothing
What do you wish you had known when you started your career in tech? What advice would you give your younger self?
I wish I had seen the value in my communication skills. I believe that, far above my data analysis skills, were instrumental in me beating out 500 other applicants. After completing the certification program I should have focused my learning on the most essential programs (Excel, SQL, Python) for Data Analytics. I thought I needed to become a master of everything but in doing so, I actually became a master of nothing.
What would you recommend to someone who is interested in starting with coding/designing/managing, but doesn't know exactly where to start?
Watch Youtube! There are so many different avenues to take in tech, it can seem overwhelming at first. I gravitated toward data analytics because I learned it shares many characteristics with my background. Data is narrative. It tells a story. I also used data all the time as a teacher to help support the learning of my students. I was always interested in studying the data to learn how I could best support my students.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time? What are you curious about?
I spend most of my free time playing video games, but I also do some oil painting (currently working on a commission for a friend), and I am always listening to political and personal finance podcasts.
At times it can feel like there is very little we can do to affect change, but I currently find myself in a privileged position where I have an opportunity to open the door for so many people that perhaps would not have that opportunity otherwise
Why did you decide to sign up as a mentor/mentee for Tupu? What has your experience been?
I have been deeply passionate about issues of social justice for a long time. My first act of "civil protest" was writing a letter to then-President George Bush, renouncing his ban on gay marriage. I also became more aware of existing racial inequities and injustice after meeting my wife who is a Black woman. We started our relationship shortly before the #Blacklivesmatter movement started in response to the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many other people of colour. These events deeply upset us and left us aching for a better future for our children. At times it can feel like there is very little we can do to affect change, but I currently find myself in a privileged position where I have an opportunity to open the door for so many people that perhaps would not have that opportunity otherwise. Changing to a career in tech radically changed my quality of life for the better, and I want to do everything I can to help others achieve their dream job in tech. That's why I'm SO EXCITED to be a mentor at Tupu!😀