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Li Howe
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Career Break to study Python and data scienceCareer Break
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Senior Compliance & Recruitment Coordinator, Lighthouse Group plc

● Managed schedules and reporting for a team of 6 Field Compliance Managers and recruiters
● Maintained Microsoft Access and Excel databases, and served on the team redesigning company databases

Credit Controller, Bradfords Building Supplies Ltd

● Designed, built and maintained credit control department databases & reporting systems

Project Support Administrator, Pell Frischmann Consulting Engineers

● Data collection, ETL and reporting for South West Water client programme
● Setup and managed project SharePoint sites
● Designed, developed and managed human resource management reporting
● Microsoft Excel office champion

Business Stream Administrator (Photography)

● Analysed data to report on performance of the Photography department
● Developed, built and managed systems used to schedule photoshoots around the UK
● Developed, built and maintained data integration for the Photography department
● Wrote and controlled all documentation for the department, writing and maintaining standards and processes for the business
● Product owner and SME on internal photography ordering and reporting systems
● As SME, worked with IT support and development teams to provide first line software support to clients
● As product owner, co-ordinated all change management for photography systems

Data & Business Intelligence (BI) Analyst

● Product owner and developer of the company’s global business intelligence platform
● Data analyst and developer responsible for all data cleaning, ETL, data warehouse management, SQL query design and writing, dashboard and analysis design, and all product support
● Subject matter expert on all company data structures, processes, data flows and system integrations
● As SME, worked with marketing department to design all data-driven client personalisation
● As SME, worked with IT support and development teams to provide third line support, systems analysis, and write both user stories and technical specifications for external system developers

Career Break to study Python and data science
Career Break

Studying Python and data science with the Digital Skills Momentum program via The Learning People.

All jobs have their ups and downs, so I don't think I could say that any one role has been my favourite. I would say that my favourite work has been when I get to be creative and innovate with data to solve a problem for myself or my team: work such as creating automation that saves a lot of manual repetitive work, or providing access to information that makes lots of people's jobs easier.

I am a complete nerd in my spare time as well as at work! I read a lot and I watch some TV, mainly documentaries and twenty-year-old Sci-Fi shows, but I'm also a sucker for shows like GBBO or Master Chef. I love shows about nerdy people and their hobbies.

My social life is mainly on Discord - a lot of World of Warcraft and Pokemon Go! I occasionally make jewellery. Every year I try again to keep a blog. I love trying out new crazy makeup looks from YouTube and every three months or so I start wanting a new tattoo.

I suffer from chronic depression and both generalised anxiety disorder and social anxiety disorder. I've had all three since I was at school, and it's caused me some setbacks in my career, but I've learned a lot too. I believe it's important for girls to know that mental health problems happen to a lot of us and for anyone who might be suffering now to know that even if it doesn't go away, it doesn't have to stop them from getting to do a job they love.

Information technology IT / ICT

Find a job that makes you want to get up on a Monday morning. It will still seem like work (that old saying is a lie) but you won't mind. Doing a job that pays lots but you hate going to is no way to live life.

Be curious and creative and kind, no matter what you do.

Research, data and analytics
My Education
BSC Hons. 2:1 in Computer Animation & Special Effects
University of Bradford
Bradford, United Kingdom
A-Level Biology, English Literature, Religious Studies, General Studies
Colyton Grammar School
Colyton, United Kingdom
Art, Biology, Chemistry, Design and technology, Drama, English Language, English Literature, French, Geography, German, History, ICT, Mathematics, Music, Physics, Design and textiles , Food technology, General studies, Graphic design
Colyton Grammar School
Photo Of My Education

I loved physics and biology, learning how things - mechanical or in the body - are put together and how they work. I also really enjoyed writing essays to really explore different topics, in subjects like English Lit and Religious Studies. Analytics and data science really need that curiosity and creativity, so I think having nurtured that at school helped me keep that sense of what's possible when I started work.

In Maths I always found solving equations satisfying, but there were areas I didn't enjoy that much - which just goes to show that you don't have to be wild about an entire topic for it to be vital to the career you enjoy!

More about me

Above any particular skills, you need to enjoy the work. Enjoy knowing things. Enjoy asking questions and enjoy finding the answers. If you have that, then you'll be motivated to develop the right skills, and you'll engage with the people you communicate answers to.

Being able to be detail-oriented and logical is key to working with data. Data analysis is 80% organising data in just the right way to be able to analyse it, and the other 20% doesn't work if the data isn't right.

Critical thinking and creativity are also really important - to be able to see how data in a system fits (or doesn't fit) together and what might be right or wrong about it - but also to work out how to put different data sets together, and have the imagination to explore what it has to say.

And if you're working in analysis, you need to be good at communication - not necessarily presenting to others, but writing or visual communication too. Telling a story with data, a story that will inform and inspire, is what great analysis is actually about.

Most of my skills have been developed on the job. Having worked in various different industries - finance, engineering, franchising - rather than in a straight IT firm has taught me a lot about communicating with different types of people and how STEM skills are really applicable across all industries. I'd encourage anyone interested in STEM to get a range of experience, as it really helped me to think creatively about how I could improve those jobs using STEM skills.

I'm just now developing my skills via a training course, for the first time since I left school; studying Python and data science via the Digital Skills Momentum program. This is a program funded by the government, specifically aimed at supporting minority groups (women, people of colour, and those from low income backgrounds) to get into or to progress in tech jobs. This is a great way to get low-cost training and employment support so I'd encourage any girls looking to develop outside of school to look for schemes like this in their area.

I wanted to work for NASA - I don't remember knowing exactly in what role, but I was really excited by science and space. I don't remember how seriously I or my educators took that, though - hopefully something that's changing for girls now with programs like Modern Muse.

I didn't have any other specific career aspirations - in fact it wasn't until I started my most recent job that I really worked out what I wanted to focus on. I think it's okay not to know exactly what you want, when you're still in school or even when you leave. The job I do now didn't really exist in this form when I was in school! STEM jobs evolve really rapidly, and a career is a lot longer than the time you're at school - there can be lots of different things you end up wanting to do, or the job for you just isn't there yet.

Starting out again, if I knew what kind of work I was going to enjoy? I think I would just be more focused about pursuing it. I'd definitely take a more technical degree! I think I'd look more closely at the areas of different subjects that I enjoyed and was good at - like equations in maths, or coding in IT - rather than assuming it wasn't for me just because there were some elements I wasn't a fan of.

I've also struggled with my mental health a lot during my education and working life, and that's hampered me in getting where I would like to be. I've always pushed hard to get support and treatment, but it's tough - if I could start over with the diagnoses I have now, I think it would be easier.

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