A Commitment to Lifelong Learning: How Akinsola Salami Became a Data Analyst
Akinsola Salami graduated from college with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, but began his professional career as a product developer. As a committed lifelong learner, he acquired a wealth of knowledge and experience in his chosen field but wondered if there was more that could help him advance.
“I’ve always been interested in data,” he shared. “As a product developer, I was regularly monitoring consumer behavior in order to understand trends — and that aligned with my interest in data science. I decided to look into educational opportunities and see where they could lead me.”
Then, Akinsola discovered UofT SCS Data Analytics Boot Camp and enrolled. He was ready to embark on another journey where he could learn new concepts, face exciting challenges, and develop in-demand skills.
Viewing data as an art form
Akinsola participated in the boot camp as a fully remote, part-time learner. He enjoyed the flexibility that came with the class schedule and, since classes were held during evenings, he found ample time to review and internalize his learning materials throughout the day. Akinsola’s instructors took special care in breaking down complex topics and, although each assignment came with its challenges, he felt that his instructional staff and fellow learners were always willing to help.
“Boot camp isn’t just a silver bullet,” he said. “It builds a foundation to help you get to the next level. It gave me a strong understanding of where I was and what I had to do in order to get where I wanted to be.”
Throughout the program, Akinsola began to view data analysis as less of a science and more of an art form. He was reminded of a quote by Hannah Arendt that said, “Storytelling reveals meaning without committing the error of defining it.” This resonated with him, since the ultimate aim of his studies was to uncover insights that would drive people to impactful action.
Data analysts are responsible for assessing large sets of information that help businesses make informed decisions. At the same time, they’re also tasked with being master storytellers — presenting narratives that share insights into the world around them. Drawn to this duality, Akinsola dove into every lecture and assignment with enthusiasm. Despite the challenges that came with a fast-paced curriculum, he persevered. Akinsola knew he was right where he was meant to be: a rigorous, yet highly rewarding learning environment that would take him one step closer to a fulfilling career.
Learning to contribute meaningful solutions
Out of all of his group projects, Akinsola’s final assignment resonated with him the most. Specifically, he had to measure the correlation between mental health and climate change. “To this day, this project has the largest data set I’ve ever worked on,” he said. “I had to sort through one million data entries that spanned across ten years and 100 different countries — and the results were enlightening.”
His research revealed that Finland, which has a positive climate factor, is also considered the happiest country in the world. Based on this finding, as well as several other data sets, he concluded that there was an important and very direct correlation between a person’s happiness and their climate.
Akinsola has always been passionate about being an agent for change. After completing this assignment, he realized that the data analytics boot camp had only deepened his desire to develop solutions that help others.
“You need to know how things were in the past to understand present circumstances,” he said. “Data gives you the power to provide people with the information they need in a very intrinsic way, so that everyone can understand the context and decide to make a real difference.”
The importance of authenticity
Akinsola now works as a growth and data analyst for an analytics consulting firm. He collaborates with his team to perform complex analyses and present high-level solutions to clients.
“I’m learning something new every day, and my co-workers are all incredibly helpful,” he said. “Many of them have much more experience than I do, so I try to soak up as much of their knowledge as possible.”
As an avid lifelong learner, Akinsola enjoys being able to grow every day in his new career. Looking ahead, he hopes to eventually become a subject matter expert so he can confidently educate others who share his interests.
When thinking about current boot camp learners who are walking his path, he emphasizes the importance of authenticity. No matter why someone pursues a future in data analytics, Akinsola believes they should present their goals honestly — then do everything in their power to align their passions with their career.
“It takes a courageous person to go on a new and uncertain path, and only those who persevere will see things through,” Akinsola said. “If you believe that what you’re doing is worth it, don’t ever give up.”
Ready to learn in-demand skills and break into the tech industry? Explore innovative UofT SCS Boot Camps today.