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Business Intelligence Careers

Diondra Stubbs Business Intelligence Analyst Career Journey

6 min readView all articles
By John Pauler
Feb 17, 2023

Hey Data People,

We recently had the pleasure of interviewing newly-minted Business Intelligence Analyst Diondra Stubbs.

She shares a lot of really valuable information about her job search, the interview process, what she's doing now, and her best advice for aspiring analysts.

One really cool thing about Diondra is she is already giving back, bigtime, on multiple fronts.

First, she's taken a job where she's using her data skills to make a real difference in people's lives. Very cool! You can read more about this below.

And if that weren't enough, she's been very active on LinkedIn, encouraging others, sharing things she's learned, all in an effort to help make things easier for folks who are trying to walk the same path that she has.

I could go on and on about Diondra, but better to let you hear from her in her own words...


You just landed your first job in data. Can you tell our audience a bit about the role, how recently you started, and what it's been like so far?

I am a Business Intelligence Analyst for an adoption and foster care agency. The company offers a number of services to strengthen families and serve at-risk children in Arizona.

My job is to equip the programs they offer with reports, dashboards and analysis that will help them make strategic decisions to improve their programs or make changes throughout the organization.

I started on January 9, 2023. So far it’s been a lot of learning. Within my first week I was exposed to the company’s SQL Database and CRM System. So I’ve been investing a lot of time in understanding the data. There's been a lot of upskilling in SQL and Power BI and some exposure to ETL processes. The majority of my work so far has been QA and exploratory data analysis.

My duties fully include building, managing and maintaining dashboards and reports using tools such as SQL, Power BI, Excel and Zoho Analytics.

It’s been great and a bit overwhelming, but I’m supported by a great team and environment.

What was the job search and interview process like? How many applications do you think you put in? How many interviews did you go through? For the role you landed, can you discuss the hiring process in as much detail as you are comfortable?

Day one of my analyst job search was sometime in summer of 2021. At this time I just finished my fourth year of college fresh off a major change. My first steps involved asking my professors about the data analyst role, where I could find jobs and what skills I would need. But I really I didn’t take applying to jobs seriously until the last half of 2022.

Since 2021, I think I may have put in at least 150 applications. I had several phone screenings but didn’t land an interview until December 2022.

I went through two interviewing processes for two different companies. One was for a Junior Analyst role and another for Business Intelligence Analyst. I had three interviews for each position and was offered both positions.

I accepted the BI analyst position because that’s what I really wanted to do and I was taking a lot of interest in skills like business acumen, communication, strategic thinking, and BI tools.

For the role I accepeted, there were three interviews, including a screening interview to see if I was a fit for the position, and a one-on-one interview with the Business Intelligence Manager to talk about my skills and the position itself. I was also able to learn about the company and what they do.

Normally they would do a take home assessment, perhaps to gauge technical skills, however, the BI Manager took a look at my portfolio and instead wanted me to present it to the team I would be working on. So my final interview was getting to know the team and presenting one of my data projects. A week or so later I was offered the position.

In hindsight, after successfully landing your role in data, is there anything in particular that stands out as something you wish you had done or known sooner? Is there anything you spent time on where in hindsight you feel like your effort could have been better spent elsewhere?

I wish I would have known that skills are superior to tools.

I experienced discouragement and burn out a lot because I was trying to learn every single thing about a tool vs knowing actual skills like data visualization theory, EDA, effective QA, database design and data modeling.

I spent a lot of time trying to go through different certifications like IBM or Google Data Analytics, I think my time would have been better spent if I had known the necessary tools and skills earlier, and had been able to plan out my own curriculum.

As you were learning the skills to launch your data career, were there any resources that were particularly helpful?

A number of different resources were helpful to me on the path to learning the right skills.

The first was Alex the Analyst. I was Googling about the data analyst role and how I can start, and a video of his popped up. From that video I was able to find out the right tools that needed to be learned, the importance of a portfolio, LinkedIn, and a good resume.

Thu Vu was also really helpful. She released a video about the type of projects that need to go into your portfolio and that helped me discover what I was going to put in it.

The mathematics, data science, and computer science and statistics departments at my university were extremely helpful. This is where I learned skills like EDA, predictive modeling and analysis, machine learning and statistics. I also learned Python at university.

I learned a lot from a few online courses as well.

I learned SQL through 365 Data Science.

I learned things like Power BI, Excel and business analysis through LinkedIn learning.

The LinkedIn data community has been the best because I was able to connect with so many great individuals. People like Chris French are amazing. He is the first person I connected with that mentioned Maven Analytics.

From there, I was exposed to the Maven platform. After taking the Find Your Path survey and Thinking Like An Analyst course, I finally felt like I wasn’t lost anymore. It helped me see the value of skills over tools, and it just strengthened the passion I already had for data.

I also got introduced to John David Ariansen and he had some great courses on LinkedIn learning. His courses and Maven Analytics were the last two steps I took before getting the BI analyst position.

As you start your data career, what are some of the things you are most excited about?

I’m excited about growing my skills in business acumen and communication, and being able to use tools like SQL and Power BI daily.

I’m most excited about getting into data engineering and the ETL side of things. I love analysis and data visualization but I’ve always been curious about data engineering. I’m being exposed to things like Azure and Alteryx, which feels like a great opportunity.

If our readers are interested in getting in touch with you or following you, what is the best way for them to get in touch or follow you for more information?

LinkedIn is the best place to get in touch with me. I’m checking it daily and trying to be on top of interaction and responsiveness.

If you could only give one piece of advice for someone looking to launch their own data career, what would that advice be?

Anything you do not know can be learned. No one comes into this field knowing how to do everything. On top of that, there's always something new going on in this field. The best way to win is to develop a life learning mindset. Don’t be intimidated by what you don’t know. Learn it at your own pace and you’ll get there!!

This was such an awesome interview with Diondra!

I hope reading this gave you some useful tips and that you can benefit from hearing about her experience.

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John Pauler

John brings over 15 years of business intelligence experience to the Maven team, having worked with companies ranging from Fortune 500 to early stage startups. As a MySQL expert, he has played leadership roles across analytics, marketing, SaaS and product teams.

John brings over 15 years of business intelligence experience to the Maven team, having worked with companies ranging from Fortune 500 to early stage startups. As a MySQL expert, he has played leadership roles across analytics, marketing, SaaS and product teams.

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