Webinar Summary: How to Succeed at Data Projects Abroad

Angelika Seböková
December 16, 2021 | 6 min read
Last week we kicked off our very first webinar, hosted by our Recruitment Consultant Anna Gabaľová. The webinar was dedicated, but not limited, to any data specialist who is considering joining an international data project. To learn more about how data projects work abroad we invited our guest speaker – Senior Data Analyst Marek Novák from Simplity, an international consultancy company. Marek spoke about his experience working from Europe on a project for an American bank, but also provided general information describing the requirements of international projects, differences from the local ones, and the challenges that you might face.

Why to choose an international data project over a local one?

“The last time I worked on a local project was about nine years ago and since then I’ve been deliberately choosing international ones”, Marek states. International projects are often perceived by data experts as much more interesting because the pool of options that you can try and achieve is much broader. The market in this area is also very competitive allowing you to find interesting job opportunities and end up working for the top-notch brands under terms, that most local employers probably would not be able to offer.

A huge benefit is the opportunity to choose exactly what you would like to work on and align your career objectives to your preferences. Moreover, you will join a team consisting of the top experts with highest levels of erudition and knowledge, enabling you to continually learn and expand your own knowledge, and often use the latest tools and technology. Visiting foreign countries during occasional business trips is an enriching experience as well.

Challenges of joining an international data project

Describing the cooperation with Arvest bank, one of the challenges Marek faces is collaboration with colleagues based in different time zones. Being part of the Simplity team, which is based in Europe, he usually has a round of morning calls and stand ups. As Arvest is located in Arkansas (USA) the ~7 hours’ time shift can be a bit strange. You usually end up working in a two shift scenario where you work in the morning then have some time off and then later, start your second, late afternoon shift. This approach requires a lot of flexibility, but also gives you the opportunity to use the spare hours for your personal needs.

Another challenge might be a language barrier. Obviously, you need to speak fluent English to land such a job, but it always takes some time to get accustomed to accents. Usually a couple of weeks, a month maximum.

What requirements you can expect?

When asked about what requirements were set with the Arvest project, Marek states: “The requirements were quite clear from the beginning. The client was looking for a person who was experienced enough, communicative, able to drive change, and most importantly, able to come up with a solution”. The data team working on this project consisted only of six people in total. The team agreed on using the data vault architecture which gave Marek a great opportunity to have a hands-on experience with that technology. Originally hired as a “Business Analyst” he describes his role rather as a fusion of a Project Manager, Data Modeller, and an ETL Developer.

Role development within the project

“You do much more than just a business analysis”, explains Marek. Within the Arvest project the data team was contacted by a financial department who needed a better overview of the charged fees. First, you need to find out what exactly “a fee” means. Then which of the 300 payments marked as a “fee” you have just found in the data are relevant for this particular case. Later you realize that you need to go to the original source of data, find the correct one, and then move it to the data vault. At this point you work as a Data Modeller – you prepare data hubs, data lakes, data flows, and ETL procedures. Eventually, you get to the point where you have the correct raw data at the right place, but readable only for data scientists. Next thing you need to do is build a consumption layer over your vault, create dimensions, prepare tables with calculations, and come up with a final solution – data consisting of specific figures, easily readable, and understandable by the financial department. Even if you are hired for a role with a specific job title, there are many actions needed to take to meet your goals that may exceed the agenda of just single role.

How to land an international project

Being in the business for fifteen years now (the last eight specializing solely on data solutions), Marek considers the best way to land an international project, without having previous experience with it, is to get in contact with somebody that can provide you with an assessment, as well as mediate the whole process. It helps a lot to have a partner that knows at what level your skills are, matches it with the best opportunity available, and can also help you negotiate better terms of cooperation. Then you need to simply start working on a project and find out if it’s really your cup of tea.

Joining an international project does not have to be a complicated and difficult career step. If you are looking for a new challenge, you aspire to continually learn in your job and work with the best experts in the field available, this might be the best match for you. Having a partner on your side to help you facilitate the entire process is a nice benefit and our expert team is always happy to help you.

We cooperate with many interesting employers, in the field of data management and data intelligence, who offer excellent job opportunities. We hope you liked the topic of our first webinar, and we promise to return with another one soon – which we plan to broadcast early in the new year. Stay tuned and to be the first to know all about our forthcoming events follow us on social media (links at the bottom of this page).

If you would like to watch the video recording of the Webinar: How to Succeed at Data Projects Abroad, you can see it here.

Angelika Seböková
Marketing Specialist

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