Today’s Tech Role Model is Marnie Hogue. In college, Marnie majored in math and began her career analyzing data for both academic and non-profit institutions. She worked her way up to a Director of Research position but wanted to make a change. By building her programming skills, she navigated the transition and landed a data role in the tech world. Marnie is currently a data analyst for Plated, an ingredient and recipe meal kit service.
What’s your official title and how long have you been in this role?
I’m a Data Analyst at Plated and I’ve been in this role for 1.5 years.
What attracted you to this data analyst role?
I appreciate the ability to work with people/across teams to solve interesting business problems and help them make decisions smarter, faster and with more confidence. Also, I like the challenge of refining data into a usable format that is interpretable- sometimes it can be a design challenge and the result can be beautiful!
Walk me through a typical day in your role. What activities do you engage in? What types of meetings do you join? When’s lunch?
A huge part of my job is working with the culinary team and so I join a lot of their planning meetings and help them interpret customer feedback. I have weekly 1-1s with different product managers and work with them to define and measure KPIs that are important from a business lens. Lunch is usually around 1:30, and often it involves recipes from the test kitchen!
What skills/technologies help you to succeed?
I rely heavily on my ability to communicate complex ideas in a simplified way, to lean on a team for support when facing ambiguous problems, and to make a recommendation based on data. In terms of technologies, I use Tableau for data visualizations, SQL for pulling data, and Python for manipulating data.
What’s the most fun or creative part of your data analyst role?
I love testing different hypotheses about our customers’ culinary preferences! The results and findings are not always obvious, so this work is interesting.
What are the biggest challenges you face in this role?
I find it difficult to push back on work that is not important to our business and only working on those projects that really matter. A lot of time, well-intentioned colleagues ask for data they don’t need or will not use to make a decision. There are only so many hours in the day, so our team needs to leverage our resources accordingly.
What teams/individuals do you work with cross-functionally? Can you give an example of a time when you collaborated with another group/individual?
I work most closely with Plated’s culinary team and our product teams, I work every day with these teams to help them figure out what makes a good recipe/ menu.
What’s an area where you’re trying to grow in your data analyst role?
I’m building confidence in my recommendations- my ability to form an opinion on what my produce manager should do and then let them react to it.
Aside from technical skills, what personality traits/characteristics make for an ideal candidate in your role?
Data analysts on our team need to feel comfortable problem-solving in a collaborative setting, managing independent projects that are longer-term, and remaining curious about why things are the way they are. Generating key questions and hypotheses helps support the other teams.
What skills (tech/non-tech) have you improved as a result of working in this role?
I’ve learned to manage up and set appropriate expectations. I also greatly improve my technical skills, especially my knowledge of Python.
In your data analyst role, what metrics define success?
For my role, it’s necessary to have a strong understanding of SQL/Python, the skills to write code, and the ability automate processes. I also need to make data “products” that influence the business, hopefully from a measurable financial standpoint!
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