My Data Analytics Journey
By Allison Dillon
Throughout my career I have overcome many challenges; perhaps the most notable of these was in 2017 when I was working as a Data Analyst at Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield and decided to switch to the Data Science team. At the time, I had only previously held positions in analytics and had no experience in the data science field. A colleague recommended the role based on my career interests, education and because he thought my skillset would be a good fit. However, the position came with more responsibility, more difficult work, and tighter deadlines. At the time, I was also entering my last semester of my Master’s program at Stevens Institute of Technology, while also working full time; as a result, my time was already stretched thin and I was hesitant to take on a new role. I questioned whether I would be a good fit and if I was capable of the heavier workload that came with the position, while weighing the potential for more rewarding and meaningful work, as well as more exposure within the company. While the opportunity to expand my analytical skills and work on different types of projects made me nervous, it also excited me. I also believed that experience as a Data Scientist would allow me to continue to learn and advance in my career.
Talking with friends and family about my doubts and fears, ultimately, I decided that this could be a fun and gratifying challenge, and chose to take the position on the Data Science team. I did not want the fear of failure to hold me back in my career and also realized that my colleague would not have reached out to me if he had not had the confidence in my capabilities and skillset. Similarly, my discussions with friends and family proved fruitful in exposing the confidence others saw in me, which helped me to believe in myself. In 2018, I successfully completed my Master’s degree while concurrently working on significant projects with the data science team at Horizon. Through my journey in overcoming self-doubt, I learned to push through my fears, and I realized that I am much more capable than I give myself credit for.
The lessons I learned from this challenging experience have helped me in taking on new projects and seeking other employment opportunities outside of Horizon. The confidence I gained has since motivated me to interview for my current role as a Senior Data Analyst at Genesis Research, while also helping me outside the workplace as well. I have encountered many situations in my personal life where I was afraid to overcome an obstacle because of my self-doubt, but my accomplishments during my time as a data scientist help to remind me to forge ahead. We as women oftentimes doubt ourselves, and our confidence in our careers and personal lives. Instead, we as strong, empowered, and capable women should be excited for new, challenging opportunities and not let our doubts get in our way. We can accomplish anything.
About the author: My name is Allison Dillon and I am a Senior Data Analyst at Genesis Research with a BA in Statistics and Mathematics from Rutgers University and a Master’s in Business Intelligence and Analytics from Stevens Institute of Technology, that I completed in 2011 while working full time. I have been working in Analytics for over 8 years. I began my analytics career after college in 2011 as a Data Analyst for Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield. I worked within several areas of the Analytics department at Horizon including Medicaid, Account Reporting, and Data Science. In early 2019, I made the career move to my current company, Genesis Research, where I am working on real world analyses that drive strategic decisions in the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries. I have been living in Hoboken for a little over 5 years and in my free time I enjoy high intensity exercise. I am a member at Crossfit Hoboken and a member on multiple Zog sports teams, including basketball, soccer, and softball. I also enjoy traveling as much as possible. One of my most recent trips was in 2019 where I traveled to South America for the first time to climb Machu Pichu.