At Work

In God I Trust, Everybody Else Must Bring Data. My data internship at Cowrywise

5 Mins read
Rotimi Adelakun; Data Intern- COWRYWISE
Rotimi Adelakun; Data Intern- COWRYWISE

It was a usual Monday morning about two years ago, at exactly 6:05 am, I found myself scrolling through Twitter, seeking the bant of the day. I was curious to know who the chef and the meal were.

I stumbled on a thread speaking to students who were trying to build and grow their careers, emphasizing how it could be done easily. This caught my attention, and I got three important points from the thread which I also believe will be useful for you if you are currently building your career simultaneously as a student;

This thread prompted my decision to delve into learning different data tools and knowing how data works. As an economics student who has already started building a career in marketing, a foundation in data seemed imperative. If I have to fall back to finance, I would need data and if I want to keep at marketing, data experience would also be an add-on, or I could just build a career in data. And, that’s how all these started.

  1. It is by doing that we will know what it is for us and what is not. 
  2. Build a lot of transferable skills; they prove invaluable during transitions. 
  3. Avoid constraining yourself in the early stage of your career; continuous engagement is key. 

Fast forward to the beginning of my data journey: 

My curiosity about how to get started in the data field led me to another Twitter thread (now X) for data newbies by Tina Okonkwo where she recommended that we should start by learning Microsoft Excel, and its different functions and data analysis capabilities. My learning journey began with Excel and SQL, after which I ventured into Power BI.

The Cowrywise Ambassadors’ Community has been pivotal to my career growth since I became an Ambassador in 2021 and also led the ambassadors’ community in Osun state. I joined the Date team (an in-house learning group for Data enthusiasts in the ambassadors’ community). The periodic lessons, classes, tests, and projects have contributed largely to my knowledge, growth, and the speed of my data journey.

Despite doubting my readiness for a data job, I applied for the internship in July 2023, but my application didn’t move me past the first stage. However, I revisited my application to see what I wasn’t doing right, and I was able to identify a few things, luckily, Timi Joel (Community Lead) helped to point out some of the possible reasons why some applications do not scale beyond some application stages.

I went back to the drawing board, made fixes to my application, enhanced my skillset, and then reapplied the following month (August), I still didn’t get selected, but this time, Timi spoke with me about some reasons why this happened, and encouraged me to reapply the following month (September). I eventually got my offer letter, and I was expected to resume the following week. 🎉

The Blue House: Starting my internship at Cowrywise. 

I distinctly recall my reaction when Timi Joel sent the offer mail. It was a mixed feeling for me. 🙈

My mind was filled with a multitude of thoughts—questions echoing about my ability to thrive with no prior experience. The realization that I would finally be working at Cowrywise brought both excitement and uncertainty. Amidst this internal dialogue, I had to remind myself of the purpose behind pursuing this internship: to gain a head start in data and attain clarity in the field.

Rotimi Adelakun- Final Internship Presentation

My Onboarding experience

My official resumption time was set for 9 am, but considering the notorious Lagos traffic and my preference not to arrive too early, I left home at around 8 am. On that particular day, Lagos decided to withhold her usual chaos, and I got to Cowrywise by 8:20 am. Patrick, my co-intern, joined about 10 minutes later and we soon started a conversation about our journeys and how everything that had happened led us to intern at Cowrywise. There was an immediate connection as if we had known each other previously. I also loved that I would be working alongside someone I could relate to on various levels, though he was interning with a different team as a design intern.

Timi Joel, our intern manager soon came around and he showed us the different offices and teams and what they do. I had to shake different hands with beautiful faces and also wear a fat big smile. Met the members of the data team (my line managers), from Ibrahim, the Data Engineer, to Ahmed, the Data Scientist, and Charles, the Data Analyst. Despite having previously met Ibrahim during my interview, I still took a moment to check out their profiles on LinkedIn, to familiarize myself with the people I would be working with.

I had a quick talk with Ibrahim, to assess my skills and know what I needed to jump on. He asked if I was familiar with dbt which I’ve only heard about once, all thanks to a Twitter conversation on analytics engineering but after the conversation, I gained clarity on the aspects I needed to swiftly delve into and start learning.

My Cowrywise experience 

If someone asked me to describe my experience in one sentence, my response would be, it was a learning curve. I had to learn every day and every time by working with everyone on the data team, from the data analyst to the data scientist and the data engineer. 

During my internship, I had to learn how to use tools like; dbt, Metabase, and Python, while solidifying my skills on some tools I had prior knowledge and familiarity with. The learning continued till the end of the internship. The projects I worked on included a Cohort Analysis Project using Python, where I explored user behavior patterns. I conducted observations of Bloom User behaviors using SQL on Metabase. Additionally, I actively contributed to the customer experience team, by validating queries on Metabase and assisting in the generation of tables using SQL, ultimately improving data retrieval and analysis efficiency.

Prior to joining Cowrywise as an intern, I was unfamiliar with Python, I didn’t see the necessity and I wasn’t planning to learn Python anytime soon. However, when Ahmed reached out that I would be doing a project with Python, I was faced with uncertainty—where would I start? In all of these, I reminded myself that “I was here to learn and I have to just learn and do everything I have to do”. Ahmed was also helpful as he sent links to videos and courses to learn from.

Rotimi Adelakun

Finding clarity- what next?

Working with everyone on the data team gave me the chance to understand the role everyone plays on the team and how each role differs. 

My work with the Data Analyst involves answering business questions via SQL on Metabase and helping other departments as needed.

While with the Data Scientist, I did a project on cohort analysis working with Python. 

With the Data Engineer, my work revolves around documenting Airbyte jobs and validating events on staging environments before they go live. 

This experience will continue to shape my next decision concerning my data career as it is now super clear to me how I want to use my data skills, far beyond just building a transferrable skill set. I understand that there are common tools that every data person uses. I’m looking at becoming very solid with those tools and carving out a niche for myself by leveraging everything I’ve learned during this internship. The internship was an interesting and eye-opening experience for me, allowing me to better understand what data has in store for me and what steps I need to take next.

Thank yoouu! 💙

All thanks to everyone and;

  • Patrick, for being the best Co-intern ever. 
  • Ibrahim, for the everyday check-ins.
  • Charles, for always being patient with my amateur self.
  • Ahmed, for pushing me to learn Python and seeing the bigger picture.
  • Timi, for being the best community lead and helping out when needed.
  • Felix, for teaching me the basis of SEO.
  • Liz, for always answering our questions and helping out.
  • Einstein and Busola, for answering my finance-related questions.
  • Grillo, for simply being the OG.
  • Kizito, for being a cool boss.
  • Razaq, for giving us all this opportunity.

I want to thank the entire Cowrywise family for this opportunity, the learning, and the chance to be part of the Cowrywise family. Thank you.

If you are reading this and you are interested in participating in the Cowrywise ambassador internship program, click here to apply to become a campus ambassador and gain access to this once-in-a-lifetime chance.

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