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Stories of WYWM: The Army and Data Analytics (Chris Dennis)

Blake Smedley - October 27, 2021
I began my life in the Army with absolutely no idea what I wanted to do with my life...

Showing up to DFR with not the faintest idea of where I wanted to go, all I knew was that I wanted to join. A few short months later, I was enlisted as a Telecommunications Technician in the Royal Australian Corp of Signals. DFR told me it was like Telstra in the Army.  
 
6 and a half years flew by, early starts, late finishes, numerous nights away from home. I eventually knew that I needed stability in my work/life balance, and I wanted to be closer to my wife and 2 kids. Don’t get me wrong the Army was a blast, but I knew that I didn’t want to be a ‘lifer’. Luckily, a mate was able to secure an interview for me at his company and I was offered a job based on the sole fact that I had a security clearance and that my friend put a good word in for me, I was extremely lucky! 
 
Leaving Full-time service and transitioning to SERCAT 3 I had no idea what to expect. To be honest I had completely forgotten about the Army until I saw an Expression of Interest via WithYouWithMe to join the Army Data Hub. I immediately submitted my EOI not knowing in the slightest what Data they were referring to.  

Come first day of the course I was quite overwhelmed with the course outline and what subjects we had planned on learning over the next 6 weeks. I felt, at the time, that I would not be able to pick it up and that I would struggle. I think most people would have this feeling when going and attempting to do something new that is outside the norm, it is in our nature to want to be comfortable and do things that are easy.  
 
I had two things on my side, however, to change the balance in my favour, the supportive, expert staff from WYWM’s in Jimmy “Data Jesus” Wynen and Scarlett McClure, who delivered face to face training and student assistance throughout the whole 6 weeks. Secondly, the other 14 veterans who were also participating in the program. That “one in, all in” mentality was evident in our group, the only way for the team to succeed was for all of us to succeed, this drove us to support each other, to encourage the sharing of knowledge and information and in the end allowed us all to develop and grow into competent, confident Data Analysts (DA).  
 
The Data Analyst Pathway at WYWM provided me with everything I needed to be able to go from zero to hero. I now have meaningful employment through the Army Data Hub in a Reserve capacity, and I have been given the privilege of being brought on as an Associate Instructor to continue to grow my DA skills and share my knowledge with the WYWM Data community. 
 

If you are interested in Data and want the opportunity to help shape the future of tomorrow‘s jobs, or even if you have no idea what you’re next career/life move is, the WYWM Data Analyst Pathway could be for you. 
 
Feel free to reach out with anything Data related! 
 
christopher-jaames.dennis@withyouwithme.com 
 

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