Congrats on taking the plunge!
If in 9 months you need to be employed as a data analyst, then we can do some backwards planning:
- Month 10 - Start Job
- Month 9-10 - Receive offer(s), decide, move, get ready to start job
- Month 7-9 - Interview (initial, phone screening, 1st, 2nd, and possible 3rd round)
Which actually means you have 7 months to become employable as a data analyst.
The bad news - you are going to be competing against people who code, and have coded for a while and have probably done the MOOCs earlier than you.
The good news - you have burned the boats and you are now a guided missile.
The key to getting the job will be focusing on the right things.
Here is what I think you should focus on:
The first month is all about figuring out what you are actually interested in, why, and who has a job that you would actually be interested in doing.
- A) Find people who have the job you want
- B) Find out what you they have in common
- Find 5 industries you would want to work in
- Find 5 companies that interest you in each of those industries that hires data analysts
- Find 5 data analysts for each company on LinkedIn, Twitter, blog, &/or github
- Figure out what skills they have, what techniques they use, the languages / frameworks they use, how they describe what they do
- Make a spreadsheet with the 125 people you found and search for commonalities
- Figure out how you are connected to them
- Figure out what they talk about that you know something about
- Figure out their background
- Figure out what they read
- Figure out what they know
Month 2 - 5
After the first month, you now know what they read, their background, what languages, frameworks, etc that they know, you know how they are connected, and you know what they were doing before they have the job you want. Now, it's up to you to become the data analyst.
- A) Become a Data Analyst
- Start learning the language that most of them know/list on their linkedIn profile
- Start reading the blogs/books/projects they have favorited on twitter, LinkedIn, github, etc
- Learn the vocabulary.
- Blog - the goal of the blog is to show a) what you are learning and b) how fast you are learning it
- Start interacting with the people on twitter/blogs/etc.
By this point, you should have the vocabulary mostly down as well as know what the relevant news, projects, people, and languages/frameworks for your specific fields of interest are. Now it's time to start to put what you've learned to good use. Now that you are "up-to-speed" on what is happening, though are not yet a programming/data analyst guru, it's time to figure out why someone would hire you.
- A) Figure out how you would actually add value
- Read about where the industry is going
- Read about where the specific companies are going
- Read about where the specific languages / frameworks the people/companies are going
- Come up with projects they should do given what you've found out. Come up with a few for each company each day of the month. This does two things - a) it helps you understand from the outside what their goals probably are, b) since you have to come up with so many, you'll have to look at what others are doing in the space which will make you more valuable.
- Given everything that you've learned so far, start putting down on paper email text, cover letter, cv / resume such that it conveys what you have learned and know in such a way that a data analyst would understand why you were a good candidate.
- Start looking at Indeed, LinkedIn, twitter, any and all job boards to see if your companies are looking for positions. Also, since you've studied the field and know a bunch more at this point, you might even see some other companies/industries that you had previously counted out that now seem much more interesting.
Cook the bacon. Now your full time job is to find a job while still continuing to learn.
- A) Find out who is looking for data analysts
- B) Find out who is not looking but probably needs one
- C) Find out who could probably use a junior person
- Continue looking at job boards
- Reach out to people in your network who might have a connection telling them that you are looking
- Think about / work with recruiting agencies
Continue above, interview, get the job. Good luck!
To conclude, here’s the short version of the above:
- Month 1: Figure out what you are interested in, why, and who has a job doing this
- Months 2 - 5: Learn everything you can about the people doing the job you want to do (tools, background, languages, techniques, etc…)
- Month 6: Continue previous month’s work, and now get your head around the industry while starting to look for open positions
- Month 7: Focus on finding open positions and network
- Month 8-9: Interviews, continuation of above
- Month 9-10: Receive offer(s) / feedback
- Month 10: Start Job