My sister-in-law is a fantastic hairdresser and I’m a data analyst.  Not much in common on the surface but think for a minute more and you’ll see why I use her specialism to describe what it is that I do for a living.  Being able to visualise something beautiful from a start point that is either confused, jumbled, scraggy or has generally been left to fester with minimal management, is something we are both able to do.

She has ‘magical hands’ as far as I can tell because when I go to her looking like a bedraggled poodle, she is able to conjure up the perfect cut and style to make my hair look and feel brilliant by the end of my time with her. She listens to our woes and joys and shares experiences empathetically. She looks at the back, front and side of a head and can tell what cuts need to be made, what textures to be added and what colour to apply to get a beautiful finish that suits the head, neck shoulders and personality of the person wearing it.

My ‘magical hands’ are able to take a seemingly boring set of data, compile it into an orderly array and then elicit actionable conclusions from it.  I look at it from all angles, turn it inside out and back on itself to test theories, prove ideas and find links between aspects previously not considered.  I listen, empathise and appreciate the system aspects surrounding the problem space.  This all means that a smile goes on my client’s face when they realise I have just cracked a conundrum or revealed an underlying pattern they didn’t know was there but makes sense of issues they have experienced that can now be dealt with.  Visualisation is key; she does it for a person, I do it for data. She arms me with the confidence to face the world and I arm our clients to tackle real-world problems.

Photo by Brendan Church on Unsplash