How I Stumbled Upon (and Landed) My Dream Job With One Google Search

Our mission here at The Muse is simple: to help you find your dream job. So, there’s nothing we love more than hearing about it when you do!

Today, we chatted with Elena Willmot, who started on another career path before finding her passion as a Data Science Fellow at Understory. And her job is pretty cool—one of her big projects in her new role is analyzing storm patterns!

Read below to learn more about her story, then check out Understory’s offices and see how you can land a great new gig of your own!

Tell us about yourself!

Although I’m a proud Canadian, I have ties to Chicago since I moved there when I was in middle school. College brought me to UW Madison (go Badgers!), and while there I realized how much I enjoyed learning about the weather. I obtained a bachelor’s and then a master’s degree in atmospheric science.

I was working toward a PhD in environmental engineering when I realized that path didn’t fit me, so I began to consider a career in data science. As fortune would have it, shortly after I began my job search, I came across the perfect job at Understory!

So, what is your job like as a Data Science Fellow?

I analyze our internal weather data, as well as data from sources like the National Weather Service. I work with product and software developers and the sales team to come up with interesting and meaningful weather products for our customers. I also get to leverage my meteorology background by coming up with ways in which our data can improve our understanding of severe weather.

What were you looking for in your job search?

I was looking for a job that would allow me to use my programming skills to creatively analyze and visualize data. I also like to work independently and with a team on larger projects, so it was important to me that I find a role that fit both of those needs. While I love sitting behind a computer, I also wanted the chance to meet with customers so I could develop projects with their needs in mind.

How did you find your job?

When I began searching for jobs, I didn’t know where to start, so I simply typed “data science jobs in Madison, Wisconsin” into Google. The job posting for Understory through The Muse was the first link that was suggested! After reading the job description, I was amazed that my dream job actually existed. The photos of the office space and staff made the office culture look incredibly inviting, and after seeing that, I knew I had to apply.

Learn More About Working at Understory

What’s something most people would find surprising about working at Understory?

I think people would be surprised at the number of Understorians pressed up against the windows when a storm rolls through, or the number of cloud photos we share with each other on a daily basis. We really do love the weather here!

What’s your favorite part so far about working at Understory?

No idea is too big or too crazy. I love that we take the time to step back and think of big-picture, long-term projects. Everyone is very receptive to new ideas, and it really feels like I’m part of a team, not just working for a company.

Is there anything you did that you think helped you stand out and land the job?

During the interview process, I tried to find a balance between showcasing my skills and acknowledging the fact that I was new to the data science field. I showed that I was serious about my career by taking online classes in data science methods and always shared my confidence in my abilities and an eagerness to learn more about how I could help the company realize its mission.

What advice would you have for someone who wants a job like yours?

Do whatever you can during the job hunt to stay up to date on the field. Start learning what skills and programs companies are asking for and take some time to research them. Don’t be afraid to take online courses, too, because it shows potential future employers you’re eager to learn!

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About Alyse Kalish

Alyse Kalish
As an Associate Editor for The SalesJobInfo, Alyse is proud to prove that yes, English majors can change the world. She calls many places home, including Illinois where she grew up and the small town of Hamilton where she attended Colgate University, but she was born to be a New Yorker. In addition to being an avid writer, Alyse loves to dance, both professionally and while waiting for the subway.

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