My Pivot Journal: A pharmacist’s journey to become a data analyst

My Pivot Journal is a Ventures Africa weekly series document people’s career transitions from one industry to another, especially into technology.

Joyce Nwanochi is the product of two paths. She is a pharmacist and data analyst with an interest in health technologies and social impact. With approximately four years of local and international experience in the health and social impact sectors, his activities have focused on advocating for access to health services with strategies formed from data and models. well studied.

how it started

Nwanochi graduated in Pharmacy from the University of Port Harcourt. Unlike many students, she didn’t just go to school to study, she also wanted to make an immediate social impact. As an undergraduate student, she did an internship and volunteered to work in health and social impact spaces. One of those notable engagements was working as an assistant program director for the Anti-Drug Misuse and Abuse Program (ADMAP) – an initiative aimed at combating the widespread misuse and abuse of drugs, especially among young people.

Epiphany

One of Nwanochi’s many extracurricular commitments spurred his interest in technology. As a monitoring and evaluation intern, Nwanochi monitored projects that required the collection and generation of data to track the level of project impact and measure it against the proposed project idea. “We had to work on a lot of data obtained through our project and those who have done similar projects,” Nwanochi explained. She realized the lack of data in the health sector during this period. “You want to do a project, but you don’t have enough data references to review because there is a data gap in this area. This experience piqued my interest in data,” she said.

All the while, she was a stranger to data analysis, data science, or any technical skill associated with data derivation. But she decided to learn a data skill. “It was a skill that aligned with my passion and my main areas of interest, which is why I chose it,” she noted.

Joyce Nwanochi

Transition

This realization came in 2018, but it wasn’t until 2021 that Nwanochi started learning data analytics in a physical school through a scholarship opportunity on Twitter. She was in her senior year at the time, so she often juggled school and data lessons. Balancing this was difficult due to her senior year project and other commitments, so she stopped taking data analysis classes after two months.

Soon after, she started taking online courses, including the Google Data Analytics course on Coursera and an SQL course on Dataquest. She also took courses on Udemy. As someone who learns a lot from visuals, YouTube was his learning platform of choice. She looked at people like Alex the Analyst and Mosh Hedani.

However, dropping his physical class came at a cost; she was going around in circles trying to learn online because she had no physical mentor or instructor. So rather than learning from the simple form to the advanced form, she did it differently. “I had no one to hold my hand the whole trip and had no contact with anyone on the pitch. I didn’t have a roadmap, so I was learning from top to bottom. It was a challenge I faced during my first months of self-study,” Nwanochi explained.

How are you

The learning process took Nwanochi about a year. Because she has a social impact background and transitioned into a technical role as a data analyst, she has been exposed to some social impact tech organizations like the one she currently works at. Nwanochi is a partnership and grants head of She codes Africa – a non-profit organization focused on celebrating and empowering young girls and women in tech across Africa. “I lead the partnerships and grants team for SheCode Africa, which has some forms of technical detail as it involves working with quantitative data or not, although it’s not as complex as traditional data roles,” she said.

Interestingly, Nwanochi is currently cleaning in post-med school and working in a community pharmacy in Lagos. “I don’t think I want to give up pharmacy to focus on data analysis. I don’t leave technology for pharmacy or pharmacy for technology. There is now a place for technology in all traditional areas, so we have things like health analytics which is like a fusion of health analytics and data. You use your data analysis skills to work on data generated by the health field. I am one of those participating in this merger,” she said.

Nwanochi also has some initiatives in his name, one of which is Nsonye – an initiative to bridge the gap in the tech industry and encourage greater participation of women and girls in the tech industry. Nsonye benefited from the Global Youth Mobilization Fund to advance his agenda. “There is a clear void in the tech industry, and many people are doing their best to fill that gap. The gap was wider than before now, but there is still a lot of work to be done,” Nwanochi said. .

career tip

Be curious and unconventional.

“I’ve always been someone who wanted to stand out. I didn’t always want to be a regular or traditional pharmacist working in a hospital or pharmacy, facilitating medications and other things they teach us in school. It meant I had to explore beyond what I knew. It exposed me to problems in the health sector, which is the data sector,” Nwanochi said.

Sean N. Ayres