Mark Marquez

Innovation, Automation, Data-Driven

My Journey into Data Science and IT During the COVID-19 Pandemic

My Journey into Data Science and IT During the COVID-19 Pandemic

My Journey into Data Science and IT During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Introduction: An Unexpected Turn

In the wake of my unexpected layoff in February 2020, just days after my birthday and as the world teetered on the brink of lockdown, I embarked on an unforeseen and transformative journey through the realms of Information Technology (IT) and Data Science.

The Shift to Technology

My academic foundation in Cognitive Sciences and experience in brain imaging research and MatLab programming had initially pointed me towards a scientific career.

However, after graduation, I diverged towards the sales and marketing sectors of various Software as a Service (SaaS) companies. This experience unveiled the intricate dance between on-premise infrastructure and cloud technologies, steering my interest towards IT and Data Science.

Early Experiences in IT and Data Science

The layoff became a catalyst for change, igniting a relentless pursuit of growth and learning. I dove into an online Data Science specialization with KPMG, honing my Python skills to turn raw data into actionable insights.

By mid-2020, I achieved my A+ certification and took on a critical IT role as a field support technician for the LA County Registrar, ensuring a 99.99% uptime during the 2020 Presidential Elections.

Advancing Skills and Career

My journey gained momentum from late 2020 to mid-2021 during a Data Science fellowship at SharpestMinds, mentored by AI expert Ilya Golding, Ph.D. This experience greatly enhanced my technical skills, particularly in Python and data analytics.

Subsequently, earning my Network+ certification led me to a contract role at Pit Crew IT Services in San Antonio, where I played a key role in deploying Chromebooks, in high-volume via computer imaging, to support nurses at COVID-19 testing centers nationwide. Then I had another contract role with Intech Southwest where we worked on removing and repairing basically every part of the Chromebook outside of the motherboard and CPU, These Chromebooks were for kids in the Northside Independent School District (NISD), while they where doing remote learning due to COVID-19.

Expanding Horizons in IT

Continuing to grow, I acquired the Security+ certificate and the CompTIA Secure Infrastructure Specialist designation, which lead to my role at STRAC (Health Non-Profit) to support COVID-19 testing sites across several states. Here I implemented the use of Python scripts to automate the login process, ticketing process, and several other work operations.

Later at Digital Hands, I significantly leveraged my IT and automation skills, particularly through Chrome extensions, macros, and PowerShell scripts, to enhance productivity and outpace my peers. Servicing over 300 Holiday Inn hotels, I was pivotal in Active Directory installations and troubleshooting Microsoft Server issues linked with Oracle databases.

Chrome extensions streamlined my access to hotel systems, enabling quick and efficient management. Macros automated repetitive tasks, reducing manual effort and increasing accuracy, while PowerShell scripts facilitated efficient Active Directory management, automating user account setups, policy updates, and system checks.

This automation allowed me to manage a larger workload more effectively and with greater speed than my colleagues, demonstrating the power of advanced IT solutions in improving service delivery and operational efficiency in the hospitality industry.

Reflections and Growth

This journey through the pandemic has been a profound period of personal and professional metamorphosis. Each phase has taught me the importance of resilience, adaptability, and continuous learning in the ever-evolving landscapes of IT and Data Science. Reflecting on this tumultuous period, I am grateful for the unexpected opportunities that arose from adversity, paving the way for a robust and dynamic career in technology.

Mark’s Project Portfolio