How I Went from Mining Analyst to Analytics Consultant


How I Went from Mining Analyst to Analytics Consultant

"How I Went from" is an ongoing blog series that highlights our employees' different journeys to InterWorks. The results are pretty diverse, but each story is special in its own right.

A Facebook memory popped up today that reminded me that it was exactly one year ago to the day that I joined InterWorks. I don’t know where the time has gone, but what a crazy year it has been:

Paul Facebook memory

There and Back Again—A Hobbit’s Tale

As the post above alludes to, I’d been working on a career change for almost two years. Unlike some of my InterWorks colleagues, it wasn’t a radical change in direction, but it did mark me striking out on my own and chasing three values that I’ve always held dear throughout my career: do work you enjoy, work for an inspiring leader and work with the best people. Boy, did I hit pay dirt with InterWorks!

I thought I was in a great place. I was working for one of the largest iron ore miners in the world. I was on the forefront of operations, and I felt like my work was making a difference. I had a great boss, and I worked in one of the best offices in my home city. I was a mining analyst; not a very lofty title, but I got to help people make decisions about one of the largest and most complex supply chains on the planet. I knew my way around every aspect of the operation, from the origin at drilling and blast through truck fleet, ore processing, rail logistics and eventually onto port operations. I felt like I could answer most questions thrown at me.

An Introduction to Tableau

But then came the moment when I hit 40, and I had what my partner refers to as my midlife crisis. I didn’t go out and buy a Ferrari if that’s what you’re thinking, but I did begin to wonder more about what the future held. My boss had been promoted and you start to wonder, Is this me or should I be trying for a promotion as well? Then one day after finishing up some data-quality works with a graduate that I was paired up with, he challenged the solution by saying, “You know, we could have visualised this faster in Tableau.”

InterWorks booth at Tableau Conference 2018

Above: The InterWorks booth at Tableau Conference 2018

Intrigued, I asked him to demonstrate, and sure enough, we went from data to visualisation and decision in a significantly reduced timeframe. I started to explore Tableau on my own time, buying my own license and attending public training. I began to evangelise Tableau at work, but ultimately, the group I worked with was either wedded to an existing solution or wanted to strike out in a different direction.

Doing Work That Inspires

That was the point when the second of my career values came under threat, and the scales tipped. I left a great job, a great team and a fascinating industry because I wanted to work with Tableau’s software. I took work with anyone who could teach me anything about Tableau and even did a stint as an independent consultant. That led me to InterWorks.

Now, as I look back on a year that’s taken me from Perth (the most isolated city in the world) to Melbourne, Sydney, Oklahoma, Salt Lake City and New Orleans, I realise it’s taken me a lot further than travel destinations (although the travel has been fantastic).

Paul Middlewick Salt Lake City

Above: Salt Lake City and the first time I’d seen snow in 10 years!

The journey that started with me wanting to learn to work more efficiently has taken me to other agile solutions like Snowflake and Matillion. It’s allowed me to re-explore data engineering and realise actually I quite enjoy it, and I’m pretty good at it. It then allowed me to turn 180 degrees and point everything I’d learnt back toward the mining industry, where I most recently enjoyed working with one of our best clients to bring these solutions to the fore.  This client also showed me the value of Data Vault methodology for modern data warehousing, a subject I intend to wax lyrical about in a series of upcoming blog articles.

Redefining Success with InterWorks

What I’ve found most gratifying about this journey is that it also confirmed something I’d always wondered about: it helped me quantify how to achieve success. When I joined InterWorks, it was as employee number four in our Asia Pacific region. I had expectations of being set a revenue target, or at least a utilisation level I would have to achieve. Such had been my experience with other consultancies and how they quantify success. Instead, I got one directive: “Do good work.”

As I hit my first anniversary with InterWorks, it’s impossible not to be proud of what the team has achieved, first with being awarded Snowflake Solution Partner of the Year and then most recently Tableau Services Partner of the Year for our work here in APAC:

InterWorks APAC team

Above: Here are all the fantastic folks who’ve helped make InterWorks APAC so successful this year

This journey has brought me into contact with the best minds in the business, and it’s taught me to embrace my inner geek and go where the path takes me. Or to plagiarise a Tolkien quote: “It’s an interesting business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”

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More About the Author

Paul Middlewick

Solutions Director, APAC
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