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Alumna Pommeline De Bruycker’s Data Journey

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Meet Pommeline De Bruycker, JADS Alumna, who believes that every data discovery holds immense value. In this interview we explore her journey!

Why did you choose to study at JADS?

I work as a Data Product Owner at DPG Media, a leading media company in Belgium, the Netherlands, and Denmark.

Sven van Egmond, my manager, completed the professional education program at JADS, being among its early participants. During a discussion about my career growth, I recognized the ambition to enhance my understanding of data engineering and data science. I believed that this would enable me to ask more insightful questions in my role.

Sven suggested that I would be a suitable candidate for the professional education program, aiming to become a certified analytics translator. This role, as defined by McKinsey, is crucial in ensuring that organizations derive tangible impact from their data and analytics initiatives—an aspect I find challenging yet essential in my role as a Product Owner. Naturally, I was eager to enroll in the course.

Moreover, the allure of JADS’ beautiful architecture and vibrant atmosphere captivated me. Despite commuting from Belgium, I have a thing with the Netherlands. I’m drawn to its openness, spontaneity, and, above all, the charm of Den Bosch. Although the long hours of travel, especially during winter days, presented challenges, I approached each day at JADS with enthusiasm.

Balancing an educational program with my day-to-day responsibilities proved demanding, yet rewarding. Through this experience, I gained invaluable insights and made meaningful connections. I even had the privilege of hosting the Ladies of Data event at JADS.

What is your best memory of your study at JADS?

That’s a tough question… I would say that the graduation ceremony turned out to be an unforgettable experience.

The day before the ceremony, I felt terribly ill, likely from something I ate. Despite feeling unwell, I was determined not to miss the ceremony. So, despite my condition, I got in the car and traveled to Den Bosch. I arrived in the afternoon and remained confined to my hotel room until the following morning. Looking back, I can laugh at the absurdity of the situation, but at that moment, I felt utterly miserable. After months of diligent work, all I wanted was to celebrate with some drinks, not to spend the evening nauseous in bed.

Thankfully, I woke up feeling significantly better the next day and was able to attend the ceremony, which turned out to be a joyous occasion. I felt immense pride as we presented the project my team and I had collaborated on. Having my mother there added to the significance of the moment: it made me feel like a true student once more, a refreshing experience after being in the workforce for some time.

What is the most important thing you have learned at JADS?

Dare to fail! When I first embarked on the professional education program, I felt a wave of unease. While I engage with data regularly in my work, it’s not in a very technical way. I worried that this would pose a challenge among other data professionals. However, to my surprise, this concern was unfounded. The program welcomed students from diverse sectors, each with unique expertise in data. We shared a common goal: to learn without judgement and remain open to new perspectives.

In one of our classes, Daniel Kapitan, our lecturer, addressed the possibility that some of us might experience impostor syndrome when exploring new subject matter. He emphasized that these feelings are common and encouraged us to simply dive in and start learning. According to him, this approach is the most effective means of growth and development. As a perfectionist, this advice eased my worries and enabled me to focus more on the journey of learning.

How do the things you learn at JADS enrich your professional life?

Apart from the theoretical lessons, I collaborated with three colleagues from DPG Media on a group project. This case study focused on developing a data model to enhance the categorization of business decision-makers, addressing the needs of B2B advertisers. We conducted the project using the CRISP-DM framework, which equipped me with valuable tools for similar projects and enriched my domain-specific knowledge within our organization.

This experience has also triggered a shift in my mindset. In my current role as a Data Product Owner, I find myself continuously learning. Currently, I am deeply involved in implementing data mesh within our organization. While the concept intrigues me, its theoretical framework is quite complex, with numerous concepts to grasp. I often feel the pressure to master everything before I can contribute value. However, my time at JADS has taught me otherwise. It’s not about knowing everything. What truly matters is being motivated, having a clear direction, and maintaining an open mindset. Understanding your purpose and asking the right questions are essential.

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