A woman stands smiling at the camera. She is Sonam Chougule, a senior data consultant at BearingPoint Ireland.
Sonam Chougule. Image: Mark Colfer

‘Data analytical solutions become meaningless without business knowledge’

17 Feb 2023

BearingPoint Ireland’s Sonam Chougule discusses her career in data analytics and the rapid continuous growth of the industry.

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Sonam Chougule is a senior data consultant at BearingPoint Ireland, with more than 12 years of experience across different industry sectors in designing and implementing complex data analytics solutions.

A lifelong love of maths and interest in technology inspired her to begin a career in computer science. “I have always been curious about how technology can solve real-world problems, which led me to choose a degree in engineering in computer science,” she said.

After graduating, Chougule began her career as a Java developer. It was during this time that she was given an opportunity to work on a data analytical project, which she describes as the “biggest turning point” in her career.

“Throughout that project, I gained a basic understanding of data and how data can be used to make informed business decisions. This project experience blew my mind and I really enjoyed the work that I was doing. So, I decided to pursue a career in data analytics.”

‘The growing adoption of big data, AI and predictive analytics is driving the data analytics market growth’

What were the biggest surprises or challenges you encountered on your career path in analytics?

We have seen how data analytics has continued to evolve tremendously fast over the last decade. Industries of all sizes – even smaller ones – are adopting data analytics to transform their businesses. So, there is a massive increase in the amount of data available for analysis and to derive business insights.

As data is growing at an exponential rate, tools and technologies are emerging in the market to better analyse and visualise the data. Being a data analytics consultant, there is continuous learning required to stay up to date with current technologies and trends.

It is also important to be informed about the right tools and methods to deliver the best analytical solution. I regularly undertake training courses on relevant topics and take support from my data analytics team whenever required.

Another challenge is having a good understanding of the business data, so you can help the business to achieve its goals. If you don’t have good business knowledge, the data analytical solutions become meaningless. So, I usually engage with business subject matter experts and attend workshops to gain in-depth knowledge of business data and patterns.

Was there any one person who was particularly influential as your career developed?

My two managers at BearingPoint Ireland have been particularly influential in my career development. Last year, I took on the development manager role to mentor two junior members, which was quite daunting. My managers provided endless encouragement, continuous support, and guidance.

This had a positive impact on me, which helped to boost my confidence and perform better in my new role. In addition, they both have a superior quality  – openness, which I have seen very rarely in my previous managers and work environments. They always carve out time for their team members despite busy schedules and always stay connected with the team. This is something I want to develop personally.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Over and above exciting analytical opportunities, at BearingPoint there is a great work-life balance, a friendly and positive atmosphere, and fair treatment of all employees.

The most enjoyable part is the company’s diverse culture. I get to work with people coming from different cultures and backgrounds and learn from their experiences. Along with that, we have access to various tools and training resources (soft skills and technical) that are needed to grow as a consultant.

What aspects of your personality do you feel make you suited to analytics?

I am an analytical and detail-oriented person. I love the process of analysing and solving problems. I consider all the possible approaches and scenarios to arrive at the best solution to the problem.

What can people expect from career progression in the analytics industry?

The entire data analytics industry is growing at a rapid pace. The growing adoption of big data, AI and predictive analytics is driving the data analytics market growth and is expected to continue in the coming years. As a result, there are loads of career growth opportunities available in data engineering, visualisation, data science, AI and in the machine learning space.

BearingPoint invests in people’s development and provides all the learning support so they can deliver the best service to their clients. There are lots of tools such as online courses, events and training with industry experts and certifications available for continuous learning and progress in a career.

Internally, there are loads of D&A academy events and knowledge sharing sessions in which we can present our projects or any technological topic to share our knowledge and receive feedback or suggestions.

Lastly, there are one-to-one discussions and performance review programs that help to align goals and expectations and shape your career.

What advice would you give to those considering a career in analytics? 

The data analytics field is a very interesting and adventurous career. With the rapid advancement in this career, new tools and technologies are emerging in the market.

If you are aspiring to make a career in data analytics, along with essential technical skills & soft skills, you should be flexible and dynamic and have a learning attitude to adapt quickly and stay with the current technologies and industry trends.

In addition, it’s equally important to have a good understanding of business knowledge as this is key to the success of data analytical projects.

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