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Here writes for you:

Wolf Riepl is a data analyst. All texts by Wolf Riepl.

Job profile! Social science data analyst: From studying straight to self-employment

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During my study of sociology (emphasis: methods of empirical social research, social policy as well as theory and theory history) with a minor in economics (main focus macroeconomics) I would have no independence imagine can. I wanted a quiet, secure job with interesting responsibilities - without having any concrete ideas about which ones.

But first things turn out differently, and secondly than you think ...

After graduating, I had a temporary job and applied for it in parallel - still thinking of finding a good job as a permanent employee. However, I got the prospect of an exciting entry-level job. After some bureaucracy (ESF funding application including business plan, a few weeks waiting period, business registration) it finally started. Follow-up orders resulted from the first assignment - since then I work as a social science data analyst.

One of the most important experiences: as a self-employed person, you could not plan, control and assess everything in advance. I was lucky that the one who advised me on the business plan could also use me as a consultant for his business consultancy.

Contacts even before the foundation

The contact with the other principal client existed already before foundation. So I did not have to start with a nerve-racking acquisition phase, but had orders from the beginning. In general, I have also made few acquisitions because I receive many follow-up assignments.

If customers are satisfied and the quality is right, it is possible to have hourly rates or fixed prices that you can live with. Up to now, the volumes ranged from small amounts to approx. 5000 euros per order.

How far does the work spectrum go?

Whether I compete with orders always depends on how narrow or broad the range of products is. Had thought in the initial euphoria, even more towards programming. I focus mainly on the statistical analysis and stick to VBA stuff.

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VBA stands for Visual Basic for Applications. This allows macros, which automate small tasks, to be written to complex programs, Eg preparing and analyzing data, or checking the plausibility of user input. VBA is embedded in Office programs. So you program within Excel or Access, do not have to develop completely new software, but can build on the existing functions of these office applications.

Statistics

Otherwise, I create statistical evaluations with the statistics package SPSS. Here, too, automation has proven itself. Example: An international company interviews doctors in several countries. The evaluation of the first country is being redesigned with some effort. Through the programming, the evaluations of the other country data are then much faster and possible inconsistencies in the data can be intercepted automatically.

I enjoy the freedom of time management and varied assignments from different areas. I don't have to, like B. many project managers in market research institutes, coordinate entire projects and mainly carry out "administrative work". I can concentrate more on evaluations and thus apply my specialist knowledge, most of which I acquired during my studies. But there are also downsides: There is no such thing as a “real” evening, you have to be careful to create space and then really switch off.

I wish all those who go a similar way, good luck, courage and good experiences!

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