Christian Bourdeau is currently an Analytics Engineer at Netflix. He joins us today to discuss how you can succeed in job interviews for a career in data analytics.
Christian has also worked in analytical roles with companies like Warner Bros, Nike, Playstation, and Activision.
We discuss the strategies that he used to stand out in Big Tech Interviews, and the pivot he made from working in marketing to now analytics.
Here is a summary of key takeaways from the interview:
- The guest, Christian Bourdeau, started his career by playing around in Excel and became interested in data analysis and visualization.
- He landed a contract job at Warner Bros through his experience and skills in Excel and Tableau.
- Christian highlights the benefits of contract jobs, such as higher pay, less negotiation, and a way to break into the tech industry.
- He decided to pursue a master’s certificate in data science and data visualization at USC after experiencing a layoff at Warner Bros.
- The bootcamp experience was beneficial for Christian, as it provided structure, camaraderie, and foundational knowledge.
- Key factors to consider when choosing a bootcamp include researching the syllabus, checking the teachers’ credentials, and considering the reputation of the institution for social proof.
- The value of projects is emphasized in the job search process. Christian’s Tableau project, showcasing multiple dashboards with actionable insights, helped him land interviews and offers from companies like Mattel, Paramount Pictures, and Nike.
- Christian recommends exhaustively using free resources before considering a bootcamp and focusing on the top of the funnel by optimizing LinkedIn, tailoring outreach messages, and engaging in informational interviews.
- During the interview process, he advises creating a PowerPoint or Google slide deck to showcase past experiences, tech stack, and problem-solving skills.
- When interviewing at Netflix, Christian emphasized his interest in transitioning back to an individual contributor role, and he demonstrated a deeper understanding of the company’s needs during the panel interview.
Check out the full transcript from the fourteenth episode of the TechGuide podcast, featuring an interview with Christian Bourdeau.
Ryan Atkinson: Welcome Christian to the podcast. Super pumped to have you here. Your background is like, when I came across your LinkedIn, I was like, holy crap, this guy is big time. Because you’ve [00:02:00] worked with Warner Bros. Nike, PlayStation, Activision. You’re now with Netflix Rocking the cool Netflix sweater. You are on video we’re gonna talk about all of those but I, I’m really curious what was like the coolest benefit like you’ve received at like any of those companies?
Christian Bourdeau: Oh man. Fullest benefit. I will say that PlayStation had the coolest swag.
Like they would send me swag all the time. It was during the pandemic. But I will say that Activision had the coolest, the coolest benefits. Like I got to go to all of the, I got to go to this thing called Call of Duty next, where they brought 200 of the biggest influencers and Call of Duty, and then they just played in one place and I got to, I got to be there and just observe it.
So, And get to meet all my favorite Call of Duty players. So that was, that’s a perk. That’s like, you know, treasured in my heart. So definitely that.
Ryan Atkinson: Yeah, that sounds like some really cool stories. And we’ll talk about your time like with call duty. I’m, I’m super excited for this. This will be good.
But I wanna start back in like 2017 before we like really get into it. Because you were a digital marketing and me media buying coordinator that you then pivoted become a business intelligence analyst at Warner Rose, which is a heck of a pivot. Take us like to this time really, I’m curious like.
How did this pivot happen and like where did, where did it all begin?
Christian Bourdeau: So pretty much I got my bachelor’s degree in marketing. Um, so I got a marketing job. So, I, I worked at this place where I had to buy media ads. I had to create copy, create, create the ads too. Like the photos essentially create display and search ads across LinkedIn, Twitter, and that was pretty much my job.
And so I had to write a lot of copy. So we had personas and it was like, all right, cool. Talk this way, talk this way, talk this way. And at the end of the day, What I had to do was provide a report saying how effective was my marketing? And so we were selling conference tickets, [00:04:00] so these tickets were like 600 to a thousand bucks.
And so I remember getting my first sale and I was like, oh my gosh, a thousand dollars, off this Twitter ad that I made. And that was, that was pretty cool for me. And. So at the end of it, like we had a C R M database where we, we were able to just, um, take out all this data of all of our people that went to the conferences and kind of like say, Hey, 20% are CEOs, these are mid people.
This is the way that they want to be talked to. So that really helped me, like in that type of data analytics, like it helped me create content. So, pretty much that came to an end. Um, kind of an abrupt end. Well, they finished the conference and then they’re like, all right, cool. Like, thank you so much for your help.
And then I was on my way. So, I decided from then on I was like, dang, can I just analyze data for a job? And I looked it up and data analytics was a job and I was like, oh, I love being in Excel, making pivot tables. Wow. So that’s when I decided I want to try to do something more cuz like making ads.
It was kind of like, I get it, but if I don’t love what I’m making, it kind of just felt like a lot of work. So, I told my boss like, Hey, I want to become a data analyst. Please give me any kind of referrals and stuff. And what I started doing, I. To start pivoting. As I started learning on LinkedIn learning, back then it was free cuz I just got outta college.
So I did that. I, I tried to learn Python, but I couldn’t, like, I, I tried, I downloaded it and I didn’t know you were supposed to download Anaconda. Google CoLab wasn’t a thing back then, so I just thought I was never gonna be able to code. So I just focused on sql. Uh, I just focused on Excel and Tableau and barely getting by with Tableau.
But anyways, I start knowing, I start learning what these tools are. And I actually go to a networking event. I went to a lot of them, like, because I wanted to break in. I wanted to [00:06:00] like be where the tech people were. So the story on that was I went to, I was part of the American Marketing Association for Los Angeles and they, I was a volunteer and they actually ran an event called Data Analytics and Marketing.
And they had some startup, an startup people there, but also had Warner Brothers there. We had the VP of Business Intelligence and. Pretty much like I had downloaded all of their LinkedIns. Yep. I took notes as they were talking on my printed, piece. And afterwards when they did questions, I had really thought out questions.
If I had chat GPT today, oh my God, that’d be intense. I was essentially doing chat GPT would do, and I asked some really solid questions like, Hey, what does it take to get into this? And they all kind of said the same thing. Create a portfolio, show me a good resume. And show me that you can analyze data and like, you don’t really have to be taught too much.
But anyway, so I talked to the VP of Business Intelligence at afterwards and I was like, I really want to, my dream job is to do what you’re doing. I wanna work on movies. I want to work in entertainment and do data analytics. I lo I know Excel v lookups and I even know a little bit of Tableau. And when I said Tableau back in 2017, I mean, it’s been out for a while back, but like he, that peaked his interest, he’s like, oh, Tableau, we do makeover Mondays.
And pretty much he’s like, yes, can I put me on LinkedIn? Send me your resume. Sent him my resume, write that. And there and I got a call the next day. The call the next day was a senior analyst. And he’s like pretty much said, Hey, you know, the VP really liked you. I’m just here to interview you. And pretty much the way I talked through my past experience as a digital, digital marketing person, I’d even talk about making ads.
I just said, Hey, here’s, I analyze ads in order to interesting, improve my marketing copy as well as, get more ticket sales. And they love that. Then today, like literally it was like, I got a call at [00:08:00] the conference was on a Friday. I got the call on a Monday, and then Wednesday I got an offer to go work there.
They, they said, Hey, well we want you to come in next week. And the funny piece was, was that like I had just started at a marketing agency that week. Oh. And we gotta offer at another job. And I was like, oh my God. This is crazy. And so I had to quit that job right then, and I was literally on my lunch break and I was just like, oh, okay, great.
Sure I can start next week. And then I just, I just quit. And I’m just like, all right, cool. And it was like twice the pay as that, that current job I was in. And that’s pretty much how I landed at, uh, Warner Brothers. It, it was originally Maima, then it got acquired. So then, yeah, so that’s why it’s kind of a, a fun little piece.
I also was part of acquisition. So started out with like, oh, like I’m just playing around in Excel and like, oh, I really lke Excel. Like I’m actually gonna go like learn like these advanced like formulas and like Tableau and whatnot. And then it just snowballed into effect where it was like, I have the experience here.
I can prove that I can do this.
Ryan Atkinson: And then Warner Bros all of a sudden says, Hey, come work for us.
Christian Bourdeau: Yeah, it was, it was crazy. And, and one thing I also want to say is that that was a, like I did two contract jobs. Something that I see around is that people are like, oh, I don’t know if I want to do a contract job.
Interesting. And for me it’s like, it’s been so great to do all these different contracts. And, we, we’ll dive into all of that later, but, so this was a contract job at, at Warner Brothers, but it was a year long contract and they just kept, extending it for whatever, how long I needed. But, but yeah, so I got a contract job and it was a W2 contract, so I’m just getting paid hourly and I just log it.
But, but yeah, it was super worth the experience.
Ryan Atkinson: Yeah, let’s talk about like taking a contract job. Cause I think it’s an interesting way to like, break into a big tech company as you did. Take us through like what were some of like the worries about right now? Like what would be a worry about [00:10:00] taking a contract job and like, why would you push someone off a ledge and say, take this contract job?
Christian Bourdeau: I would say like one you get, typically you get paid more for a contract job that I’ve seen, that I, that I’ve experienced like like my peers were making around like 50 to 60,000 a year, just like salaried plus benefits and stuff. But I was coming in already, like making 80 to a hundred thousand a year and just like, well, like I’m W2 so it’s not like I have to pay 10 99 tax.
Yeah. And. Yeah. And like plus like I didn’t have to fight for, like, I don’t have to negotiate as much. I mean mm-hmm. There’s, there’s wiggle room to negotiate, but it’s like what you see is what you kind of get. Yeah. And so yeah, I would say it’s easier. It’s a way to get in too. Like, especially cuz that first job is always the hardest. And I’ll tell you like the second job wasn’t any easier, but, but yeah.
Ryan Atkinson: Yeah, that’s super interesting. I’m also curious cuz like we look at like your resume and obviously you have like a phenomenal background but you also got a master’s certificate from USC in data science and digi data visualization.
Take us through like going through that process. How’d you know, you wanted to get a certificate in these obviously very high income, high valuable degrees? Like how did you know you wanted to do it?
Christian Bourdeau: So what’s the I was forced a little bit. I was put into a corner and let me tell you, so throughout Warner Brothers, I continued using my skills in Excel.
They used Tableau a lot, but I didn’t have to use it. So it was kind of just, I was still in Excel land. Interesting. But. The software engineers and database administrators, like, they were always like, oh, we can automate this. And I was just like, okay, then automate it. Why am I doing this for like, my 10 months here?
And so there was this kind of elitism there. Yeah. And they were nice. They like, they were like super nice and like they ended up like helping me like get more jobs af afterwards, but, I started to understand, I was like, I’m an Excel ninja. I don’t [00:12:00] even need my mouse. But there’s, I didn’t know there was limitations to that.
So I continued doing that for 10 months and pretty much it came to a screeching halt when at and t acquired Warner Brothers and they laid off, they laid off, I, I think 90 people out of 110 of us. Oh man. Four 20 people stayed. So I experienced my first layoff. And that was crazy because like we heard about it on a Tuesday and I was gone Friday.
Oh man. And it was because I was a contract. I would say one of the negative sides is like, I didn’t get any severance, but um, I did go on on on unemployment, which was weird because unemployment in like 2018 was more than when I was getting paid. So I was kind of like, this feels weird. Oh, wow. So essentially during that time that I was laid off Pride for the first two weeks, and then I was like, all right, I need to get back on the on.
This is during this time I actually went unemployed for nine months. Wow. And it was so hard. This is why I learned how to do. Like LinkedIn, I learned how to create a portfolio I like, I learned the importance of these things and I started action ashing toward them. And this is when I read am most of my self-help books cuz I needed help.
Can see if you’re watching this, the video. It is my largest collection out of any of them. It’s a great collection. But pretty much I ended up getting into a three month, like a month, six to nine. I was in a three month interview with Disney. I was gonna take less pay for the same exact job that was at Warner Brothers.
And I just didn’t get it. And that was the, the straw that broke, my back. I was just pretty much like, I wanna learn how to code because every time I try to watch a tutorial, I can’t even run my Hello World Python script. And so, Um, so I decided, you know what, there’s this bootcamp available. I’m gonna put the rest of my life savings towards it.
And all the money I got from the [00:14:00] government, and I was living with my parents at the time, so I was like, I’m just gonna double down and go to u usc. Wow. And that’s, that’s how I arrived. That’s how I arrived to, to do that u bootcamp. And I lucked out. I would say the, the worst part about bootcamps is you never know who your teachers are, but.
I had, so there was a teacher and two TAs, but really there were three teachers in my cohort, like, because the other two TAs were, were training to become teachers. Um, and they were at, they were at like really, like one of them was at aws, the other one was at a startup that J iPod and he became a billionaire.
And the other guy was from a bank. So my teacher selection was really great and. I had a very good experience in the bootcamp group.
Ryan Atkinson: Yeah. So what was like the real, like, value of this bootcamp? Cause I know on another podcast you mentioned that, and you also said the best value was like the connections you made.
So I don’t, I don’t know if I just took the answer away from you, but, uh, like what are some, like what was like the biggest benefit if someone’s considering should I go to a bootcamp? What are some of the benefits that you experienced?
Christian Bourdeau: Yeah, I am a, I’m actually a very strong proponent for boot camps, but you just have to know where, where the bad things are.
The bad things are in bad teachers. Like I ended up becoming a TA after I finished and I saw teachers that were literally not even data analysts, they were web developers trying to teach data analytics. It was, it was not good. So beware of the teachers, but the great parts about boot camps that I really liked was the camaraderie.
I was in person. So, just being able to go onto this beautiful campus and just hang out with everybody and then we’re all trying to do the same thing. Yeah. So that was cool. Second was like the, the structure and format. This was the most like, Like drinking from a fire hose was an understatement because like we were just flying by like, we were just like, oh, hello world one [00:16:00] day and next thing I know I’m importing all these modules.
I have no idea. Like just, they’re like, just write it. Just write the import pandas. It’s pd. I was just like, I don’t even know what this means. And so it was just at a neck, neck breaking pace. So I would say that like a bootcamp, they also had, so technical wise, like. A bootcamp, they teach you like just enough so you can learn deeper.
Yeah, but you’re not gonna become an ML expert. You’re not gonna become a data visualization expert. They’re gonna provide you the foundations for success and then you like essentially give you a foundation. So then you can go into ML engineering machine learning, data analytics and data visualization, which I really gravitated towards cuz there’s just so much impact that can be made.
But I would say yeah, those are like the top reasons to go. So social aspect and just really just, just learning the stuff and plus you have somebody there helping you, so, which is something you can’t get very well. Like I did all my stuff online learning and it was tough.
Ryan Atkinson: What are some to help sniff out like a bad bootcamp?
Do you have any like, guidance on how you should know? It’s like, like, oh, this is actually like a bad bootcamp.
Christian Bourdeau: Yeah. So when you go to a bootcamp, something that I looked for when I was doing my research,
Christian Bourdeau: Is one. You look at the syllabus, but a lot of them are the same stuff. They’re always gonna cover Python. So make sure they’re not teaching matlab, they’re teaching MATLAB and they’re teaching primarily r I would say that’s probably not a good bootcamp.
You wanna see Python? You wanna see Han? If, if I, I bet you they would without chat. P PT now. Yeah. Um, and stuff that’s like actually relevant. So that’s one. Two is research. The teachers like look up their LinkedIns. If they don’t have a LinkedIn, then it’s already suss look elsewhere. And then last but not least is.
When you, when you take a bootcamp, you know that’s gonna be a certificate on your [00:18:00] LinkedIn and you want it to be like, the only reason I went to USC was cuz of the social proof that USC provides. Yeah. And yeah, that’s what I knew cuz I was like, there’s general assembly, which you can learn this stuff.
And I, it was, it’s a great program. A lot, a lot of friends go through it, but I’m like, as general assembly, people know what USC is, they know what UCLA is, they know what, you know, Berkeley is so. To me, like those, those were the more beneficial pieces. And plus like, whenever I go into a new job, especially when I was at Netflix, like all, all of them went to USC so that we were able to talk about it.
Granted like it is just social proof, from persuasion. Um, but like great book. Yeah. And so that, that would say that that is the last key there for our good bootcamp. Yeah.
Ryan Atkinson: Okay, sweet. So another question just regarding just kind of basically some of this bootcamp, how do you know if, like you should take a bootcamp?
It sounded like you, like you wanted to take like the next step in your career and like understand just like analytics more. But like how should you know if like a, if you should do a bootcamp or not? What are some of the factors someone should consider?
Christian Bourdeau: Yeah, I would say exhaust your free options.
Mm-hmm. I would say study what you can on your own. And for me, I just got so frustrated, like I could not write any Python. I couldn’t even get Hello World to work. Um, and it like, I remember like my first two weeks of class we were setting up Anaconda and setting up Jupiter notebooks. I was like, oh my God.
I can actually like write code and I could do a loop and you know, all these things I learned and I was able to pick it up really fast now cause I finally can do it. I couldn’t even start without the bootcamp. So, um, so yeah, I would say after you’ve exhausted all your free resources and really cheap resources, like I would highly recommend jumping into a bootcamp.
Plus like one thing though, it’s, it’s expensive, but like everything that you learn in a bootcamp, you can learn on your own, but. [00:20:00] I’m pretty sure you’re gonna learn a whole lot faster in a bootcamp because like it is just so fast and you have people there that hopefully know what they’re talking about.
That’s why like check the teachers.
Ryan Atkinson: And it goes back to like your social proof. I mean, you can learn on your own, but if you don’t have like a usc, Berkeley, anything like that, it makes it a little bit harder maybe to sell.
Christian Bourdeau: Yeah. Well that’s where the importance of projects are and I’ll, Definitely gonna be a big piece to this whole college piece, but Yeah.
Ryan Atkinson: Yeah. What are like, I love talking. It’s been a common theme on these past two podcasts. People are like, projects, projects, projects. So I was like hearing like what projects, if someone’s wanting to like break into data analytics, um, they know a little bit they can do it. What are some good projects to like start working on?
Christian Bourdeau: I am a project person. I love it. So I’m, I’m all about them. I love it. So I guess I’ll just tell a story. So pretty much I finish up my bootcamp and my final project I decided to do it on Tableau. And I just used the most basic data set that comes with Tableau. I used the superstore data set, but what I did differently was I created like the coolest dashboards that one could make.
I, I went on Tableau Public and I looked at all the really cool ones that used crazy LODs and very technical things, but made it look really nice. Looked at Iron Viz and I was like, you know what? I’m gonna make something awesome and actionable, right? Because really, A dashboard’s purpose is to provide some insight to make a better decision somewhere else.
So they need to be, there’s exploratory dashboards and then there’s like data driven decision making dashboards type, like actionable dashboards. So that was my goal. I wanted to do that with the superstore data set. And, you know, I would say the, the tough part about doing projects is like sometimes it gets over ambitious is like, yeah.
I just wanted to focus on that piece. And that’s what I did. I pretty much built a I built [00:22:00] five different Tableau dashboards and they all had very specific use cases for them. And I put it into a PowerPoint deck. I’d say I, but I had my whole team, we all did it. It was like a team of five of us.
We put it into the slide deck. We, we said, Hey, here’s the business problem and here’s how we solved it. And here’s the dashboard that, and an example of like how to use it for, to get said answer. So that, that really set me apart. Like what? Pretty much as I was leaving my bootcamp, I already had interviews set up.
Um, I had interviews with paramount. I had, sorry, I had offers from Paramount Pictures, Mattel and Nike. And pretty much I showed them, I each showed them my project and I got like, Tuesday was Mattel. I got an offer right on the spot. Then Paramount, I told Paramount, it’s like, Hey, I’m already sitting on an offer for Mattel.
I got an offer on the spot. That was a Wednesday, and then Friday I an interview. It was like my third interview with Nike and I told ’em I’m already sitting on two offers and they love my project. Yeah. And pretty much from there on they like, that’s when I knew that projects were king because. I essentially just solved what data analytics should be doing.
I talked, I talked from everything from creating data pipelines all the way to creating. Data visualizations. That’s even though I might not have known, like back then I didn’t know like, all right, cool. I don’t know how to do Im roles in AWS or anything. Yeah. But I understood the purpose of having a data warehouse and having that data be pushed into Tableau.
Um, and so I talked about there was a lot of the theoretical things, but pretty much that’s what I do with my Tableau projects. And at the end of it pretty much I was able to negotiate across those three offers. And I got Nike to go from 90,000 to 120 K a year, and I, wow. Broke my first six figures within.
I would, I got it in December, 2019 and I had, my last job was at Warner Brothers and I was [00:24:00] like the end of 2018, I think. So I was able to, I was able to do it and I was like, whoa. And I’ve used that project for every single job afterward. So even, even Netflix. Yeah.
Ryan Atkinson: That’s amazing. You kind of, I, I wanna ask this.
So like, so Nike, your first, like you, it’s your first, like, I mean, Warner Bros is amazing as well, so like, Nike’s, like another one just. Stack that on top of like a heck of a company don’t work for. And then PlayStation, Activision, Netflix, you, you said like this project has like really anchored a lot of the ways that you’ve broken in, but like what are some of the other ways that, um, Other ways that have gotten you like your foot in the door and like actually gotten these interviews?
Like what tips do you have for people that wanna be like, oh shit, I wanna work for Netflix?
Christian Bourdeau: Well, you know, I like to think like, one thing I learned in marketing is the T-shaped marketer, where pretty much you have your breadth and you have your depth. So it’s important to understand what breadth you can do, right?
So I would say the most common stuff is make sure your LinkedIn is SEO optimized search engine optimized, essentially. You know what keywords you need to know for your job. Like data analyst, you need to know, you need to have Excel, sql, Python, and Tableau. Yeah. Power bi. One of those, one of those five tools.
I would say Python is the least important for data analytics. It gets more important as you start doing data engineering. Yeah. Um, but like having those keywords on your LinkedIn, on your resumes, and really just like, Maybe even taking a step before that. It’s like understand how the recruiting process works.
Mm-hmm. Cause I did so many interviews, but also I like watched so many videos on how this process works. There’s an applicant tracking system. If you’re applying to jobs, then you have your third party recruiters, which are just trying to find people Yeah. That fit the bill. And that’s where you want to really optimize your seo because, When I was at Nike, that’s when I just started getting dms at least once a week from recruiters saying, Hey, come work for us.
Hey, come work for us. Um, and that’s where like pretty [00:26:00] much after Nike, I hadn’t, I didn’t apply to any of these jobs. Wow. They just came to me. Yeah, so LinkedIn, your resume and your portfolio and really, I’m gonna just say double down on LinkedIn again. Like, yeah, it, it is just so good for like networking and also just finding professionals to in.
And last one is informational interviews. Like right now, like I actually did this a lot except I didn’t record it and put it on, Spotify and everything. I wish I did because I got to meet and talk to some of the biggest people in LinkedIn, uh, Google, Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, and I just did the same exact stuff that, that you’re doing.
And so I just did that a lot. Yeah.
Ryan Atkinson: So what did you, to have those conversations with people at, like LinkedIn, Amazon, Google can you kind of, I mean, you have a marketing mind here as well, like what was like some of the messaging that you. Got the, you said to get them on the call, like was it any specialty or is it just coffee chat?
Christian Bourdeau: Yes. I, I tailored every single response, which is now, like if I were to do it today, it would be so much easier cuz Chat, c p t just makes it stupid easy. Yeah. But essentially like I’ll say the one, the one I did with that Netflix I just looked up anybody that, so I graduated from Cal State Long Beach.
Yeah. I looked at anybody that went to Cal State Long Beach or usc and did they work there? And essentially everybody that went to Cal State Long Beach, I, I had a, I had a taglines like, it’s like, hey, um, I really love what, I don’t know what exactly was the first line, but I was just like, Hey, I’d love to connect.
Did you know that Cal State Long Beach is no longer in the 49ers? Were sharks now lol. And then like pretty much like start the conversation there. And really I was not pushing for like a Google Hangout or a Zoom immediately. It was really just like developed as back and forth. And I got to meet this one [00:28:00] woman from, uh, Netflix.
She was a manager of, of analytics. And then I just got talking to her. I was like, ah, like I’m really, I’m really considering, like big fan companies. And she just walked me through, it’s like, Hey, these are how levels work. These are how other things work. And I was like, I’d love to jump on a, a Zoom.
And then she was super open to it and later on I figured out that she’s actually my boss’s boss here at Netflix. So it just kind of cool.
Ryan Atkinson: That is so cool. So it was, I like how at the, like the first message you didn’t really like ask for anything. It was just kinda like a fun fact like, and it makes it easy cuz it’s alumni.
So I think that’s a really easy trick that people can implement as well. Find alumni of the company you wanna work for.
Christian Bourdeau: So that was one trick. And I also, I, I, I, my friend, my friend Jonathan Javier, he’s part of His company one salting. Yeah. And so, like a lot of the stuff that he says is like, yeah, dude, I was doing that.
And then he just like crystallized it across social and I was like, dude, I did a lot of those things and they work
Ryan Atkinson: so. Yeah, that’s amazing. If you, so if you wanted to give advice to people, um, to break in these tech companies, this sounds like a lot of it is like LinkedIn reach out to people. That sounds like from a marketing sales perspective, that sounds like a lot of top of the funnel activities, like really open this thing up.
But as you get down to like, actually like the offer, um, what are some of the ways that you stood out during like that interview process once you got in?
Christian Bourdeau: Yeah, so definitely you need to make sure, like anybody, you gotta focus on the top of the funnel first, because, If you have nothing to work in the middle, then it’s kind of.
You’re kind of like stunning how to do interviews before you even have your LinkedIn made. Doesn’t make any sense. Yeah, so assuming, yeah, assuming now you know how to apply to jobs, you know how to code DM, and you’re getting people in your pipeline. I will say the interview process, one tip that I always tell my mentees is create a deck, and so create a PowerPoint or Google slide that answers the question.
So tell me about yourself. [00:30:00] And I have a five minute Google slide where I just run through every single company I’ve been at and I just say, this is what I did. Here’s my tech stack, and here is, here are the problems that I solved. And I did that for every single one of them. And they loved that. They loved that.
So that’s for interviewing, I would say that’s a big one that nobody’s doing.
Ryan Atkinson: Yeah. I love that cuz that’s like really cutting through a lot of noise. It’s like, Hey, let me share my screen. I’ll just wa is that what you did? It’s like, Hey, let me share my screen and I’ll walk you through all my past experiences.
Christian Bourdeau: Yeah, pretty much. I just like, like they introduce themselves. It’s like, oh, I love to introduce myself. Boom. I just put it up there. I don’t even ask, I just do it. And I say, Hey, this will be like five minutes. And I’ll go through it and just like, Hey, I’m this, this, this, this, and this is where I want to go.
Mm-hmm. So I’ll say my past where I am now. Cause I’m always at a company and then, and then say, Hey, this is where I want to do next. And then, you know, I’ll tailor that for like whatever job it is.
Ryan Atkinson: Yeah. But yeah, that’s of course, that’s why. Next question. So like when you went to like Netflix of course, and you’re like doing this PowerPoint, it’s like, I wanna go next here to Netflix.
And it’s basically like, what did you, what did you put in that slide?
Christian Bourdeau: Yeah, so, so when I first met with the, so first it was a tech recruiter. Then I met with the hiring manager. And in the hiring manager I just did my basic slide. Like, Hey, I just really, I wanna move back into to IC roles. While I was at Activision, I was a manager.
Mm-hmm. But I wanted to move back. This role was an in individual contributor role and I wanted to move back into that. Cause I found that like, I’m really good at what I do and managing people was, was really fun. I found it really gratifying. But then, you know, Netflix just like, like doubled my pay and I was just like, ah, I had to work less.
I mean, yeah. So, so I learned a lot from that hiring manager interview. So when I went into the panel interview afterwards I knew I had a be way better idea of what they’re actually [00:32:00] looking for. Interesting. And I was able to, Take that and just, just run with it. So what did I do for Netflix? They wanted somebody that was very business oriented.
So I even pulled up dashboards, like my dashboards for um, just like my portfolio dashboards. Yeah. That walked through how I made it cuz they’re also a Tableau house, so. You know, that really helped them. Like just like this, this is the guy, like I focused on, like I want to become more of a business analyst, more creating pipelines and Yeah.
And now I do that every day and it’s, it’s awesome.
Ryan Atkinson: Yeah. I’m just like trying to like pull like stuff outta here of like what I’m hearing. It sounds like something that like stood out to you, into Warner Brothers and like even Netflix. Is you’re able to visualize the data like really well, but you’re able to like tie it back to like a business outcome or like how this impacts the business.
And is that something like you have to like learn or is, I don’t know, like I don’t know, the data analytics world, do people do that or is that like taking the next step?
Christian Bourdeau: So maybe I could answer this with a story. Oh, stories. So this, this is like, so now I’m gonna go into Nike, and this is what I say whenever I do my, my my interviews.
So like at Nike we have, I’ll tell you like, here’s the value of data analytics. We had two guys getting paid around a hundred thousand a year each, and they’re spending the first five hours of their day doing an Excel report. So then by that, like they wake up at 5:00 AM and they finish around 10:00 AM Yep.
And. That 10:00 AM is our all hands meeting, like every day standup, where they talk about. They talk about the data. So I worked at Nike’s Photography factory. Mm-hmm. And so they would just send a bunch of shoes to us and their report said, Hey, you’re expecting to see this many shoes like today, tomorrow, the next day.
So it’s a very important report. So they would spend, you know, 10 hours a day, cuz it’s two of ’em. Right. 10 hours a day, four, five days a week. That’s, [00:34:00] that’s 50 hours. Worked towards this project around $50 an hour. That’s. You know, probably like $50,000 a year is going towards this, this the Justice One report.
So after a month I get in there, I, you know, I’m learning like, okay, cool, we could put this into a data warehouse. We could get an a p I call to pull it. And pretty much after a month I figure out how I sit there. I watch them do it for five hours. We recorded it and then like I was able to see everything.
I was able to take that five hour report like pretty much every day. And automated to refresh every 30 seconds. Oh, right. And in a Tableau dashboard versus an Excel spreadsheet. So I just automated like a $50,000 a year job essentially. A little bit more. Yeah. And that to me was like, okay, that’s crazy.
And now those people were able to go and automate more reports and like essentially move away from doing the monkey work to like, Hey, like how can I drive business insights? So now this is where the value gets kicked in. Is that like by the end of my time there, I had automated 70 of these things. So my a hundred thousand dollars was like, you know, like justified in, in my mind I was like, that is justified because I probably created millions of like, Dollars of work because I was efficient.
I knew how to use data warehouses. I knew how to present data that, like Nike is primarily a design company. So that worked in my favor as far as like cool. I get to really like cut my teeth against UX people cuz they’re always like, make sure to use this color. Yeah, you this. And they’re very particular about fonts and everything, so, I got, I got to learn how to tell a story and because we see it every single day.
Yeah. It was one of those things where I’m like, all right, [00:36:00] how do I make this as simple as possible? And this was stuff that I kind of learned in school, like data, visual. I mean, I have all my data visualization books. I would say this was the, the big book of dashboards was like the best one because they just have, they have every kind of dashboard in here and you just.
Could run with it. So, so yeah, to conclude with that thought, it’s really like the power of data analytics is not only can you code, not only can you do these things, but ultimately you have to provide value and you have to showcase that value because nobody care. Like nobody cares how long it takes. What people do care about is like, Can it help me?
Interesting. And now I get to do that all the time. And now like at Netflix, I have a hundred, like my consumers is around 170 people and I am the analyst and the data engineer that’s doing all that. So it’s nerve-wracking, but also like, dang, I get to provide insight into this. To this team, but I’ll take a pause there.
Ryan Atkinson: Yeah, that’s amazing. Um, we are coming down to an end here. It’s been an awesome conversation. We talked about like, starting out in the bootcamp, your pivot, going to like the bootcamps, your advice there, working for all these huge companies. You reflect on your career and like some of the. Biggest things had to stand out.
You’ve had obviously had a successful career. Can you just give us like some general overall advice you’d give to someone who is young in their career and they said like, Hey, like I wanna do great things in my career. Uh, what would you say, Christian?
Christian Bourdeau: If you wanna get into data or honestly any kind of career, what I recommend is take a minimal viable product approach to this, this career line.
Go and informationally interview the people that are working the job that you want. So that way you can figure out if that’s something you wanna invest in. For me, I didn’t know how much money data analytics could make. I just saw like the first thing I was like, oh wow, they can make 60 to 80 k. Yeah.
And then I went on levels.fyi, and then I got my, really, my eyes opened up. And yeah, informational interviews and start learning [00:38:00] with free stuff. And then once you get really into it, start going to networking events. Get surround yourself by those people. And then like, don’t feel bad to pay for things that you need to get, like bootcamps or even just online courses, like invest in yourself.
Ryan Atkinson: I love that. Well, Christian, thank you so, so much for joining us. Awesome conversation. I’m so glad we could get you on. So yeah, thank you so much for being here.
Christian Bourdeau: Thank you so much for having me. Oh, it’s been a pleasure.