Seeking Career Advice, Or, A CPA looking for a career pivot

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Topic Author
Texanbybirth
Posts: 1398
Joined: Tue Apr 14, 2015 12:07 pm

Seeking Career Advice, Or, A CPA looking for a career pivot

Post by Texanbybirth »

Hi all,

As a CPA, I have posted before about being less than satisfied overall with my job. So recently I've been taking some CPE ("Continuing Professional Educaiton") courses around Data Analytics. I've thoroughly enjoyed the courses, and it has encouraged me to possibly pivot my career toward more of a data analyst/data science track. I've been researching 4 possible solutions to this pivot, and I'd love some input from the savvy people of this board. (A lot of times posters on this board provide a part of a framework to help evaluate a decision, without actually saying one option is superior to another.)

1) Our local university has a MS Analytics degree, which I could finish in 12-18 months. I like that the curriculum provides a good foundation in (applied) stats, but also quite a bit of technical practice in data management. This program would probably cost us $25k all in, it can be partially completed online, and has a good placement track record.

2) I've spoken with some friends in the field about pursuing my MS in Economics with Johns Hopkins. I have a BS in Economics and I love the subject (it was a dream of mine 10 years ago to get my Econ PhD, might be my only major life regret), I'm very good at math, the faculty are very high caliber, and they have a Quantitative Methods track that would be applicable to the analyst role. It is less heavy on programming, though some of the courses do require learning R, but a good friend of mine in a top analyst role at a large company mentioned that he would probably choose a Quant Methods grad over a MS Analytics grad because the critical thinking skills are emphasized more in the former while the programming can be learned fairly quickly. The downside of this program is that it's quite expensive ($47k), would be (albeit enjoyably) very challenging, and is completely online (might hurt networking opportunities).

3) I can finish the last two parts of the CPE Certificate program linked above, only costing us $1200. As a terminal option, though, I'm just not sure how fondly these certs are looked upon in the workforce, regardless of the institution granting them. They are certainly enlightening, and even have quite a few hands-on learning activities with various data tools (SQL, R, Talend MDM, etc.) that have pretty much showed me just enough to know I don't know enough and would like to learn more.

4) Similar to #3, I've seen several posters mention this certificate course on Coursera: IBM Data Science. It seems like a more robust version of #3, though I'm not sure how the actual certificate itself is viewed in the job market. This course of action also seems to provide quite a bit of hands-on practice. It is also a much cheaper option than #1 or #2.

I am 34 so I've probably got three more decades to try to stay effective and competitive in the labor force. I've felt in the last couple of years that my skills have degraded, though I'm still an Excel whiz (VBA coding and macros, user-defined functions, all your standard stuff - PivotTables, complex formulas, modeling, etc.) I'm hoping one of these choices will give me a significant step in that direction.
“The strong cannot be brave. Only the weak can be brave; and yet again, in practice, only those who can be brave can be trusted, in time of doubt, to be strong.“ - GK Chesterton
mak1277
Posts: 1619
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2015 4:26 pm

Re: Seeking Career Advice, Or, A CPA looking for a career pivot

Post by mak1277 »

Have you thought about moving into an FP&A role? I suspect you could make a move like that without all the extra training/coursework.
JHU ALmuni
Posts: 224
Joined: Tue Jan 20, 2015 12:40 pm

Re: Seeking Career Advice, Or, A CPA looking for a career pivot

Post by JHU ALmuni »

Look at Georgia Tech Master's of Science in Analytics online. Total cost around $10K.

https://pe.gatech.edu/degrees/analytics
Topic Author
Texanbybirth
Posts: 1398
Joined: Tue Apr 14, 2015 12:07 pm

Re: Seeking Career Advice, Or, A CPA looking for a career pivot

Post by Texanbybirth »

mak1277 wrote: Wed Sep 18, 2019 10:21 am Have you thought about moving into an FP&A role? I suspect you could make a move like that without all the extra training/coursework.
I've applied to a few FP&A roles, but generally don't get a call. Maybe I need to work on my resume? :confused
“The strong cannot be brave. Only the weak can be brave; and yet again, in practice, only those who can be brave can be trusted, in time of doubt, to be strong.“ - GK Chesterton
mak1277
Posts: 1619
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2015 4:26 pm

Re: Seeking Career Advice, Or, A CPA looking for a career pivot

Post by mak1277 »

Texanbybirth wrote: Wed Sep 18, 2019 1:07 pm
mak1277 wrote: Wed Sep 18, 2019 10:21 am Have you thought about moving into an FP&A role? I suspect you could make a move like that without all the extra training/coursework.
I've applied to a few FP&A roles, but generally don't get a call. Maybe I need to work on my resume? :confused
I hope your resume highlights your current analytical skills and responsibilities.
hippipdip
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Joined: Wed Sep 18, 2019 2:50 pm

Re: Seeking Career Advice, Or, A CPA looking for a career pivot

Post by hippipdip »

As a fellow CPA, my general expectation is that my CPE credits will be regarded as what I do to keep my license active, no more/no less. I wouldn't expect the coursework alone to open many doors for you without being able to demonstrate some practical application of that knowledge outside of the classroom.

Of your other options, given my own temperament I'd tilt towards the one that has some proven placement track record. Good luck.
MichCPA
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Re: Seeking Career Advice, Or, A CPA looking for a career pivot

Post by MichCPA »

hippipdip wrote: Wed Sep 18, 2019 3:08 pm As a fellow CPA, my general expectation is that my CPE credits will be regarded as what I do to keep my license active, no more/no less. I wouldn't expect the coursework alone to open many doors for you without being able to demonstrate some practical application of that knowledge outside of the classroom.

Of your other options, given my own temperament I'd tilt towards the one that has some proven placement track record. Good luck.
^^I co-sign this.
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Horton
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Re: Seeking Career Advice, Or, A CPA looking for a career pivot

Post by Horton »

I would likely pick the UTD program. The DFW Metroplex is booming and I would expect a variety of Megacorps to recruit from a program like this.

The one thing to consider though is that you would be entering a new profession at the bottom of the totem pole. That’s not something that would particularly appeal to me with kids to provide for. So, before going this route I would try to exhaust all possible options to progress in your current profession.
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