Data & You ft David Abu

Ivy Elebesunu
5 min readAug 23, 2023

This series started out a few weeks ago and it’s with great joy to wrap it up today. Of course, we’ll be wrapping it up with a bang. This read will feature David Abu, a Microsoft Cloud Advocate and the Founder of DataFestAfrica.

Before we dive into our chit-chat with David, this is a special shout-out to YOU. Thank you for actively eating up our reads. You’re a real one and we’re grateful for the gift of YOU.

Now, let us get down to work. If I may say so, David is a wonderful person. I got the opportunity to volunteer at DataFestAfrica’22, and David was just as interested as everyone else. It would have been difficult to imagine that he had truly given birth to the largest meeting of Data fanatics, but he was still so active and involved! That demonstrated a level of humility that I admire.

It’s super important to understand the very core of data in the Dataverse. And here’s what data means to David:

“Data is life to me. Everything that started, started with life- data. As I always say, immediately you were given birth to, you become a 1, and immediately someone dies he becomes 0. So, everything is numbers- data.”

That’s simply amazing. The perspective David has is simply amazing. Now, here’s how he got started in data:

“I dived into the world of data because I love Excel. I learned Excel and from Excel, I learned Power BI, SQL, and Python. I was in Public Relations. I was doing Online reputation management but we needed Excel to send out receipts, budgets, and all. I was tasked with putting out those numbers to send to clients. But the numbers needed to be worked on which then prompted the need to learn Excel. I then built my knowledge in Pivot Tables, etc. When I got my first job as a Data professional, I improved on these skills.”

Isn’t it heartwarming to find out that David switched from PR to Data? One can’t help but wonder how the journey is and here’s what he said:

“The journey has been tasking because you need to learn, improve and get better at what you do. And you also need to learn new skill sets like when I came to Microsoft, I needed to learn GitHub and I still learning GitHub now. I also needed to learn DevOps. Also, for the product team, I was a part of from the Advocacy standpoint, I needed to learn Fabric. You learn so many things at a go. However, it has been a very rewarding journey but it’s a journey that requires you to learn continuously.”

If you’d love to check out the resources David has for Power BI and Fabric, check out aka.ms/PowerBi and aka.ms/LearnMSFabric. You can also explore YouTube for amazing resources. Having a good roadmap and sticking with it is super essential for growth and you can build from there.

Let’s take a moment to ask David what inspired Him to build a Data community:

“People inspired me to build this community. Most of the time, people don’t know where or how, or what to connect and how to connect. So, this community (DFA) serves as a platform for people to can get access to other important platforms. I was fortunate to be a part of people who co-founded data communities and it is truly a privilege because it’s about solving a problem and a need.”

Do you want to join this community? Here’s how you can:

“My community is free to join and anyone can join bit.ly/JoinDFA22

Are you still contemplating the importance of a community? Here’s what David has to say:

“Community is so important because everyone is not an island and you need people to learn with, collaborate with, and build with. 5 years ago, community wasn’t there for us when we were learning but now you have access to communities that you can ask questions from and even show progress.”

Here are David’s thoughts on Data Portfolio vs Social resume:

“Data portfolio for me speaks more volume. No matter how good you are on your social resume, if you’re bad, you’re bad. Because you will get interviewed and they will know. Work on your portfolio. Merging your social and data portfolio is a good win.”

Is branding necessary in the world of data?

“No, it’s not necessary. Content creation or branding as a professional irrespective of data, you need to brand yourself. It is very very important. But do you need to just talk about data every day? No. Some people just love talking about it. Building your brand in the context of what you do makes it easier for people to find you. And that’s why LinkedIn and Twitter are there as we don’t have a lot of these jobs available.”

Any networking tips?

“Always be prepared before going to an event. Look out for people going to the event and reach out to them. And always understand that in networking you are providing a solution. You are not passive. Think of something that will make the person get interested in you outside the event.”

Tips for landing a new job as a newbie?

“Portfolio. Networking. Always put yourself out there. It takes time but that is really the best way.”

In one word, describe your journey in data and leave a word for every data newbie

“Splendid and Be courageous. You can get it! Just take time to build and learn. Leave the whole social media parade and focus on your craft. It’s the same advice really. But people just believe there’s a trick but there’s no trick. Focus on the things that you’re doing.”

Woah! That was quite a journey. And I definitely believe you’ve learned a whole lot. This series was specially created for YOU. Every journey begins with a step. Today’s a beautiful day to take that step. Like David said, “You can do it!.”

Thank you for reading this series. It was an honor to journey with you. Sadly, we’ve come to the end of Data & You but another exciting journey awaits in our next read.

Till we meet in our next read, Techie!

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Ivy Elebesunu

Data & Financial Analyst | Tech Content Writer | Connecting and Simplifying tech