After 1.5 years in the Early Careers Academy at Auto Trader, I thought it would be great to share my experience so far as a graduate data analyst and what I’ve been up to here.

Back in 2022, I graduated from the University of Nottingham with a degree in Computer Science and that marked my first year in the UK being originally from Malaysia. You can imagine it was quite a huge change for me back then being still new to the country and moving to a new city in Manchester, stepping foot into the working world. Thankfully, the people at Auto Trader made it easy for me to settle into these new environments, constantly offering support whenever I needed it.

Getting settled in was made even easier in the first few weeks when I was placed in an induction with 13 other new graduates who had different roles across the business. I was extremely grateful to kick-start my career with them, being like-minded and wonderful people, mostly fresh graduates straight out of university. Throughout the graduate induction, I learnt a lot about Auto Trader as a whole and how we operate as a business which I found essential later in my role as it helped my understanding of why we do things. We also had a couple of team days where we would spend the entire day in our actual team, having a taste of what it’s like being in the role after the induction, which I thought was a nice transition into the role.


2022 Graduate cohort with our CEO — Nathan Coe during induction.

Moving on to my role, I was placed in the team that oversees products related to searching for vehicles on our platforms. I was introduced to all the different products we have, including the machine learning models we have powering our advertising packages. Having built a couple of ML models back in university, it was fascinating for me to see how it was built and being used in a commercial setting. In no time, I got stuck in on my first project which was doing some exploratory data analysis on the performance of our advertising packages. First projects may sound daunting for some but being familiar with some of the tools AT were already using and with my tech mentor’s (shout out to Michael) constant support, it was a comfortable first project to start with.

I was also fortunate enough to be handed the responsibility towards maintaining one of our advertising products, giving me a sense of ownership with what I was doing which I thought was great! With that, I was exposed to AT’s data architecture and had the chance to work closely with developers. It was interesting for me to witness and experience the pipeline of how a data product gets built from scratch, productionized, and monitored daily.


With part of the Analytics Group.

Throughout the 2-year Graduate Programme, there were also several projects that I had to complete alongside my day-to-day role. I had the chance to work with other people in early careers across the business which was a great way to meet new people! The Sell-A-Vehicle project was one I enjoyed a lot where we had to source, advertise, and sell a car to a consumer. It was a real eye-opener to experience the entire car buying/selling journey and understand the pain points of our customers. I also had the chance to visit a dealership and take photos of the car we bought before being advertised on AT — something I wouldn’t have been able to experience in my day-to-day role!


Activities in the Early Careers Academy.

Plenty of support was always available, whether it was on the technical or personal side of things. Being in a wider analytics group, there are amazing and brilliant data people around, always willing to discuss and support any problems I face. I also had weekly catchups with my assigned onboarding buddy and tech mentor, so I always had someone to go to whenever I had any problems.


Showcasing one of the projects in the Early Careers Academy.

Overall, it’s been a fruitful 1.5 years for me at Auto Trader and I’m enjoying my time here!

I’ll finish off with a few humble tips which I thought helped me towards my application for the Graduate Data Analyst role:

• Research about the company. Tap into the culture & values and relate/align them towards your own. It also helps you to decide if the company is right for you.

• Take time to reflect on your own experiences. Look back at what you’ve done/accomplished at university or in your personal life and link the transferrable skills that you’re able to bring to the role.

• Get started with a data project. It’s always good to have something to showcase especially with tech roles – it could be something you’re passionate about!

Thanks for reading and don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions!

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