Thomas is a Data Analytics Associate here at Xander. He began his career as a casino dealer almost a decade ago, but decided he wanted to take his career in a different direction. His background into data is by far the least conventional, using his time during furlough to launch a career change into data.
Where are you from?
Nearby, I grew up in southeast London. Bromley and Greenwich (So not too far).
What do you like about London? And what do you dislike?
I think that there’s a lot to like. More than I dislike.
London is an incredibly global city. It has people from all corners of the globe. And I think that’s one of its best assets. You can go anywhere, and you can meet someone from a totally different background to you. You can do anything in this city, you can go anywhere. Your options are limitless.
So personally, I think it is one of the best cities in the world.
The limit is you.
We know that you’re a big football fan. Tell us about that.
Growing up, I hated football. Absolutely hated it.
My dad always loved it and used to drag me along.
Then when I was about 16, I started going with my friends and something switched. From then on, I never stopped.
Do you remember your first match?
I think I was about one.
My dad carried me under his arm (or at least that’s what he says). I’ve been told when it was Crystal Palace v Stoke.
Obviously, I don’t remember it.
As a Palace fan, I’ve seen some absolute horror shows over the years, but the good games make up for it.
What did you do before you came to Xander?
Before Xander, I spent several years working in Casinos.
I was a dealer who dealt every game, Roulette, Blackjack, Craps, etc…
I was there for almost 9 years.
I’m curious about your experiences as a dealer. It sounds like a job where things can change from one second to the next. How was it?
You’d get situations where someone will be your best friend, customer wise, the nicest person you’ve ever met.
Then, within a second that person is screaming abuse at you. And then a second later, your best friends again.
It was very odd at points. You’d learn to deal with situations like that.
It’s not something you can really teach. It’s something you just have to kind of adapt to. But I think people aren’t that hard to deal with as long as you tell them what they want to hear.
One thing to remember about people, is that they are the main character. Imagine it’s a book. They are the main character. Everyone else is just supporting cast.
You’ve been at Xander for 6 months now. How have you found it?
I’m really enjoying my time here in all honesty. Where I was before, I spent such a long time somewhere that I didn’t feel valued.
I didn’t really care about any of the effort that I was putting into my job. Now though, I feel like I’m learning each and every day. It’s something that I personally find really fulfilling.
I don’t spend my time watching the clock tick down, I don’t dread going to work.
How did you end up joining Xander?
At my previous job, I quite frequently wondered ‘What I would do if I had time to retrain?’.
Then the pandemic started, and suddenly, I had a lot of time on my hands.
I put in a lot of effort to use my time productively, when I stumbled on the government’s skills toolkit online. It was a bunch of free courses to help people exactly in my position.
I partook in a few courses, but none of them really stood out to me.
Then I discovered a course in Python.
For me, Python felt like doing puzzles, you had all the pieces and knew what the end product was, it was just figuring out how to get there.
I found it really rewarding and decided that it was something I was keen to pursue.
I then used the skills that I had learned to build out a project using Python, SQL and Git as a portfolio, and push myself into a new career.
After a while, I had my interview with Xander, I had the opportunity to train further, with the chance to grow my expertise with world leading clients that probably would have overlooked me otherwise.
They offered me a role as a Data Analytics Associate (although I prefer to lean towards Data Engineering). And I’ve not looked back since.