My Unique Co-op Experience at Elections Canada

Friday, May 7, 2021
by Obafemi A., AFM student

Exploring my interests and preparing for a VUCA World

Photo of Obafemi
During the Winter 2021 co-op term, I worked at Elections Canada (EC) as a data scientist on the Enterprise Architecture (EA) team. This position was my first experience in both the data science field and the federal government public administration industry.

The EA team collects performance data to manage EC’s portfolio of applications to be able to oversee its various business functions such as Human Resources, Finance, Audit, etc. As part of the EA team, my role was to understand these sorts of datasets and look for interesting and interactive ways to visualize them.

I used tools and programs, such as Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Power BI, IBM Cognos Analytics, and R, to explore and visualize the data. I transformed datasets and I also created data models, performance dashboards, and interactive visualizations. Another part of my responsibilities this term was to report my findings and present my creations using Microsoft PowerPoint and SharePoint during virtual meetings. One thing I enjoyed was the opportunity to think creatively and problem solve. I cannot count the number of times I got inspiration at 1 a.m. in the morning on how to create visualizations or data models.

Looking ahead and building upon my coursework in the Accounting and Financial Management (AFM) program and my role as a data scientist at EC, the ideal position for my upcoming work term would be as a business analyst. Through this type of position, I hope to merge my passion for financial planning, business operations management, and data analytics in my future co-op opportunities.

P.S. A few courses within the AFM program that prepared me for this role were AFM 207 (Analytic Methods for Business) and AFM 211 (Introduction to Analytics). For example, in my AFM 211 lectures we explored the concept of a narrative structure within data storytelling. The idea was to take your data analytics beyond exploration and weave a narrative around the data to answer questions and support decision making. Additionally, the narrative structure concepts I learned in AFM 207 were key to my ability to describe the insights I generated in my analysis and explain how they tie in with decision-making.