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Algebra Teacher Turns to B.I.First, let me tell you that this won’t be your typical Power BI or tech blog that you usually see. Let me set the scene...

It was a year and a half ago when I got lucky enough to be introduced to Brian Knight, the CEO of Pragmatic Works over lunch. He had heard from a mutual friend that I was looking to make a career move after teaching Algebra for the past 15 years. Brian started telling my about the company and all the different facets it encompasses. From training, sales, consulting, and app development.

Mind you at this time I had never heard of Microsoft Power BI, SQL Server, Microsoft Azure, or have any experience with coding. He told me an opportunity at his company may present itself in the future where I could transfer over my teaching skills into the training side of the above-mentioned programs.

I immediately got to work with their On-Demand Learning system to learn as much as possible while still teaching full time, private tutoring 9 hours a week, chasing around a 1 and half-year-old, and giving my wife the love and attention she deserves. I am not going to lie to you that it was extremely overwhelming when I googled PowerBI, watched some YouTube videos, and played around with the program. I became so overwhelmed that I didn’t know if moving into a career field like this would be the right fit for me. My wife encouraged me to keep an open mind and just learn as much as I can from the online tutorials in case the opportunity presented itself.

It’s a good thing I listened to her because in January I was able to interview for an opening junior trainer for Pragmatic Works. I was nervous in the interview because I still knew my level of understanding was nowhere near where it needs to be. I broke into a cold sweat when Brian and Devin presented a module from one of their training classes to me and then asked me to then present it five minutes later! Luckily, I didn’t land flat on my face and gave a convincing training. A week later they offered me the job. I was elated to get the call, but then that anxiety of learning a completely new skill crept right back in. How was a 15-year veteran math teacher going to become a Power BI trainer? Well, fortunately, I was hired by a company that has a whole division for training people who don’t have these skills.

Before my first day of work, Devin Knight, the training director, laid out a plan for me to follow that would educate me on Power BI with the courses they have already developed here at Pragmatic Works.I have just finished my first week by completing the Power BI Pro On-Demand Learning class. Wow! Their videos were so much more helpful than the YouTube videos I could find.

I am still nowhere near mastering this program.  As an educator I know that repetition, studying, taking detailed notes, and not being afraid to ask for help is what turns a student into being a success. I plan on doing all of those things on my journey to learning Power BI and the other programs I will be tasked with teaching.

 I wanted to share my process of transitioning from an Algebra teacher to a trainer with you in hopes that if there is anyone else out there who is apprehensive about the new technology you are learning for your job or you are considering making a change in your career,  or if you are just feeling overwhelmed with whatever the task may be - you can stop by from time to time for some motivation and quick tips. 
As I have been learning all about Power BI, I have come across some different ways of thinking and explaining the content that I haven’t seen before. I think this is because I am a former math teacher and always like to think of ways to relate information to others that aren’t always the conventional method. For example, when I learned about merging queries this week I immediately thought about Venn diagrams. Well, that is not a novel idea as I found a few blog posts about it as well as some who teach it without Venn diagrams and use join diagrams instead.

I know I will soon be a trainer in a room full of 30-60 professionals who will be hearing about merging queries for their first time and my brain started spinning of how I introduce Venn diagrams to my 7th grader to make it as easy as possible.

I’ve got some plans to flesh out this method, and I’ll probably be writing about it in my next blog post. Be sure to keep an eye out for my blogs as I go through this learning stage; my hope is to offer you a view on learning Power BI from a teacher's perspective and learner perspective wrapped into one. 
As I mentioned, I am wowed by the Power BI courses on Pragmatic Works' On-Demand Learning platform. They are in-depth, hands-on and taught by industry experts and MVPs; by far the best virtual training I've seen. With many working from home, it's a perfect time to start your learning journey.
Our platform has 17 Power BI courses that will turn you into a Power BI expert by providing in-depth instruction on all of the capabilities that Power BI provides. Click below and start with a FREE trial of On-Demand Learning today!
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