Marshall Shelton

Where Programming and Creativity Meet: Marshall Shelton’s Journey to Tessellation

Well, I wish I had a cooler story about how I studied something completely off topic from data analytics and happened to fall in love with the topic later in life, but I don’t! I have the opposite. It was sophomore year in college, the window was cracked in our classroom, and I was dozing off to the sound of cars driving by outside. Moments before, I was doodling in my notebook while listening to my calculus professor thinking, “am I ever going to use this stuff?” Don’t get me wrong, calculus has its applications, but I knew that with the rise in technology, I wasn’t going to be using this formula sheet to solve problems! As a math major, I felt compelled to do more research to make sure I was going to be competitive in the job market.

That night, I went on Google, like we all do, and researched night and day about hot career fields. I was interested in learning about skills in demand. I wanted to know where companies were headed and hoped that might tell me where I should be headed. I kept seeing the word data and machine learning appear. After talking it over with my parents, I walked into my advisor’s office with confidence and changed my major to applied statistics and analytics. With this degree change, I’d not only learn how to code, but I’d also get hands-on experience with machine learning! Now I know this sounds like the nerdiest brag ever, but I had always enjoyed creating things from scratch and being creative; programming really let me put those traits to work.

Fast forward to 2021 and I had a few years of experience under my belt as a Data Scientist. I had experience solving complex data-related problems, but I didn’t really have that customer relationship I was still yearning for. I stumbled upon a Tessellation YouTube video, where a few of the partners discussed the importance of blending analytical skills with business. This was ironic because it was the gap I witnessed daily in most of my pre-Tessellation experience. With Tessellation, I not only get to see projects end to end, but I have frequent communication with clients that enables me to build relationships and get a better understanding of their business needs.

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