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Changing Careers During Quarantine

Manolo Lagahit | Data Analyst Apprentice

My name is Manolo Lagahit and during quarantine, I made the life-changing decision to jump careers. My whole life I planned on becoming a nurse just like every member of my family and the generations that came before. But as I grew older, I realized that I’ve been following a dream that was never mine and that I was only focused on seeking the approval of my parents.

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Before Apprenticeship

I am a first-generation immigrant, originally from the Philippines, and with that came the heavyweight on my shoulders to become someone my family could be proud of. At an early age, I realized that I had to grow up fast and when I got into high school I did everything I could to ensure I could go to a university, get my degree, and make enough money so that my family could live comfortably.

At 16 years old I started attending classes at my local community college, worked part-time jobs, and volunteered every week at a local hospital. In the end, I was able to graduate high school with 2 Associate degrees, one in Arts and the other in Pre-Nursing, however, not everything went as planned. University was too expensive and the money I saved up still wasn’t enough. I had to put my plans on going to nursing school on hold.

Joining Year Up

At the beginning of 2020, a friend mentioned to me a life-changing program called Year Up that provides students valuable professional skills, a 6-month long corporate apprenticeship, and a stipend. At first, I was incredibly skeptical but once I reached out, I realized it was legit. Computer programming has always been a passion of mine and when I told my parents that I wanted to sign up it tore a rift in our relationship and the house became quiet for a while.

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The program was intense, in 6 months I had to quickly learn multiple programming languages and professional business/communication skills. They provided me with support when life got in the way, I got to make life-long friendships and learned the importance of mental health. After the first 6 months of learning and development is over, students that are “career ready” get to spend the last 6 months at an apprenticeship, and thank the lucky stars I landed a role in Expedia’s “Cloud TO Program Team” a small team of 5 that quickly welcomed me with open arms.

My Role as a Data Analyst

To be honest I had no idea what a “Data Analyst” was before joining Expedia, only that it meant I got to work with data. On the Cloud TO Program Team, it is our mission to find opportunities in Expedia’s vast and expensive cloud network, provide visibility through data visualizations, and optimize its cost. During my time here I’ve got to work with hundreds of teams to optimize their cloud usage and help support a metadata tagging project to ensure cost transparency for Expedia’s cloud applications and resources.

However, learning the set of tools to be successful at this role wasn’t easy. Thanks to the constant support from my amazing teammates Lonnie Anderson, Erin Hahn, Greg Deviny, Matt Parzybok, and my manager Sonja Rogneby, I was able to learn a large app stack in a short amount of time and even obtain certifications because of the motivation they’ve given me. Not only have they helped me learn how to do my job, but they’ve also helped me grow as a young adult.

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After Apprenticeship

Once my apprenticeship at Expedia is over, I would like to continue my role here. I have grown to love working with data and creating beautiful visualizations. In the future, I want to go back to school and get a degree in data analytics. Although I spent my time here in a virtual environment, I never once felt disconnected. Expedia Group’s diverse work environment and emphasis on inclusion and diversity is so evident that I look forward to logging into work every day!


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