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Upskilling Helps Me Stay Current and More Effective as an Executive

John Scott

John Scott

21+ years

VP Global Finance Technology & Innovation

VP Global Finance Technology & Innovation


VP Global Finance Technology & Innovation

VP Global Finance Technology & Innovation


As documented by John Scott

I have served as Walmart’s vice president of global finance technology and innovation for nearly five years. When you are in a position to lead engineers and technologists, and you are striving to advance the capabilities of a company or a function, you have to understand what is feasible and possible technically. You have to understand how you can apply that technology practically to achieve the outcomes you seek. I wanted to learn more about what data science can do to accomplish such tasks and better understand the capabilities that exist so that I can apply them in other opportunities. I enrolled in Simplilearn’s Professional Certificate Program In Data Science with Purdue University.

The Importance of Upskilling

Life is a learning journey, and you should always look to learn. Everyone has their learning style, and you must stay plugged into what’s happening in the industry. Upskilling is important so that you can apply current learnings to solve business problems that have existed for years. You will have better solutions that way. 

How Upskilling Helps Senior Leadership

As a senior leader, you should know what your weaknesses are, and you should always choose to fill those gaps. Technology has taken a quantum leap in the last five years. There have been many changes, such as the ability to move massive amounts of data, the cloud, sharing computers across different geographies, accessing vast amounts of data, and synthesizing that data into something meaningful quickly. Although you can understand the theoretical component of it at a high level, knowing the actual technology behind it can give you a better framework of what’s possible. Knowing that is what upskilling does for anyone. 

Professionals Need to Stay on Top of Change

Yes, the expectation is that we all should seek opportunities to get better. If you are not improving yourself, you fall further and further behind daily. If you are not going forward, everyone else is leaving you behind. It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to take a year-long program, but the dedication to improve and grow in specific areas is important.

Data Science Can Improve Business Insights 

If you choose to upskill yourself, you already know that there is some deficit. I admit that I needed to upskill. I am in numerous business meetings where we discuss daily challenges. The challenges today are far more complex and require a significant amount of understanding. You have to know how the manipulation or acquisition of data can be applied to a given process. It can improve insights, get financial results, or help make determinations. I realized that data science is one methodology we can apply. It helped me to have that context and understand the process and steps needed to accomplish those goals. 

Professional Certificate Program In Data Science
Masterclasses delivered by Purdue faculty and IBM experts

The Value of Improvement

We are always looking for people who want to better themselves and challenge themselves to learn new and different technologies and capabilities. An associate who has a good understanding of necessary technologies is great. Someone who learns something new every year and dedicates their time to learning is someone we value greatly. However, upskilling is not a determining factor in promotion. However, it can indicate how much effort someone will put into becoming a better associate. Upskilling gives you additional tools to handle a particular task or challenge that might lead to a promotion, though it is not a measure for promotion. 

Knowing Where Technology is Headed

I don’t think there is any field where upskilling is not required. A foundational knowledge of where technology is heading and what capabilities exist will help us make better business decisions. If you have a goal and that goal is to be the best possible associate, leader, or employer, that goal should be supported by a willingness to do what you are asking your associates to do at the ground level. As leaders, do what you expect others to do. I will be studying cloud data and a new language this year.

Simplilearn Feedback: Gain Greater Business Insights Using Data Science

The prevalence of big data in business decisions makes Simplilearn’s Professional Certificate Program In Data Science a valuable course for working professionals and executives. This comprehensive online boot camp uses course curriculum from Purdue University that includes Business Intelligence/ Data Analytics, Natural Language Processing, Business Analytics, Deep Learning, and Data Engineering. Contact Simplilearn to learn how it can help you in your business career. 

*Disclaimer: Post Graduate Program in Data Science has been renamed to Professional Certificate Program in Data Science