The Journey to Certification

Last week marked a milestone that has long been on my bucket list.  As a problem solver, I have wanted the Six Sigma Black Belt certification, but the opportunity had not presented itself when I was working in industry or researching in academia.  I’d like to share with you my statistical learning journey.

In high school, I was introduced to the Student’s t-test.  Who doesn’t love the back story of a scientist understanding the difference between batches of Guinness Beer?  Although I did well on the tests, high school students have limited use of statistics.

Then, as an undergraduate, I had the surreal experience of a professor using severed heads thrown into air repeatedly as a statistical experiment.  The semester was not as educationally helpful as one might hope.  I don’t remember the grade, and I don’t remember much else from that class.

Thankfully, General Motors sponsored a graduate level statistics course through Purdue that brought me up to speed on all things DOE and Six Sigma related.  Some content in the class was new to me and, now that I was working in industry, I had the context in which I could apply the knowledge.  We went far beyond whisker-box plots and Student’s t-test.

It wasn’t until 2013 that I had the chance to attend a real Six Sigma Black Belt training, but I switched jobs quickly, which left me scrambling to find an appropriate project to share with a third party.  Recently, I had the time to review data, protect company information, and submit a project that was statistically relevant.  It has a been a long journey of learning and applying statistics, but I now have the cert.

Life can be challenging, but by keeping a running list of bucket items, I have been able to capitalize at unexpected moments and accomplish goals.  What bucket item is in your future?

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