As programmer or as a data-analyst first thing you need is some platform where you will do some mind exercise. If you are a programmer then you get that in your office in very rare cases because processes are fixed and as a junior member your subset of work is limited, and if you are a mainframe programmer biggest tragedy is you can get that black screen in your office (or office laptop) only.
But if you are a data analyst and if you want to participate in competition of your interest, Kaggle is best platform. It gives data analyst an opportunity to show their analytical skill and win some prize money too. People from analytical organization can also submit problems and invite members in the contest.
There was old but famous competition in kaggle, “Predict survival on the Titanic”. There were multiple solutions available for this competition, some people did this using Random Forest method, and some did this using Logistic Regression.
I have executed it in “R” with little bit of changes and submitted to kaggle as my first submission.