Can you share your journey to becoming a data scientist?

When it came time for me to choose a specialisation, I was unsure which way to go. Studying at a school with a focus on Math and Chemistry had given me a solid foundation, but I felt torn about which direction to take. Influenced by my family, I decided to pursue a bachelor's degree in Economics and Business with a focus on Auditing and Accounting.

I started my career as an Accounting Operations Specialist. In this role, I found that I enjoyed working with numbers and data. However, I also realised that the job was quite restrictive in terms of creativity and it was challenging to innovate and bring fresh ideas to the table.

In search of a more stimulating career, I moved into the role of Financial Analyst. Here I had the opportunity to work on financial data analysis, budgeting and forecasting across a range of industries including manufacturing, construction and IT services.

At the age of 24, I made the momentous decision to move to New Zealand to further my education and gain new experiences. I enrolled on a Postgraduate Diploma in Business Administration with a focus on Finance. As part of my studies, I secured an internship with a finance company, where I joined as a Credit Risk Data Analyst. This was a turning point in my career.

It was in this role that I discovered my true passion for working with data and the endless possibilities it offers. It became clear that my true passion was not just in Finance, but in the field of Data Science itself.

This newfound passion compelled me to deepen my knowledge of data science, with a particular interest in the statistics behind it. I decided to pursue a Masters in Data Science and Data Analytics at the University of Glasgow. As I progressed through my academic journey, I realised that data science was not just a career choice, but also an opportunity to make a meaningful impact on society.

I felt a strong sense of responsibility to use my skills to address pressing challenges and make a positive difference to people's lives.

So I started applying for new opportunities with companies that were making such an impact, and was offered the role of Data Insights Analyst at Auror. During the interview, I expressed my desire to eventually move into a Data Scientist role. A year and a half later, I finally landed the Data Scientist role.

What interesting projects have you worked on at Auror?

I had the opportunity to work closely with Police, helping them to identify major criminal networks and devise effective strategies for solving crimes. This involved focusing on key crime groups, uncovering distinctive patterns of behaviour and identifying unique network dynamics.

I also helped clients identify high-risk sites that required immediate attention. My role has been to provide in-depth analysis, to delve into intricate patterns and anomalies that may not be readily apparent, and to assist the client in proving the validity of their hypotheses with data-driven evidence.

I am currently working on a project involving convoy analysis. This involves examining statistical data to determine whether the presence of vehicles travelling in the same convoy is the result of more than chance, and whether there are any real links between them.

How has being at Auror shaped your growth and development?

What I really appreciate about Auror is the wonderful atmosphere and the people that make it up. It is like being part of a finely tuned machine. This mechanism is constantly being reviewed to ensure its efficiency. Everyone in the company contributes their uniqueness and valuable expertise. What sets this company apart is that everyone doesn't just fulfill contractual obligations for a paycheck, but has the drive and ambition to make a difference and exceed expectations.

A distinctive aspect of Auror is the freedom to be yourself, which is actively encouraged. Expressing a unique point of view and different perspectives is highly valued here. Unlike my previous experiences, Auror is the first place where I can openly discuss my stuttering. This new found openness comes from feeling safe and supported by the team.  At Auror I'm not only developing professionally, but also overcoming fears and growing as an individual.

Technology is moving so quickly, how do you stay focused and up to date with trends? Do you have any interesting reads that you’d like to share?

In the dynamic field of data science, it's important to keep up to date. I keep up with evolving trends through podcasts and YouTube videos from influencers such as Andrew Ng, Lex Fridman and Cassie Kazyrkov. Valuable insights also come from 'Towards Data Science', a source I rely on for compelling articles on machine learning and data analytics. Although I'm currently focused on completing my Master's degree, I recognise the future importance of pursuing certifications and short courses.

Navigating the information overload when working with data requires strong focus, and I've found meditation to be a key strategy for managing stress, maintaining focus, and coping with overwhelming information.

Interested in joining Data Scientists like Diana? Check out our open roles.

November 16, 2023

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