If you are curious about what it’s like a be a Data Scientist, then you don’t want to skip this blog! In this fourth edition of Mediaan’s „The life of…“ series, we interviewed Soheila – a talented Data Scientist at Mediaan. She will share her career journey, her role as a Data Scientist, and her tips and tricks for those who want to pursue a similar career in the future. Interested? Make sure to check it out!

1. Could you please introduce yourself?

My name is Soheila, I am 33 years old, my husband and I have been living in the Netherlands since 2015. Last September 2020, I joined the Mediaan team in the Netherlands as a Data Scientist. I love to dance, especially Salsa! Before the corona outbreak, I was a member of a dance school in Enschede. Traveling is also one of my favorite hobbies. My husband and I spend almost all our holidays traveling or hiking! Because of covid regulations, I had to find a corona-friendly hobby and since I have always been interested in music, I started learning piano.

2. What led you to Mediaan?

Last year, I stumbled upon one of Mediaan blogs on Linkedin about an interesting project they had done. A few minutes later, I found myself browsing through their website and I got very interested. A young and enthusiastic team with broad experience in the field of AI and data science is the right place for me to grow myself professionally and enjoy my job.

3. What made you decide to become a Data Scientist?

Data science was not new to me. During my Biomedical Engineering study, I had several courses related to machine learning and data science. I also had the chance to work with different biomedical data. After finishing my study, I took a career path to become a Software Engineer. During my work, I had an opportunity to work with the data, and that changed my life. I love it so much that I was determined to become a Data Scientist! Even though
I didn’t do a specific study related to data science. However, I learned the fundamentals of machine learning during my Biomedical Engineering study. My experience with machine learning tools paired with my programming skills help me a lot with my career now as a Data Scientist.

4. What do you like the most about your job?

What I love the most about being a Data Scientist is that I always learn something new! Now that we live in the age of data, new tools and technologies are coming out to the market every day. And the key to success is to stay up-to-date. Moreover, the variety in data itself makes it interesting. For example, working with texts requires different knowledge and skills than working with images. There is a lot to experience in this field. And I am sure I’ll never get bored of being a Data Scientist! Fortunately, at Mediaan, we get the opportunity to work on a broad range of projects in different types of fields.

5. How does your typical day as a Data Scientist at Mediaan look like?

Typically, my day starts with a stand-up meeting with the customers. After that, I have a short virtual call with my other Data Scientist colleagues, which usually turns into a knowledge-sharing session. Sometimes I have some extra meetings with the customers to define their requirements, or we have some online workshop with the data science department of other companies in which new ideas are shared. I spend the rest of the day working on my projects. My after-work routine is preparing dinner and watching Netflix. Then, I either do a home workout or follow my online piano lessons.

6. How does it look like working on a project for a customer?

Working on a project for the customers can be challenging and fun at the same time. For example, I had to visit a substation or visit the assembly line of a factory, which was very interesting. The challenging part is that we need to to have a lot of field knowledge. You need to learn a lot of cool stuff about the customer business, which is great! Now that we are all working from home, except for the occasional visit to the customers‘ site, nothing has changed technically. It only proves that I can do my work remotely while working from my home office.

7. What attributes make a Data Scientist successful?

I think the most important factor is the eagerness to learn new things. Being a Data Scientist is not a routine job and with each project comes some new technologies and required skills. You need to constantly stay up-to-date, or soon you will be replaced by a piece of software! Besides, the key point for a satisfying result is to understand what customers actually need. That is why I believe that soft skills such as good communication & presentational skills and problem-solving ability are essential for a Data Scientist.

8. How has the Data Scientist role changed in recent years?

Many traditional Data Scientists’ tasks are being replaced by automated platforms like Auto-ML tools and pre-trained AI models that only need to be fine-tuned. Nowadays, Data Scientists should know more about processing big data and deploying data science into production.

9. What is the most common misconception people have about a Data Scientist?

People tend to think that data science is the new kid on the block and that the hype will go down soon. The title ‚Data Scientist‘ has not been around for that long, but people with mathematics and statistics background used to do data analytics and numerical computing for decades. The modern Data Scientist is much more specialized, but the basics remain the same. Our social life interactions are all data, and data science will never stop unless we go back to the stone age lifestyle!

10. How can a company attract talented Data Scientists?

If you want to attract new talents, you need to make sure that they see you! Companies should be active in data science meetups and publish their portfolio on social media. However, I believe that companies should put more effort into keeping their Data Scientists motivated. I think that someone who picks AI or data science-related career likes variety and change in the job. So, giving them the freedom to explore new methods and technologies and a chance to work on different projects should be the main goal of employers.

11. What advice do you have for future Data Scientists?

At the beginning of your career, try to learn as many new things as possible. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to understand everything thoroughly. Just be aware of all the different things that can be done in each field of AI and data science. It helps you to make a conscious decision about your next steps in your career path.

Are you a Data Scientist / AI Engineer looking for a new challenge and does Soheila’s story inspire you? Perfect! Make sure to apply for our Data Scientist job vacancy. We hope to welcome you as a new member of our Mediaan family!