Insight into a data driven career direction

Roger Adams, joins us to tackle a data optimisation project as part of his Masters in Data Science. Here, Roger gives some insight into his decision to join the data community, career to date and what it’s like to join a tech start-up.

I’ve taken the scenic route to get to where I am today. I started off as a drum tutor before getting a ‘proper job’ in construction, social housing, and then migrating to energy efficiency after that and obtaining a degree in sustainable architecture.

My degree culminated in a dissertation which investigated the effectiveness of energy efficiency programmes in social housing in tackling fuel poverty in Tayside and involved large spreadsheets of energy consumption data.

The research found that current policy aimed at tackling fuel poverty in Scotland was not as effective as it could be, because government funding for energy improvement programmes was dependent on C02 reduction, rather than on ensuring a material improvement to the lives of householders.

Having been introduced to the Data Lab by my then supervisor at Abertay University, I decided to join their MSc programme, studying Data Science for Business at Stirling University. This was a natural progression providing the opportunity to improve as a researcher and gain experience of solving real life data problems.

The placement opportunity with Broker Insights arose through MBN Solutions who set up an introduction. Although the project was primarily concerned with data storage, using software I was unfamiliar with, and on the periphery of anything I had learned on my MSc, I decided to accept the challenge.

The project aims to optimise the current data structure used to store insights reports Broker Insights provides to customers more efficiently, allowing trend analysis to be performed and reports to be accessed by customers online, providing a better and richer customer experience. This will also deliver operating efficiencies for Broker Insights by reducing staff time spent on creating and delivering reports manually.

I’m now 2 weeks into the project and things are moving fast. In a start-up company there isn’t much room for relaxing, everyone is busy; often taking on more than one role. But I enjoy that element of working here; everything in the company is happening practically in one room, we’re always at the centre of things, which makes keeping up to speed with developments easy.

I’m delighted to have been invited onto this placement to work with Broker Insights’ data science team and I am sure this will provide valuable experience; applying the theory I’ve learned during my MSc to a commercial project.

As for the next step on my scenic route, I hope to use this project as the foundation for a PhD with Stirling University and the Data Lab, looking at how data-driven Scottish companies can overcome the barriers to successfully utilising big data.

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