Come and meet Ivo, one of our data detectives and our data scientist. Venture into his curious mind and discover what makes him love his job, what pushes him forward, and what is his outlook on the world. As one of our talented blog post writers, this interview came easy to him, if the inspirational answers are anything to go by.
Tell us who you are and what you do in Digital Poirots.
I’ve been asking questions about nearly everything since I was a child, and that is something that remains an integral part of my personality to this day. I’m very curious about the world that surrounds me and I find great joy in learning new things. I can never get tired of asking questions and exploring various things from a number of different areas.
As for what I do, when I’m not jogging, listening to an interesting podcast, enjoying my favorite music, watching a classic film, reading a book, going to the theater, answering questions on a quiz, or traveling, I’m working as a Data Scientist with Digital Poirots.
What does your typical day look like?
In order to get into the character of a data detective, I like to start off my day with a nice cup of tea, just like a lot of famous fictional detectives from Sherlock Holmes to Patrick Jane do. Afterward, I try to use my skills, mostly in Python and SQL, to get to the bottom of data-related challenges and problems. To get myself focused and relaxed, I like to listen to music while thinking about and solving the cases at hand. When I’m not using my skills, I’m doing my best at improving them because I’m aware that each day brings new opportunities to learn something new and to grow, both personally and professionally.
What made you decide to develop your career in this field?
Given that I believe knowledge is the power that should run and shape our society, I feel being a Data Scientist is a perfect fit for me. This is a job that lets me use my creativity and intuition to try to extract knowledge from an endless wasteland that data can sometimes be.
What drives you in your work?
At times I like to think of my job as an everyday opportunity to reach my own eureka moments that make me feel fulfilled. It really gets your blood flowing when you experience one of those famous aha moments where the light bulb shines above your head.
What’s the best part about your position?
I look at every new project as a new adventure I’m departing on. That’s because I never know where the data will take me and what conclusion I will come to which is pretty exciting from my point of view. Furthermore, I get to work on projects from various domains which keeps my job from getting monotonous and repetitive. All this makes me feel free and we all know how nice and sweet freedom can be.
What don’t you like about your job?
I often say that technology is the best thing that has ever happened to society while at the same time being the worst thing that has ever happened to society. It completely changed the way we live and work and, frankly, I’m not happy we spend so much time using technological devices, both at work and in our spare time. I believe we all need more interaction with each other and that technology kind of alienates us. I feel it would be better if jobs in the IT sector involved more one-on-one interaction with other people.
What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made in your career or what ups moment you had?
I can’t remember a specific big mistake I’ve made during my career, but there are always minor mistakes each of us makes on a daily basis. For example, knowing many programming languages can cause confusion between keywords from one language with keywords from another language. It has happened to me a couple of times and, while it was sometimes really frustrating, it can get amusing, as well. The most important thing is to be self-critical when necessary and to be ready to learn from mistakes.
What drives you crazy about your job or your daily activities?
There are a few things I’m really annoyed by. For starters, traffic jams are daily situations where I feel I’m wasting my life just sitting in a car, a streetcar, or a bus and that’s when I get very frustrated. Furthermore, regarding my daily routine, I don’t like doing anything repetitive. I believe the main purpose of computers is to relieve us of doing repetitive tasks over and over again and increase the quality of our lives by doing that. Actually, that’s one of the main reasons why I appreciate their existence.
Which technology or tech stack do you like the most?
What advice would you give to someone entering this field?
You don’t need to have a lot of experience or knowledge to assume that the most important thing in this field is to understand the basics very well. When you know and truly understand the basics, it’s much easier to improve yourself afterward. Also, be proactive – ask the questions and seek the answers on your own, that’s the best and the most natural way to grow.
Do you have any funny or interesting stories that happened here in the company?
I guess I’m not in the company long enough for something memorably funny to happen. However, what is worth mentioning, although completely unrelated to funny situations, is that we have a policy where we tend to celebrate our own wow moments together. For example, the company surprised my colleague and me after graduating from college with a small office party that involved a beautiful cake. Is that awesome or what?
Your favorite person to work with?
Honestly, it’s hard to talk about individuals, teamwork is all that matters, and that gets the job done at the end of the day. You know how they say: “There’s no I in team”.
I don’t have a problem working with anyone, every one of us has something different to offer and is capable of helping with different problems and setbacks. As a matter of fact, I like to hear how other people think because I see these interactions as opportunities to learn something new.
If you can compare your work to one movie or show, what would it be?
Unsurprisingly, the fictional character that comes to my mind when thinking about my job with Digital Poirots is Hercule Poirot himself. However, there is a movie with which I could compare the work a Data Scientist does unrelated to the famous detective.
By watching Rashomon, a 1950 Akira Kurosawa’s film, the viewer embarks on a mission to construct his own version of the truth behind a story told in different and contradictory ways by multiple individuals involved, each of them interpreting events from his or her perspective. That reminds me of the work Data Scientists do – they have to try to interpret the same data points and results in a different and conflicting manner, as well as try to approach the problem from various points of view. Only by diving into the problem this deeply and with this devotion can they minimize the bias and fight the prejudices about the manipulative nature of statistics.
If you can choose one song to go along with your job or which would make you be really in the zone while working, what would it be?
Every job has its ups and downs and everyone sometimes runs into a wall while working on their assignments. One of the songs that talks about an inspirational drought and obstacles people come across on their professional path is Dancing in the Dark by Bruce Springsteen. I have to say I really love that song on multiple levels. Firstly, I enjoy its upbeat sound and tempo that almost makes you want to get up and dance. Secondly, I believe that a hit song about the inability to write a hit song due to the lack of inspiration sends a message that life can sometimes be amusing and ironic. In a way it says you don’t always have to completely know what you’re doing and how to get where you want – it will happen eventually if it’s meant to happen. And finally, there’s a line in the song that says “You can’t start a fire without a spark”. For me, this means that you really can’t make a difference if you don’t like and enjoy what you do or, in Bruce’s words, if there is no spark.