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Anushka Fernando — Senior Data Scientist

Anushka is a Senior Data Scientist at Valtech, a global digital agency focused on business transformation. She started attending codebar as a student in March 2018 before attending a recruitment event which led to her job at Valtech.

You can find Anushka on the internet at:

LinkedIn

  1. What did you want to be growing up?

Many things: a doctor, an astronaut (after watching Apollo 13), a nurse, a professional violinist, and finally a scientist.

2) When did your interest in tech start?

Tech has always been of interest to me. My father is an electrical engineer by trade. Growing up there were often second-hand computers and electronics parts in the house. Then later as a scientist, I was often building or adapting tech solutions for my experiments.

3) You’re a data scientist, what does that involve?

Finding insights from data that can answer specific questions. Ideally, this analysis would be predictive in nature. However, the reality of the role is often to provide an understanding of current and historical trends of different areas of the business.

4) What was your first development job?

I have worked as a data scientist for two years at Valtech progressing to a senior role in that time.

5) How did you get your first job?

A tutor at codebar recommended I attend Silicon Milkroundabout when I was thinking of leaving academia to join the industry. At this event, I stumbled upon Valtech’s stand and was interested in the many public sector clients they work with. I then interviewed and was offered the role.

6) What is your favourite thing about being a data scientist?

Firstly, that I get to spend my days visualising and exploring data to solve a problem. I loved this in academia and am glad I still get to do this in my current role. I have also really enjoyed improving my coding. There is a real difference when coding for personal projects versus as part of a pipeline to be productionised. I have also enjoyed working in a larger team with roles such as technical architect, DevOps, and data engineer to understand and learn about their important contributions in building a data product.

7) What is the coolest project you have worked on and why?

For the majority of my time as a data scientist, I have worked with Ofgem, the government regulator for gas and electricity markets in Great Britain. I worked with a number of teams at Ofgem that oversee different stages of the energy market from generation to consumption. I optimised their working practices with data and enabled them to gain insights from their data that they had previously not been privy to.

8) How did you get involved with codebar?

When working as a senior postdoc I wanted to improve my coding and found codebar online. I started to attend their evening sessions and since then have been indebted to the volunteer coaches for their mentorship. They have helped build my confidence, especially when shifting from academia to industry. I am now transitioning to coaching myself to try contribute to such an impactful organisation.

9) What are your plans for the future?

To continue to develop and learn both in my role but also in my ability to code. I recently welcomed my daughter so it is a new chapter balancing her needs and that of my career.

10) What advice would you give to aspiring developers?

Keep practicing and learning! There are so many free online resources. Mini-projects are also great for practical implementations of machine learning concepts. Finally, keep in touch with your tech contacts and build your network, they can help when transitioning to new roles.

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Career stories from the codebar community

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codebar is a non-profit initiative that facilitates the growth of a diverse tech community by running free weekly programming workshops.

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