‘The best skill you can learn as a data scientist is the ability to tell a story’


Senior data scientist Sean Curran describes a typical day in his function at Fidelity Investments Ireland, from why he prioritises ‘micro breaks’ to how he makes use of his storytelling expertise.

Being a senior data scientist requires technical experience. But to excel in the function, there are additionally a variety of softer expertise you’ll want to hone.

Here, Sean Curran highlights why he makes use of his “storytelling skills to build a picture” in his work at Fidelity Investments.

‘I like that I can see the impact my work has on delivery time and quality for the business’

If there is such a factor, can you describe a typical day in the job?

I suppose there is no such a factor as a typical day on the job. The work I do is like constructing out smaller items of a puzzle so we can work on the greater image, which permits our prospects in the US to handle their portfolios. This consists of assembly with purchasers on initiatives to perceive necessities and exchanging info, which in the end leads to a plan of motion however will continuously develop as the undertaking matures.

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I’ve discovered that transferring divisions from tech to operations inside the enterprise has given me a distinctive alternative as a data scientist to make a huge impression by way of the initiatives that I work on.

I additionally assist to handle a server the place we have now R and Python put in, so the work may vary from establishing new database connections, putting in new software program and scheduling scripts to coping with points and upgrades for our customers. I additionally spend my time helping and coaching with colleagues on R and Python.

What kinds of initiatives do you work on?

The initiatives vary from easy data manipulation, which wants to be automated, to creating and creating interactive dashboard internet companies utilizing a shiny package deal in R. The dashboards can range in types of performance relying on the answer required.

I additionally work on data science initiatives such as pure language processing the place we want to classify info coming from purchasers so as to streamline how we see and deal with options.

I’ve additionally helped create an software which identifies guidelines utilizing the Apriori algorithm to assist a shopper in figuring out auto-match guidelines, which beforehand would have wanted to be manually matched.

What expertise do you use on a every day foundation?

I exploit my technical expertise on a every day foundation throughout R, Python, SQL, maths and stats. However, I feel the best skill you can learn as a data scientist is the ability to tell a story of how to strategy enterprise issues and the way to provide you with a answer that the shopper understands and trusts.

What is the hardest a part of your working day?

The hardest half is constructing the checklist of necessities from purchasers after which sourcing the info to reply the questions they’re asking. These necessities typically change as the undertaking evolves and it can be an iterative course of, so ensuring you are continuously in touch with the purchasers and ensuring everybody is on the identical web page can be a problem.

It can even be one in all the most rewarding components of the function as the end result is a lot better in the finish than when you started due to that efficient communication with one different.

Do you have any productiveness suggestions that assist you via the working day?

Micro breaks! When I discover myself being caught on some code or a downside, I can change into narrow-minded in how I’m excited about the answer. Walking away from it for a whereas often helps. There have been many instances when I’ve had a eureka second whereas making espresso.

When you first began as a senior data scientist, what have been you most stunned to learn was essential in the function?

The factor I used to be most stunned to learn once I moved from the tech facet to the operations facet of the firm was how essential it is to have the option to make what I do simple to perceive for non-data colleagues.

I feel I discovered this most stunning as there is a lot extra potential for my work to make an impression on the every day operating of the enterprise. This made me suppose in another way as to how I’d focus on options. Now I exploit my storytelling expertise to construct a image.

How has your function modified as this sector has grown and developed?

I discover the function is continuously evolving – beginning out with many descriptive sort duties but it surely has moved to prescriptive and predictive duties. This is additionally due to basic understanding of what a data scientist can assist to obtain as the function has change into extra outlined over time.

What do you get pleasure from most about the job?

I suppose I don’t have one factor that I get pleasure from most about my job as I feel it comes as a package deal. However, I like that I can see the impression my work has on supply time and high quality for the enterprise.

There is additionally the social facet of the function. I like working with completely different individuals and getting an perception into different points of the enterprise that you will not be uncovered to as a lot in different roles.


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