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Aspiring Data Scientist Georgia shares her experience of the Fast Track Programme

Georgia’s academic career centred mainly on molecular biology. Having completed an undergraduate degree in Molecular Biology, she went on to achieve a Masters in Biomedical Sciences, and most recently a PhD in Breast Cancer Research.

Towards the end of Georgia’s second year of her PhD she started thinking about a career in data science.

She says: “I was introduced to the power and utility of data science in the cancer field during my PhD. I attended many seminars over the course of my PhD that showed me how scientists could leverage the information from big data analytics to formulate hypotheses, establish new research questions and develop models.

For example, important patterns in specific cancers can be used to develop models to diagnose and treat the disease. One of the most interesting seminars I attended was how machine learning could be applied to identify the age of individual cells.

Realising that we can utilise data science tools to better understand the world around us made me want to become proficient in the field.”

Georgia enjoys keeping active in her spare time including running and hiking.

Georgia began to look for training opportunities in data/ AI but was concerned that not having a qualification in these fields could hold her back.

“When I came across the Fast-Track Data/AI Graduate programme it felt like the perfect opportunity to learn new skills through academic learning with the University of South Wales but importantly, to be able to apply these skills in the workplace. It was unlike any other graduate programme I’d seen and the process of applying was really smooth despite the challenges of the pandemic.”

Upon starting the Fast-Track Programme in January, all graduates were enrolled in a 4 week intensive bootcamp designed to prepare them for the world of work and for them to learn the fundamentals in data.

Georgia commented: “I really enjoyed the bootcamp. I found it incredibly fast-paced and hard work but I’m really thankful that we had this grounding before starting our placements. I used the skills that we learnt over the course of the four weeks immediately upon starting my placement and was amazed at how much I learnt in such a small amount of time.”

“I’m now on placement with Atradius which specialises in credit insurance, and I am working on a suspicious behaviour detection tool that uses machine learning to automate the risk assessment process in a certain country. So far, I am exploring the data that we will be using to train this model and have been extracting data from XML reports.”

The pandemic has meant that all aspects of the programme have been adapted and delivered virtually. For some, getting to grips with a new challenge can feel understandably daunting, even more so when it is all done remotely.

Georgia said: “Initially setting up everything at work was challenging as I needed access to a few different databases, pages and software but now this has all been resolved I am very happy working from home. Most of my team are based in the Netherlands and so I would be using teams frequently to communicate with them even if we were able to work in the office.

My team have all been really helpful and friendly throughout the onboarding process. I also think that remote working is currently useful for me in terms of studying for the post-graduate diploma as I can make much more efficient use of time and I have more time after work to focus on coursework or reading than if I was commuting.”

The Fast-Track Data/AI programme provides an 8-month programme of work experience, reinforced by applied academic study. It has been designed to ensure graduates stay at the forefront of the ever-changing landscape of the data and AI industry.

“The two main things I want to achieve from the programme are acquiring a suite of technical skills that are required for a career in data science and gaining professional experience throughout my placement. Although I gained many transferable skills throughout my PhD, this is the first time I have worked full time outside of academia. I hope that I can learn a lot about the business and the wider industry during my placement and add value to the data science team.”

“My short-term goal is to secure a permanent position as data scientist. Through my experience so far, I feel this programme was definitely the right choice for me as I want career that incorporates my enjoyment of problem solving and that is fundamental in data science.

I find it really remarkable how through Applied Science, you can produce meaningful recommendations that can inform big decisions and this is something I would very much like to be a part of.”

Thanks to Georgia for taking part and best of luck with the rest of your experience.

For more information about the Fast Track Programme you can download our brochure.