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Morgan Walters – on placement with data science start up Empirisys

Morgan Walters is on our Fast Track Data/AI Programme and has been on placement with Empirisys, one of the newest additions to our employer consortium.

What attracted Morgan initially to the Programme was the opportunity to work, alongside studying for a Post Graduate Qualification. He said:

“It’s just such a time efficient route to take, and to be honest, a unique opportunity. I was also attracted by the idea of learning a defined set of skills that are valuable and applicable to pretty much every sector. Data Science is a growing, evolving and exciting field and this programme is a great way to get involved.

I liked the fact that the whole programme is based in South Wales and I feel extremely lucky to be able to work with exciting cutting-edge technology whilst living in such a beautiful part of the world.”

It wasn’t until Morgan was in his final year at university that he started thinking about a career in data. His strengths being numbers and problem solving, lend themselves perfectly to a role in the sector. He told us:

“When I started properly looking into the different opportunities in data, I thought that it would complement my strengths and have the potential to be a very interesting career. I applied for the programme and here I am today!”

The Fast Track Data/AI Graduate Programme starts with a month long, intense bootcamp hosted by our University Partner, the University of South Wales. It is designed to give everyone a solid understanding of data applications and methodology and prepare them for the world of work so they can hit the ground running and maximise their time on placement.

“Thinking back to the start of the programme, I am quite amazed at the amount of experience I’ve gained in such a short space of time. During the bootcamp phase I undertook a crash course in coding and analysis prior to joining Empirisys.

This allowed me to get involved in interesting and valuable work almost as soon as I started my placement there. During the first few weeks I was definitely building my confidence and competence using new software and programming languages, but with the support of my company, the University and the WCCF I felt like I was well positioned to get involved from the start.

I have had the opportunity to work on some really interesting projects involving data visualisation, research into emerging technologies and analysis of industrial data. I’ve used a huge range of data science techniques and have completed work that has had some real value to clients and even to the wider industry. My favourite project involved working with large language AI models to develop my own natural language analysis tool. This was the foundation of my Data & AI final university report.”

Empirisys joined the Fast Track Programme in 2022, hosting two data graduates but co-founder Peter Sueref, has been a supporter of our Programme for a number of years and having worked in data his whole career, has established a strong reputation within the sector.

Morgan tells us “Empirisys is a data science start-up based in Cardiff. We’re a small team with diverse experiences and talent and we’re all learning in one way or another, so there’s this great culture and mindset of growth and learning.

There are flexible working options, so I work a mixture of remotely with the occasional visit to the Cardiff office and there’s a big emphasis on allowing us to work on projects we’re passionate about.

I feel fully supported by a brilliant team. We work openly and honestly with each other which fosters innovation and creativity.”

One of the more challenging aspects of the Programme is balancing full time work alongside studying for a Pg Dip.

“At the start I did find it pretty intense because I was learning the core fundamentals and fully immersing myself in the Data world. There was a steep learning curve to be able to fulfil my role as a Junior Data Scientist, but I’ve got used to managing both aspects, using the university assignments as the framework for my learning.

It’s great to get good marks but I’m more interested in whether I can actually apply those skills in the workplace. This programme teaches the skills required to have a fulfilling career in data, but learning and working simultaneously provides the opportunity to cement those skills and use them in a real- world context.

For the past few months, I have felt much more technically competent, hence have been able to be more efficient with university assignments and spend more time on weekends and evenings enjoying the fantastic weather. This programme is not a stroll in the park, but a stroll in the park doesn’t teach you how to make convolutional neural networks.”

As Morgan looks to the end of the Programme, he will be presenting his final Data & AI Project to his fellow graduates and key stakeholders of the Programme.

“I’m really excited to present my final Data & AI Project to the graduate programme. This will reflect the culmination of months of work on a self- driven project within my placement; a chance to share the exciting work that I have been completing.

The whole project is something that I couldn’t have imagine doing a year ago, and I’ve got some very cool results to share. Also, I’ll get a chance to see what everyone else has been working on, which will be hugely varied. I’m excited to see what others have achieved during their time on the Programme.

Long term I am hoping for a varied and dynamic career completing work that I enjoy and believe in. I think having a strong foundation of technical skills that can be applied remotely opens doors to a flexible and rewarding career and work-life balance.”

With 20 new graduates starting the Fast Track Programme in November, Morgan shares his final thoughts.

“It really is a unique opportunity to earn whilst learning really valuable skills. Data is the most valuable commodity in the age of the internet and understanding the language is incredibly important. What I’ve appreciated about this programme is that all of the involved parties genuinely want me (and everyone else on the programme) to succeed.

I would more than happy to chat with prospective applicants and answer any questions, so feel free to get in touch!”

Thanks Morgan, we really appreciate your continued support and wish you all the best for the next phase of your career.