As part of our Women in Data series, we spoke to Red Olive Data Consultant Jeffy Jebastin, to find out what drew her towards a career in data and why she thinks it’s a great career choice for women who want to make a difference.

Getting into data science

“After high school, I was looking to study electronics at university mainly because a few friends of mine were going to choose the field. When the final results came through, my highest score was in computer science. My mum suggested that Computer Science might be a better option for me not only because of my grade but also because I enjoyed programming – I thought she had a point!”

Jeffy studied at Karunya Institute of Technology and Sciences in India, where she enjoyed both the academic and practical sides of computer science. Just before her final year, one of Jeffy’s friends introduced her to the world of data science.

“I was really interested in the area, and wanted to get some hands-on experience,” says Jeffy.  “I spent my final year on an exchange programme run by my university. I was offered the opportunity to write my thesis alongside working for a data science company in Portugal – Muzzley. The company was Internet of Things (IoT) based, and part of my work involved collecting and analysing data to produce new insights.”

It was while on her exchange year that Jeffy saw what data science could achieve and found her first data role model. “My project manager in Portugal was a great all-rounder. She was really good at what she did and was quite the inspiration! She guided us placement students (a total of 4) to replace the Muzzley IoT Translation platform from C sharp to Python, then made us perform Analytics on the data transmitted by smart devices” she says.

Jeffy’s year in Portugal really piqued her interest in the power and potential of data science, so when she returned to India, she found a role with another company that allowed her to concentrate on understanding data algorithms and their application. Then, she decided to do a master’s degree and applied for courses in the UK. Offered scholarships from Bath, Cardiff and Lancaster, Jeffy chose Bath.

The power of data in every industry

“My master’s thesis was on early lung cancer detection using Neural Networks” says Jeffy. She then did her placement year with Elanco (a pharmaceutical company) as a Data Analyst. “It was fascinating to see how the same algorithms that are used for business applications can be tweaked and adjusted to provide invaluable insight for medical research. It was a very interesting and satisfying project to work on. It has been fascinating to see the impact of Data Science algorithms in different fields ranging from business, finance, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals and medical imaging.”

Jeffy joined Red Olive after completing her master’s degree and now works on our client projects. She really enjoys the challenge and intellectual stimulation that working in data science brings. “Red Olive is a great team, and we work with really engaged clients who can see the power and potential of the work we do,” she says. “I love being at the cutting edge of insight and development – helping businesses and people to deliver better services and more effective products.”

A message for women and girls

When asked what advice she would give to women and girls who might be interested in data science as a career choice, Jeffy says: “The great thing about data is its potential. It can help to achieve so many things. Whether you are in medicine, business, manufacturing, environmental studies – everything now needs good data scientists. You can really contribute to the things you care most about and push boundaries at the same time.”

Red Olive has a very balanced workforce – something we are committed to retaining. We also want to make sure we encourage women and girls to look for opportunities in the industry, because it’s a great career choice. Jeffy adds: “Even from a decade ago, data science was still maturing and quite limited in terms of computational power.  Today, it’s hard to imagine a field where data science isn’t involved, data is everywhere and the need for insights from it are in demand and ever-increasing.

“I find Red Olive to be a great equal opportunity workplace. Red Olive strives to be excellent at what it does and so men and women complement each other with our varied gifts and constantly push each other to grow!”

If you’re looking for an opportunity to join a great data company, we’d love to hear from you.  Email us at [email protected]