In the early days of April, I had the pleasure to represent InCube’s (exemplarily gender diversified) Data Science team at the Women in Data Science Conference in Zürich. Two days of high-quality talks, mentorship sessions, mingling with data scientists from various domains, not to mention excellent food and a beautiful conference venue, has left me inspired and energized.
The selection of talks stroke a good balance between business and academic aspects of data science. Many speakers provided practical tips driven by their own experience, to help data scientists grow in their roles.
Tina Rosario, the Head of Data Innovation and Chief Data Officer at SAP, stressed the responsibility of data scientists to bring data literacy into their organizations. This means the ability to translate the insights they find in data into business language, so that even non-technical colleagues can understand and further propagate the outcomes of complex analyses.
Anita Schmid, a Data Scientist at Migros, encouraged data scientists to adopt software engineering principles, as well as agile development methodologies. This helps avoid getting entangled in spaghetti code and speeds up the development process. As a result, the chances of the data scientists’ work getting recognized and making it past the prototype phase are much increased.
I also thoroughly enjoyed the talk by Deniz Günaydin, a Senior Data Scientist at Swiss Re, who presented the idea of applying recommender systems for offering investment advice. Our Data Science team has implemented investment recommenders at several Swiss banks and it was interesting to hear the speaker’s perspective on the topic. Deniz put a strong emphasis on the importance of providing explanations for investment recommendations made to clients, which we also found crucial in our projects.
Big thanks to the conference organizers for putting this great event together. Looking forward to WiDS 2020 already!