But You Don’t Look Like a Data Scientist!

06 Mar 2019 | By Tobias Arns

Ahead of International Women’s Day, we interviewed our very own Ana Rita Sousa, a Data Scientist at Cxense. Ana talks about how it was her school teacher who encouraged her passion and drive which she holds on to today, the journey that eventually led to her role with us and what she wishes someone had told her when she was deciding on her career path.

What made you want to explore a career in data?

“I’ve always loved technology and mathematics, and was in a great position where I had supportive teachers who helped me succeed. Teachers contribute a lot to the success of students, especially in mathematics where the fundamental skills you are taught early on become the foundation of your future learning.

“I then started off my career in Portugal, working in a number of different businesses (a bank, an energy company and an airline) all in data related roles. Obviously, it wasn’t called data science back then, but this is what got me hooked on the idea of working in this type of business. When I moved to Norway I first worked as an engineer before coming to Cxense two years ago. I love my current role because at Cxense we live and breathe data on a daily basis.”

What is the best advice you have ever received?

“When I was leaving high school to go to college, one of my teachers said “Let your passion continue to fuel your drive to succeed.” This has stuck with me, and has been something that is constantly in my mind. I live with this as my mantra, and it continues to push me.”

What has been the biggest challenge as a woman in tech?

“I have been fortunate that I haven’t faced discrimination in the same way as other women in the industry. But, there is a huge amount of prejudice around women in tech. On more than one occasion I have been told that I ‘don’t look like a data scientist’, which has made me question what a data scientist is supposed to look like! I still haven’t worked that one out.”

“The other challenge has been accepting that I am not superhuman, and I can’t learn everything there is to know about tech. Identifying my strongest areas allowed me to discover the best areas to focus on, and have led me to my current role as a data scientist.”

What do you like about your current role?

“Data science is getting a lot of traction at Cxense. My colleagues  are keen to understand what we are doing with data and the real-world problems we solve with it. When I first arrived at Cxense, data science was a small part of the business and its potential impact was often misunderstood.

Cxense is a relatively small company which can be a good thing.  It allows me to be surrounded by really smart and truly inspirational people who I get to call my colleagues. There is still so much for me to learn, I get to do something new every day, and I work with  huge quantities of data across a variety of projects.”