There are various routes into working as a data scientist, mostly these involve undertaking masters or doctoral degrees in computing, maths or science. Contexta360’s Livia Kuhn explains the path that she took and the excitement of working in a cutting-edge field.
My fascination with the way people make choices led me to do my masters degree in behavioural economics at the University of Amsterdam. In the final stretch of my studies, I was searching for a company that was solving interesting problems with AI and NLP for a research project. When I heard that Contexta360 was looking for someone to coordinate a project, I was thrilled. I started working for Contexta360 alongside my studies.
I had heard stories about tech startups and how young people are coming together to disrupt industry giants. Seeing that in action blew me away – I could not believe a small but charming team of engineers and scientists was facing off against 30-year-old corporations and coming out on top.
It did not take long before I was searching for reasons to be in the office because I was fascinated by how people at Contexta360 collaborated to build software. Being part of the many conversations, discussions, and exchanges of ideas that took place made me feel like I was witnessing the birth of something great.
I received offers to start my PhD in Germany (where I am from originally) but, by the time I graduated, I felt like Contexta360 was where I wanted to be. Fortunately, Contexta360 was ready to add a new data scientist to its team to help drive its growing business. I chose to put off my PhD and take on a different challenge. For me, this was an opportunity to continue working with a team and suite of products I had come to know and love.
My passion lies in minimising all waste, including our time!
As an economist by training, I am concerned with the allocation of resources for their best possible use. In a world where resources are limited, it is important to minimise waste and my passion lies in optimising away such inefficiencies. Knowing that the work we do at Contexta360 is making conversational analytics more efficient, easy and widely available brings me great joy.
What I love most about working for a tech startup is that it never gets boring. For the past two years, I have been a part of various projects spanning the fields of software development, data engineering, and data science. I have trained machine learning models; built a framework for automated end-to-end testing; and developed everything from web applications to command-line tools. I have helped improve our AI-fuelled speech analytics platform, Contexta360 CORE; optimised our NLP models; and worked closely with our clients to help them get the most value out of our products. I have found it incredibly rewarding to see our clients use Contexta360 CORE to understand why their customers are contacting them, optimise workflows and automate tasks.
Having seen first-hand what is feasible with our technology, I find it positively puzzling that the vast amount of audio data businesses have is either spot-checked, or not analysed at all. Here is an integrated speech analytics solution that allows companies to capture millions of conversations and gain actionable insight into them, and there are still businesses out there that use costly, slow, and error-prone processes to analyse their conversations. The revolution is underway – it is not a question of if, but when conversational intelligence will go mainstream.
As a data scientist at Contexta360, no two days are the same and projects are exciting and far-reaching. As I grow as a software developer, I am learning more and more about the value of having the freedom to explore and expand my horizons. I get to build applications from start to finish, from pinning down specifications to building and maintaining the application throughout its lifecycle. Recently, I have been using my training in behavioural economics to design and build web applications with intuitive user interfaces. I truly believe that I have found my perfect job where I can put my knowledge and skills in behavioural economics to good use.
Being a female in a disruptive tech startup environment is extremely exciting, in fact, as a woman in tech you could say I was a disrupter myself! My background in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects has been vital. I firmly believe in encouraging early collaboration with STEM programmes at primary school and this is especially important for girls. Sadly, despite similar achievement scores among children of all genders in maths and science, men make-up the majority of students studying STEM fields in higher education. I am proud that Contexta360 has been instrumental in recruiting, retaining and advancing STEM occupations for our growing team of female colleagues.