Victoria Alogna, Data Scientist at Dexibit
From a PhD in experimental psychology to predicting the future. Victoria shares how a love of data and statistical modelling has enabled her to help solve some painful challenges for visitor attractions around the world alongside the team at Dexibit. She also shares some insight into how the transition from academia into tech has given her more connection to the world her research helps influence. Thanks for sharing Victoria.
Firstly, how would you explain to a five year old what you do?
I use math to figure out how and why things happen so that we can predict them in the future and make better decisions.
Was working in tech something you dreamed about doing as a kid, if not what was?
I never had a clear vision or dream about who or what I wanted to be when I grew up. I had very brief dreams about various careers that ended as quickly as they began (e.g., I wanted to be President of the USA until I saw Bill Clinton’s impeachment hearings).
“I wanted to be President of the USA until I saw Bill Clinton’s impeachment hearings”
Tell us a little bit more about your career journey and ultimately about how you ended up working at Dexibit?
I fell in love with science and the scientific method during University, which led me to pursue a PhD in experimental psychology, mainly focussed on understanding discrepancies between our intuition and reason. During my PhD and postdoctoral research, I fell in love with data, measurement, statistics, statistical inference, and programming.
In my postdoctoral research, I found myself most stimulated by the measurement, coding, and statistics problems I had, which led me to data science. I applied for a data science fellowship to test out if I would enjoy it as much as I thought I would. I loved it more than I could have imagined.
When I started applying for data scientist jobs, Dexibit caught my attention, because the community it served was so important to me, and because the work seemed innovative, interesting, and impactful.
“I found transitioning from academic into tech really exciting and an opportunity to grow in the ways I wanted to.”
Can you share some more insight into what that transition was like?
I found transitioning from academic into tech really exciting and an opportunity to grow in the ways I wanted to. The easiest part of the transition was the approach to problem-solving. My work in tech requires the same problem-solving thought and data process that my work in academia required; it’s just at a faster and more structured pace.
I think the hardest part of the transition was familiarizing myself with tech language. For example, ‘experiment’ in my academic work referred specifically to a randomized controlled trial, whereas in tech ‘experiment’ is used to describe a range of methods, from testing the assumptions of a product’s use with customers to introducing a new feature in a forecasting project.
What is it specifically that you like about working in tech relative to your past jobs?
I really enjoyed my experience in academia and the opportunity to go deep into a topic; I moved slowly, thoughtfully, and sometimes, overly conscientiously. Thanks to my supervisors and lab mates, I learned how to think, question, and learn in ways I don’t think I could have otherwise. My work felt important and it was intellectually satisfying but sometimes, it felt abstract and removed from the world.
In comparison, in tech and particularly SaaS, I love the fast pace, the ritualized agile processes and the related feelings of consistent accomplishment, and impact on a sector I feel passionately about, as well as the opportunities for iteration and improvement, and the feeling of being part of a team/relay race.
Do you have any advice for people considering tech as a career path and how they might get there quicker?
Staying current and being interested, persistence, and joining social groups (whether that be by going to meet-ups or by contributing to open-source development).
“Working in a small, agile, and close-knit team, full of creative, kind, cooperative, and smart people is exciting and offers so many opportunities to learn and be inspired by others.”
What gets you excited about working at Dexibit?
The customer, the team, and the work make me excited to work at Dexibit. I am passionate about the cultural sector and the scientific, historial, and artistic literacy that it provides to all of us. Working in a small, agile, and close-knit team, full of creative, kind, cooperative, and smart people is exciting and offers so many opportunities to learn and be inspired by others.
My work is incredibly stimulating. I’m working on problems that require creative and thoughtful solutions and provide a big impact.
Lastly, Dexibit continues to evolve. What kind of candidates do you think Dexibit is looking for in terms of experience, attitude and character?
If the current team is any indication of what Dexibit is looking for, being open, thoughtful, flexible, curious, creative, and treating each other, your work, and customers with enthusiasm, respect, and conscientiousness.