Interview Kevin O’Driscoll – Data Scientist

Kevin, nice to meet you! Tell me something about yourself? 

Well I started working here at the end of August and had quite a career change. After my degree in Mathematics I started teaching Math in Highschool for a few years. Then I got an interesting job offer in Dubai, so I moved there for 2 years. I helped set up an English medium of instruction math curriculum for the public school system. It was this job that triggered my interest in data. 

I got access to a lot bigger data and we had to find insights in assessment data. So I got to play around a little bit with that and I got really excited about it. I was working in Excel but found it limiting, so I taught myself how to code. I picked up Python, since that’s a good way to start. My mathematical background helped me because I understand the logic and the deduction of it. It’s like writing mathematical proof, you have to be precise.  

So I’m curious, how did you end up in Holland? 

Yeah, that’s actually the weird part of the story. My family is from Ireland and I always wanted to live in Europe. My idea was to go and study there after the Dubai experience, but then I got a job opportunity on a Norwegian sailing ship.  

Wow that’s interesting, what did you do there? 

It’s a private school where high school students embark for 1 or 2 years learning how to sail and see the world, without having to pause their studies. So I was teaching them their courses, in between setting the sails and cleaning the decks and toilets. We traveled from Europe to Africa and then crossed the Atlantic Ocean to sail the Caribbean islands. But then corona came and we had to quarantine in Bermuda. 

There are worse places to quarantined 😉 Then what happened? 

I flew to Texas, where my girlfriend was staying at the time. I started looking for jobs and Data Science masters programs in the Netherlands.

But why the Netherlands? There are programs like that all over Europe. 

I was searching for specific technical programs in English. Germany and Sweden were also a possibility, but I got a job at the American School of The Hague, so I chose the Netherlands. I taught there for one year and then I studied in Utrecht fulltime, Data Science. 

How do you like it here? 

Well, I got a job now so I’m happy! And I live in a really nice place in Leiden. My girlfriend Addy moved here also from the States and found a job here too.  

So how did you get in touch with AnalitiQs? 

I was looking on LinkedIn and I found AnalitiQs and decided to apply. I had really nice conversations with Gido and Irma. They really seemed to like my different background. I like the way the work is organized at AnalitiQs, project based. And I really like that I can learn from people in different roles and take part in the whole process.

What are your ambitions?  

I really want to be a senior Data Scientist. In teaching I was very experienced and felt very confident in what I was doing, now I’m starting again from scratch. Hopefully I will grow in this career. Seeing the whole picture and being able to tell stories with data and understanding all the technical aspects. That’s really exciting, that’s why I switched.  

And finally what do you like to do outside of work? 

I like to work out, I like to read and to watch football. I want to go out and find some games or clubs that I could join, since I couldn’t do that before due to corona. Also I like to go to the dog park with my Romanian rescue dog. Having a dog makes it easy to socialize 😊 

Do you speak Dutch by the way? 

I understand ‘een beetje’. I can pick up what people are talking about. When I found out I was going to work at the American School, I decided to take lessons in America. I have to restart now and pick up where I left off. I thought my pronunciation was ok, until I had cashiers laugh at me in the supermarket. So I’ll keep working on it! 

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