Kaitlyn Brady | Data Scientist
Boston Children’s Hospital
Department: Staples Digital Solutions
Education: B.S. Mathematics and Psychology, 2011, Worcester State University, M.S. Applied Statistics, 2012, Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Career stage: Early—6 years post Bachelor’s
What She Does
No two days are ever the same for Kaitlyn. As a data scientist it is her responsibility to extract and communicate actionable insights from data. Her role centers on understanding her company’s customers. Who are they? What are their preferences? Through knowledge of their customer, she may better tailor their experience and in turn increase company performance. Recently she worked on building a personalized product recommendation engine from design to execution, including scoping the problem, building the algorithms, and writing the code.
Necessary Job Skills
To be a data scientist you must be well rounded with statistical, programming, and communication skills, in addition to subject matter expertise. Some of these skills may be learned on the job, particularly the latter. Creative problem solving is critical. Each problem is different from the last and won’t fit a textbook mold. A data scientist must identify, and sometimes innovate, solutions that aren’t always obvious.
Mathematics is important in allowing Kaitlyn to provide concrete, data-supported evidence for the recommendations and answers she provides to business. Rather than making a subjective judgment, she uses statistics to formulate a solution that is based on reason and logic. Examples of concepts she has implemented so far include: time series analysis, logistic regression, and non-parametric measures for hypothesis testing.
Pros and Cons of Her Job
One of the more rewarding aspects of Kaitlyn’s job is when she knows that she delivered something new and empowered a business partner to advance their campaign or project—leveraging computer programming to bring a solution to production in an efficient manner. Kaitlyn’s least favorite thing is day-to-day reporting.
Kaitlyn found her first full-time job as a data solutions engineer through her school’s career fair. She was responsible for a lot of ad-hoc analysis and reporting and realized that she wanted to do more statistical-based work. That’s when she moved to Staples as a statistical analyst where she became responsible for campaign analysis and experimental design. After some time, her responsibilities once again fell into reporting and so she made the move over to a data science team where the work is more research oriented with longer term projects. Kaitlyn’s career path continues to evolve as she learns more about herself every day.
With each new role I pick up additional skills and passions and push myself towards a more defined career.
Career Expectations and Advice
“Don’t stress over finding the perfect job right out of the gate.”
Internships and applied projects are great ways for students to gain real-world experience that will teach them new skills, help them learn what they do and do not like, and to put on their resume. For those just starting their career, don’t stress over finding the perfect job right out of the gate—you are still developing and learning and will have plenty of opportunities to move around.
An approximate salary range is $90,000 to $200,000+ depending on education, experience, and location.
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