Ariel Leslie | Metrics and Data Senior Analyst
What do you do?
Lockheed Martin Missile and Fire Control
Grand Prairie, Texas, U.S.
Department: Engineering and Technology
Education: B.S. Mathematics with Minor in Health Studies, Texas Southern University, Ph.D. Mathematics, focus on Applied Mathematics, University of Texas Arlington
Career stage: Early
I lead a metrics analysis team which requires constant communication with stakeholders, company executives (VPs and directors), chief engineers, and members within my team and partnering teams regarding metrics collection and data submission. My responsibilities include:
- Creating data science topic seminar presentations for and with our college interns
- Collaborating with other business areas on metrics collection
- Analyzing data (projects regarding metrics surveillance and process improvement) and making presentations for business executives
- Leading monthly meetings with stakeholders, chief engineers, and directors
- Collecting data across various databases, data wrangling within various databases
- Learning new techniques of how to analyze data
What types of skills do you use?
Problem solving, critical thinking, analysis, programming (R, Python, and MATLAB), data query/cleaning, data wrangling from various databases, written and verbal communication of data analysis results, teamwork.
How are applied mathematics and/or computational science important to what you do?
Computational science techniques, such as statistical modeling and machine learning, are based in a good understanding of advanced linear algebra, which is a very large part of my team’s data analysis, The use of critical thinking is a larger portion of my job because business questions arise every week.
What are the pros and/or cons of your profession/job?
Pros: Corporate partnerships including special discounts on sports tickets and travel opportunities; discounts for everyday use from rental car and cell phone companies; social networks within the company; remote work; private movie screenings; ease of finding other job opportunities within the company; pay and benefits; every Friday off.
Cons: Very siloed environment; few holidays.
Does your job offer flexibility?
Yes, I am remote and can work a flexible schedule as needed. It is not uncommon for Lockheed employees to also be professors at local colleges.
What career path did you take to your current position?
This is my first position after obtaining my Ph.D. I participated in the Institute for Mathematics and its Applications (IMA) Math-to-Industry Boot Camp, which gave me the opportunity to learn more about programming languages and statistical modeling.
Was your career path well planned or a result of taking opportunities as they arose?
I definitely took opportunities as they arose. The defense industry was not on my radar but because Lockheed is located in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, I applied. I applied for 40+ roles but it was a colleague that alerted me to my current position.
What advice would you give to someone pursuing a similar degree or profession?
Pay attention in linear algebra. Take that programming course! Take a statistical modeling course! Practice coding as much as you can. Never ever give up!
Was there anything that surprised you when you started out in your career?
The friendliness of business executives. I was very much accustomed to the STEM culture where people are very smart but may not be able to hold a conversation, but that changed quickly once I onboarded at Lockheed Martin.
Depending on location and level of education, $72K–$140K
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