About Me

Up to now

about-meSince August 2017 I’ve been in the Advanced Analytics team of New Energy at AGL Energy. As a Senior Customer Analyst, I write code to build models and visualisations to solve business and technical problems across: Energy Systems Modelling and Customer Analytics. Some challenges we encounter include: How do we build one of the world’s largest virtual power plants? and How do we predict which customer’s will buy our new technologies?

‘The professional me’ – Elevator pitch

My passion is to build predictive models to help solve worldly challenges and contribute to the next waves of artificial intelligence. I constantly build my skills through: work experience, data science courses, attending/presenting at tech events and working on my personal projects. I am also writing this personal blog to make an impact on people’s lives by sharing my knowledge and experience on what I care about.

Prior to now

In November 2016, I returned to my native Australia after working in technology & finance in London for 3 years. I’ve visited over 40 countries and 100 cities, and hold many cherished memories in these places. I enjoyed domestic travel as a child but was nearly 26 when I first went overseas.

In 2012, as an engineer for ASC, I was seconded to Navantia in Spain to design the control systems of Australia’s new naval ships (AWDs). I was sent on 5 trips totalling 9 months over a 15 month period. This experience was life changing. In between I also did a lot of personal travel; the more I did, the more it grew this new passion. After 4.5 years with ASC, I had left and moved to London seeking new life and professional experiences.

Early life

I was born in sunny Adelaide, South Australia in 1986. My favourite subjects at school were mathematics, science and sports. I was encouraged from an early age to follow my dreams – this is a mantra that I live by today. Life is simply too short to do anything else. Constantly seeking for purpose in life can be challenging, but the journey itself is part of the reward. My first career aspiration was to be a professional Australian rules football player. The shear adrenaline and competitiveness of this sport excited me greatly and I had desire to shoot for the stars. In my early teenage years, I instead decided to focus on getting into university to study engineering. A role model of mine was Andy Thomas, an engineer and the first Australian astronaut in space.

In my later high school years most of my passion lay in mathematics. The pure elegance of this discipline really excited me, along with its usefulness across almost any field. I would get joy out of solving the problems. It was also rewarding to see my hard work pay off when I topped my maths classes. I had thought about shifting career paths to study mathematics and become a professor. My maths teacher advised that I also study engineering as this would provide more career opportunities. This is what lead me to do a double degree in maths & computer science with electrical engineering.

Data Science

In virtually all of my roles to date, there have been elements of data science (prior to the term becoming ubiquitous). Also the roles themselves are just names, what I bring to each role is a data science perspective. A forward-thinking company I worked for in London, GrantTree, doesn’t even believe in job titles. Hence I created these names based on how myself and others understood my role.

When I entered the graduate engineering program with ASC after university, I was keen to learn as much as possible. I also wanted to make an impact as soon as I could with my engineering skills. I’ve always seen a key element of engineering as the management of complexity. In order to do this most effectively, one needs to know how to store & analyse data, and how software is created. A lot of the projects I involved myself with were analysis and software related as for me it was most pertinent for solving the problems at hand. Here are some of my interesting career projects with data.

My R&D tax roles in London exposed me to data science from a technical & commercial view point. I had the pleasure of interviewing dozens of data science companies in order to write technical reports to get them funding. I had undertaken some data projects with similar challenges, but hearing the newest advances really urged me to learn more. This was a great experience to gain some critical business skills such as: consulting, client management, sales, accounting and delivering external presentations. It was fascinating to learn what is happening in industry, but hearing about it made me even more hungry to get back involved as a data scientist. I switched roles with my last London job at the end of 2015, as I focused on technical projects.

I’m constantly building upon my data science and communication skills as they are most valuable to how I want to change the world, even just a little. Data science and communication go hand in hand for me. Its not ideal spending your waking hours communicating something you’re not passionate about. Similarly, its no good having great skills without being able to sell your ideas, and influencing people for change. I’ve had some great mentors along the way, and learn from all experiences for constant improvement.

Communication & Development

Communication is more than merely transmitting data from one person to another. It is clearly telling another your message, receiving theirs, but most importantly trying to understand that person. Trying to understand where they are coming from, what is their world view, and what do they really mean with the words and body language they are offering.

Influence is an important skill to have in life and in business. But its important not to confuse influence with manipulation. The key difference is that influence is having others follow you, due to your leaderships skills, because they want to (not because they have to).

There are also some fantastic books I’ve read recently that have helped me grow and change the way I see the world:

  • ‘Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think’ (Kenneth Cukier and Viktor Mayer-Schönberger)
  • ‘Predictive Analytics: The Power to Predict Who Will Click, Buy, Lie, or Die’ (Eric Siegel)
  • ‘The Data Science Handbook: Advice and Insights from 25 Amazing Data Scientists’ (Carl Shan, Henry Wang, Max Song, and William C. C. Chen)
  • ‘The Signal and the Noise’ (Nate Silver)
  • ‘Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise’ (Anders Ericsson)
  • ‘Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life’ (Marshall B. Rosenberg)
  • ‘Reinventing Organizations’ (Frederic Laloux)
  • ‘The Lean Start-up’ (Eric Ries)
  • ‘The Mom Test’ (Rob Fitzpatrick)
  • ‘Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind’ (Yuval Noah Harari)
  • ‘The Modern Scholar: Ethics: A History of Moral Thought’ (Peter Kreeft)
  • ‘The Theory That Would Not Die: How Bayes’ Rule Cracked the Enigma Code’ (Sharon McGrayne)
  • ‘Blockchain: Down The Rabbit Hole: (Discover The Power Of The Blockchain)’ (Tim Lea)

I’m currently enjoying reading the following. (I’ll check back when I’m done.)

  • ‘Lean Analytics’ (Benjamin Yoskovitz)
  • ‘Python Machine Learning’ (Sebastian Raschka)

Experience

In brief, here are the roles I’ve had since graduation across the UK, Australia and Spain (for projects see data related career projects):

2017 – AGL Energy (New Energy) – renewable energy technology

  • Senior Customer Analyst (python, pandas, Tableau)

2016 – 2017, Marketplacer – eCommerce web technology

  • Data Scientist/Engineer (python, pandas, Tableau)

2014 – 2016, GrantTree (UK) – funding for tech companies

  • Data Analyst (python, pandas, R, VBA, Excel)
  • Product Lead (building software & new business model for high volume business)
  • Research & Development Tax Consultant (technical & financial analysis for clients)
  • Mentor (training workshops, and 1 to 1 mentoring)
  • Writer (technical reports for non-technical people)

2014, Leyton (UK) – funding for tech companies

  • Research & Development Tax Consultant (technical & financial analysis for clients)
  • Writer (technical reports for non-technical people)

2012 – 2013, Navantia (Spain) – submarines & ships – building & maintenance

  • Data & Software Engineer (C#, SQL, VBA, Access, Excel)
  • Control Systems Engineer

2009 – 2014, ASC (Australia) – submarines & ships – building & maintenance

  • Data & Software Engineer (SQL, VBA, Access, Excel)
  • Control Systems Engineer
  • Project Engineer
  • Electrical Engineer
  • Production Support Engineer
  • Logistics Engineer

Education

2016, Springboard (www.springboard.com)

  • Data Science Intensive

2004 – 2008, University of Adelaide, Australia

  • Bachelor of Science – Mathematical & Computer Sciences
  • Bachelor of Engineering (honours) – Electrical & Electronic

More about me  – ‘touchy-feely’ stuff

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been very curious about the world. My life has been a constant search to discover why I was put on this planet. I’ve accepted I will never get a concrete answer, but none-the-less through this journey, I will get closer. My philosophy on life is simply ‘do what you want’. When I tell people this, it can come across the wrong way. Doing what you want has a connotation with not thinking about others and being selfish. But there’s a lot more to it. When you breakdown ‘do what you want’, there are many components. Firstly, one must know what they want. Some know this about themselves very well, while others are not quite there or way off. If you keep searching to know, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

The other thing is that doing what you want can be viewed as eliminating altruism. This is not the case, in fact it is the opposite for me. I want to be good to others, and share my life with those I care about. And most of all I seek to truly know others as much as possible, be that a family member, friend or stranger. I’ll continue this sentiment in later posts, but first I want to make two points that I have recently grown to know (sometime within the last decade).

  1. Being ‘good’ to others is important. But ‘good’ is subjective; it varies wildly between people. We can’t impose a universal ‘good’, but we can try to understand each-other better.
  2. Acting out of guilt or duty is common. Its how we’ve evolved as a species, but its not always the most effective. Especially if you want to ‘do what you want’.

What I want

  • To treasure and grow connections with those people close to me, and build others.
  • Be open minded to other people’s world views, and hence understand the world better.
  • To be working at the forefront of technology, contributing to what excites me the most – this is Data Science.
  • Travel as much as my resources will allow.
  • Stay active, playing as many sports and activities as possible.
  • Make an impact on the world, to change it for the ‘better’.