Alpacas and Algorithms

My new data science role in the lockdown era

Its April, and I find myself in a new city, working a new job, and working from home. I had a bit of an adjustment to make, not just to working from home, but also to a new team, a working style, and a new field! Its been quite the ride so far, but things are starting to settle into somewhat of a lockdown routine.

A month ago, I started my new role at That Figures, a tech startup working to radically improve healthcare. Based in their Exeter office, I spent the first week getting used to the rolling Devonshire hills, and trying not to stare at the alpacas out the windows!

However, I’m now writing this from my bedroom slash office slash prison. I joke, I feel very lucky to have a desk in here, which has made the transition to remote working pretty smooth. However, there are a few of us in my house fighting for bandwidth and quiet; I have become known at That Figures for my excessively large headphones on video calls. Definitely can’t complain about the morning commute from bed to desk though.

My new role is as a data scientist, under the Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) scheme. Working with the University of Exeter, the aim of my KTP is to further advance the data capabilities of That Figures, in particular, by developing improved or totally new algorithms to analyse data collected in healthcare clinics. I’ve been working on a couple of projects won since the start of lockdown which have been great fun, and an amazing way to get to know That Figures.

Looking forward is really important in a small business. We have a lot of exciting plans for new products and services, once COVID-19 is out of the way! We are working hard to keep delivering projects for our clients over the summer, and I will continue to make progress on my KTP. We also have some students coming onboard, as part of their MSc’s in data science. I’m hoping to have a hand in supervising their projects, alongside my day to day project work, which should be exciting.

So thats it from me! I’ve been thrown in the deep end, thats for sure, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m looking forward to lockdown being lifted, and getting out for a surf and a climb. Most of all, I am looking forward to getting back on site, and seeing the office alpacas again!

Simon Kirby

Data Scientist (KTP Associate)