Alex started just over a year ago, in July 2022. He’s one of our Data Scientists and part of our talented Data team here at Red Flag Alert.
Can you tell us a bit about your role at Red Flag Alert and what your day-to-day looks like?
I do the analysis and put together the algorithms that are behind our scoring and business data. A lot of the graphs and visuals you see on the website and on our app are usually underpinned by some kind of analysis we've done.
The biggest projects I work on tend to have anything to do with our credit scoring and growth score; building new ones and regularly updating existing ones is what we do most of the time.
I also spend a lot of time performing analysis when it comes to customer relations. So, if any customers have a query about data or why we’ve given companies a certain rating, we can give them a clear answer.
What piqued your interest in data science?
I finished my maths degree in July 2022. I did that for three years and was always interested in real-life maths and statistics.
Statistics is my favourite data topic, but I've always preferred real-life maths and equations. I liked data and wanted to work at a company with a big data source, and then I met Dr. Nic who introduced me to Red Flag Alert.
I really love the amount of freedom that comes with being a data scientist. We can usually perform our own investigations to explore things we find interesting. If we have ideas of what we think people would be interested in, or thoughts on better ways to visualise data, we bring it to the table ourselves. In my opinion, that’s one of the best parts of the job, especially when we have the chance to use the latest techniques.
What advice would you give someone interested in pursuing a career at Red Flag Alert?
Look at what you’re passionate about. Your passion is more important than the experience you have when starting out.
When I joined as a data scientist, I certainly didn’t have the experience I have now. Nothing I currently do at Red Flag Alert was prior knowledge; I learned along the way and picked stuff up.
If you have a basic understanding, a willingness to learn, and drive, you’ll do well. I think that's the most important thing that I’ve learnt. You’ve also got to go for a role that’s right for you. I find it interesting to look at data on my computer every day, and some people might find that boring.
What animal would you be and why?
A mongoose. It’s good at living on its own, but then also works well in a group.
They forage individually but check in with each other, and if the group encounters a threat the mongoose all bind together to fight it off.
What do you enjoy most about working here?
There are two main things: independence and trust.
Something I really like about my job is the fact that you can take on a lot of responsibility very quickly. There's a lot of trust when they hire you to be able to do the work required.
You learn something new every day, we're always driving forward different techniques. For example, implementing things using a process that we've been teaching ourselves over the last three months.
A lot’s changed since I first started. I like the fact we are always evolving and we’re trusted to do things the way we want to.
What approach do you take to problem-solving?
I go back and think about what we're trying to do from the basic level.
We take a very mathematical approach, I always try to keep quite level-headed. The simplest or most efficient solution isn’t always the best, you need one that makes sense for customers and their requirements.
Think outside of the box, keep working, and try out different ideas. Repeat and optimise the process, be open to change if it is needed.
Just thinking about different ways of doing stuff is very cool, you can have a solution one day then by the next it might be something different.
Who inspires you?
My dad. My colleagues in the Tech team.
I never understood why my dad worked so hard until I got a job. It’s impossible to do nothing when you see how hard people work in the team; I think I’ve got to try and match that. Otherwise, I would feel bad if others were trying, and I was just sitting around and tagging along.
I don't have this dream of all the money and the big house, that doesn’t motivate me. But the people in my team, they inspire me to work hard as well.
How do you keep up with trends in your industry?
A lot of reading. I'm always on LinkedIn finding cool data science topics and tools.
One thing I really like about the tech team is that we’re given time to learn. We’re always trying to implement the newest techniques when we can. There’s no set process of how we work because it always changes as we try to find the optimal way of doing things – be that analysis, data science, or anything else.
I also learn a lot from other people in my team as well. We’re all good at thinking on our feet and solving problems.
What do you enjoy doing when you're not working?
Trivia! I love going to pop quizzes and being active to unwind. I find it so nice to be able to go back home for the week and work remotely.
I try to go to the gym most days a week, it’s always good to get moving, especially when you spend so much time sitting down. I’ll go outside at lunchtime every day; it helps to clear my head after problem-solving.
I do enjoy playing games (especially strategy), as well as going out occasionally with friends.
What does the future look like for you within Red Flag Alert?
They’re funding me to do a master’s in modern data science with machine learning and AI, so I think that’s what I’m going to be specialising in the future. Right now, it’s very broad but there’s going to be lots of projects going forward in machine learning and AI. I’m going to be so busy!
Richard’s very passionate about it so I’m going to learn online whilst working and hopefully feed it back into Red Flag Alert. There’s an effort to really skill up the business and help people learn, we’ve grown a lot in numbers and have a lot of talent internally so it’s a great time to be part of our team.