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Imogen Younge – Data Scientist Women in Tech Imogen Younge

Can you introduce yourself and tell us about the industry you work in?

I’m Imogen Younge, I’m a data scientist at a Med Tech company called HexTransforma Healthcare.

What inspired you to become a Data Scientist?

As a teenager in school, I was always passionate about biology, so studying it at uni was the natural step – it was the science that made the most sense to me. While studying Biology, I realised I didn’t like experiments, but really enjoyed the analysis afterwards. My final project was in ecology, and I found I really enjoyed the stats and data analysis. So, I went on to do a master’s in Health data analytics and machine learning, and that’s how I ended up working as a data scientist in healthcare.

I’ve been in this role 6 months, after finishing my masters in the pandemic! I’m really enjoying it. It’s been a really good challenge and I’ve learned a lot.

How do you see the landscape of digital healthcare changing over the next 5 years?

I think we’re at a really exciting point. The pandemic has brought to light how outdated some of our systems are, and how there is so much data available that could be used to improve patient outcomes. Hopefully, there is now motivation from healthcare providers to introduce new technology to help improve patient care.

I think it’s a really exciting time to be involved. Alongside that, machine learning is always driving new innovations and ways to make better predictions from data. So, with those two fields moving so fast, a lot can be achieved.

Can you tell me a bit more about the Early warning wearable devices project you are working on?

We are looking at machine learning and remote monitoring. The idea is to improve the current healthcare system – the aim of the project is to develop technology that will help doctors diagnose patients using more information than just from a consultation. The project is also looking at improving social mobility in young people, so its great to be involved!

Can you tell me a bit more about the Tutor work you did explaining coding to children and teenagers?

I worked with Fire Tech while I was at University. They are a company really committed to teaching kids and teenagers coding in a fun environment. It’s great to see – when I was at school, I didn’t know what coding was, let alone that it was something I could do! I wish I had that opportunity when I was 12! To be able to learn coding as a fun activity, rather than getting to University and having to learn it in a serious environment, with an exam at the end.

I worked as a tutor, teaching python courses, and really enjoyed the enthusiasm and energy the kids have. I think they have this confidence that we don’t have when we code as adults. They have this vision for what they want their project to look like, and just go for it – I think as adults we can sometimes see all the complexity needed to achieve it instead. Those kids are going to be amazing in 10 years!

In coding and technology, there is definitely a gender bias. So running an all girls course was a fantastic experience – its great it is acknowledged that there can be barriers to women in technology, and that supportive environments are being created. It’s so important that people are proactively doing something to change that bias. Hopefully those girls have gone on to be confident coders!

What would you like to be working on or doing in the future?

It is so hard to know in medical technology. It’s changing so quickly! I think for me, I always wanted to study and work with something that’s impactful. So, what I am working on at the moment should have a direct impact on patients, and I hope in the future to be able to work on similar projects.

What is the best advice you have been given that you have been able to apply to your role?

Growing up and at school, I was always told to do your best. So to do whatever you are doing to the best of your ability. I think that’s been really useful. You don’t need to be the worlds best person at coding, or understand machine learning better than every other person.

You need to be working to the best that you can. That way, you will work out pretty quickly what you enjoy, and where you want to be.

What advice would you have for other women wanting to pursue a career in data science?

I think for me, one of the great things about data science is that people come to it from all different backgrounds. This means approaches from different areas of science can combine to approach the problem – meaning you get to work with different perspectives and learn a lot. I don’t think there is a ‘classic’ route in to data science – so I would suggest going and studying something you are really passionate about. I think it’s important to learn about data science in the context of something you are interested in.

Data science is such a broad area. Even the five days this week, I’ll be doing different things within this role. It could be data cleaning, learning a new area or a new task or prepping a machine learning model. For me, I’m in a small company, so I get to try loads of different areas, but I know in bigger companies, data scientists could be loads of different people doing loads of different things. So I would definitely recommend data science – there is so much to learn and try out! Reach out to people in the field to find out what they are up to, and see if it sounds like something you would enjoy.

 

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