Current position: NLP data scientist
Master’s programme and track: Information Studies – Data Science
From Master’s thesis to career
'I found my internship with ING – part of my Master’s thesis – through the Thesis Fair that the UvA organised. That’s how I connected with ING. Then we had some further discussions and interviews. It was an interesting time period since it was my first professional experience as a Data Scientist. I enjoyed working for ING, met lots of data scientists with lots of working experience, and was eventually hired by ING after the internship. The UvA course helped me with my time management and my prioritization skills. It was the same demanding work environment that I experience at the ING. You have a lot of tasks to do, you have to find the best balance, and then you have to prioritise which task comes first and which comes second etc. It also helped me to learn how to work effectively in a group.'
Demanding yet rewarding work
'I work for ING as a Natural Language Processing (NLP) data scientist. I work in the Financial Crime Analytics department of ING, developing and finetuning NLP models for various tasks such as Question Answering, Information Extraction/Retrieval etc. I also implement models and contribute towards productizing them. I chose this job both because the environment in ING suits me. In addition to that, the projects I work on interest me and help me broaden my data science skills/knowledge. It’s varied work. What’s important to me is that I’m working in a field that I really like, and that it’s both demanding and rewarding. You have to put some effort in order to keep track with all the current technologies. It’s rewarding because whenever you build a product you get to see it working immediately when you give it to users and they give you feedback.'
The Netherlands: an employee-oriented environment
'I appreciate the employment philosophy of Dutch companies. The American model, for example, is very strict and demanding. What I have seen from my working experience here is that managers care about the well-being of their employees and as result they do not get burned out so often. They also appreciate that you want to develop and they help you with courses or knowledge learning sessions. It’s an employee-oriented environment.'
Connecting with the industry
'People from academia and the industry were always coming to the Science Park to give talks about their research or products, etc. It was really interesting to participate in these talks and then after the talks we could also go and talk to them, ask more questions and network. My advice to students would be to absorb as much information as possible from the lectures, utilise universities events to connect to the industry (Thesis Fair, talks, workshops), and above all enjoy the process! If you really want to connect with the industry, the UvA can give you a lot of opportunities.'