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Rhea Sam: from IT internship to Data Scientist

Social media handle(s): LinkedIn

A few words about me:

Sitting on a stool chair with white backdrop. I am smiling in my olive satin skirt and brown sweater.

My name is Rhea and I am a Data Scientist @ Valtech.

I love a good read and my TBR list keeps growing. You’ll find me dancing to a tune, out on a sunny day at the park or museum.

Fun fact, this is the fifth country I’ve lived in and I don’t intend it to be my last!

Are there any professional experiences you've had that are quite unexpected compared to what you do nowadays?


Is your background more STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) or non-STEM related?

I have a conventional background in STEM.

Where did your professional journey start?

It started as an intern over summer when I worked with the IT department after my second year. It was great first job, but not my passion so I kept going towards creative side to tech and landed as a data analyst as my first role.

How did you get into tech and what motivated you?

A TED talk that had such good storytelling ... I realised I wanted to work with visuals and being able to tell a story with data. So I kept digging, self taught myself R and ML and found that I absolutely loved problem solving and providing as many insights I could find.

During Covid it was a tough time to be a bachelor’s graduate. I pursued a master’s in Data Science and I had found what I liked and didn’t. Even though I had a degree in Data Science, I was very excited to start as a data analyst as I think they are the core connection between tech and business.

Have you experienced any 'career in tech' challenges / stereotypes?

Yes, that: Women aren’t as tech savvy. Women don’t keep up with the latest tech trends or that they don’t have the skills to be in leadership.

"Believe in yourself and try your best - your best is still good enough."

What you wish you knew before getting started in tech...

I wish I knew that not everyone is competing and that there will be politics in your workplace. You just got to find your safe space and focus on what you love to do. Lastly, always be vocal about what you want. If you don’t ask, no one will be able to help you.

What has been your biggest 'wow!' moment related to working in tech so far?

Being able to get some intense projects done and being able to work with a solid team to get the gears running. Also, attending conferences and being able to speak on panels!

What do you like / not like about working in tech?

I like working with some great colleagues who work with your strengths and support you where you don’t feel as confident.

I don't like the bias in leadership where women don’t get as much opportunity to put themselves forward. It still feels like a lot of it is gatekeeping.

"Everyone’s journey is different."

What's been your favourite / most memorable / funniest 'career in tech' moment so far?

Speaking at the Athena hackathon with some incredible women. Also, attending my first big tech conference the snowflake data tour!

And to wrap up, is there any advice you'd like to give to others interested in a career in tech?

Start on the why you want to be here.

Don’t forget it can be a lot at times, but there is support out there.

Believe in yourself and try your best - your best is still good enough.

Everyone’s journey is different.

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