Devon Edwards Joseph

Data Science Engineer
2019

How I came to STEM

I’ve not followed a traditional path into STEM!

After degrees in Anthropology and National Security, I joined the Lloyds Banking Group graduate scheme and noticed that FinTech players like Monzo and Nutmeg were revolutionising the industry.

Blogging on FinTech trends left me frustrated that I did not understand terms like ‘machine learning’, or how on earth companies used it to build recommendation systems that seemed, to me then, to work like magic.

My curiosity drove me to spend my evenings and weekends teaching myself to code and learning how to build machine learning models, and my hard work eventually paid off in helping me to achieve a permanent role in Data Analytics.

Having since moved through working in robotics, and now to my latest role as a Data Science Engineer, I noticed a real dearth of women like me in the meeting rooms and conferences I find myself in.

As I searched outside of work and came across meetup groups like the Artificial Intelligence Club for Gender Minorities, which I currently co-organise, I realised how crucial it was to have role models and cheerleaders like those I found there.

There is a saying that ‘you need to see it to be it’, and I wholeheartedly believe that to be true. It was not until I found the AI Club that I began to truly believe I deserved a place in STEM because I saw people like me working just as hard to break in and find a space there. With their support, I stand that bit taller, and I stop second-guessing my contributions.

Why I love what I do

I really love working with data.

It provides me with the chance to do all of the things I enjoy most at work; from problem-solving to writing code, or having to regularly learn new technologies on the fly, all whilst trying to translate between technical and business-minded colleagues to make sure that everyone understands the bigger picture.

This is why I feel so strongly about getting more women into STEM careers; they provide you with so much opportunity to do mentally stimulating and interesting work each day.

You never stop learning.

What I’m proud of, & what I’m hoping to achieve through the WYPB

What I bring to the WYPB is a story of an unconventional journey into STEM; going from being an Anthropology student to a Data Science Engineer! From being terrified of maths lessons in school, to winning the Future Star of Tech in AI award in 2018!

The crucial thing is that I did not do any of this alone. I have built and connected communities of people along the way, both in and outside of work, which offer support and opportunity to those who have not traditionally had easy access to them. I believe that is exactly what WISE aims to do for women and girls in STEM.

I hope that during my time with the WYPB, I can act as a role model for those who, like me, have either taken (or aspire still to take!) an unconventional path into STEM. To show that with some self-belief, determination, and the support of an organisation like WISE behind you, it is completely possible to successfully transition into STEM from an unconventional background and thrive.

Posts, Projects & Events

  • Project (WYPB): Male-Allies for International Women’s Day
  • Project (WYPB): Negotiation Skills session at WISE Conference 2019
  • Organiser: ‘Diversity by Default: Data Science’ event, London – January 2019
  • Panelist: Hortonworks Conference, Barcelona – Women in Big Data Panel – April 2019
  • Speaker: Petchey Academy ‘Career Ready’ Programme for Disadvantaged Students, London – May 2019
  • Panelist: DevelopHer panel at the Artificial Intelligence Summit, London – June 2019
  • Longlisted: Computing’s Most Influential Women in Tech List 2019
  • Shortlisted: Women in IT Excellence’s Woman of the Year 2019
  • Panelist: Cloud & Infrastructure Live, London – September 2019
  • Organiser: Artificial Intelligence Club for Gender Minorities + Theodo; Doing Data Science at the Command Line event, London – November 2019
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