My name is Emma Gamble and I am the Head of Data and Analytics at Appleby.
What my job involves
I am a Data Scientist, which means I am part Mathematician, part Computer Scientist and part Data Analyst. My current role uses all of these skills. I work with large volumes of data, producing reports, analysing and reconciling financial data, and modelling data to produce forecasts and Management Information.
I work with people all around the world, at all levels within the business, to help them better understand what their data is telling them, via dashboards and visualisations helping them make more informed decisions. I also build underlying data models so they can get quicker, easier access to their data without having to be too technical themselves.
A large part of the job is learning about the flow of data between systems, understanding the business logic used to change data and identifying causes of inaccurate or incomplete data - poor data quality is always a problem in any organisation.
How I got into this profession
I studied A-level Maths & Statistics, and went on to complete a Maths degree. As part of the course involved using computers, I quickly realised this was an area I really enjoyed, so I switched my course to Maths and Computing. From there my career began as a web developer, building web sites for a dot com start up in the early days of the Internet. After a few years building up frontend knowledge and skills I began to have more interest in the backend of computer systems - the databases, and drawing out patterns and conducting mathematical analysis. Now my role is about 50% building front end reports and dashboards, and 50% backend development and modelling.
My team work with all areas of the business and we enjoy a huge amount of variety in the work we are asked to do - one day is never the same as the next.
Qualifications or skills
Attention to detail and a methodical approach to problem solving are the most important parts of the job, as are being able to work with huge volumes of data and being able to spot errors and fix them. Another important part of the skill set is being able to communicate to technical people about business matters, and business people about technical matters.
I currently use SQL for querying data, Excel, SSIS and SSAS (for modelling and processing data), and Power BI/ Tableau (for building dashboards). I also occasionally use R or Python to help with statistical analysis of a data set.
Being a woman in tech
I am lucky to work with a mixed team of men and women, who are all bright and keen to learn new technologies and ways of working. It can be a challenge keeping up to date with the latest developments while bringing up a family, but it is a career which is extremely rewarding, and the reports and insights you generate can have a significant impact on business decision making.
I’m a gadget nut, and I’m in the process of converting our house into a smart home - currently working on configuring our video doorbell to get it to play sounds through our sonos speakers! But aside from tech I enjoy reading, running (Park Runs) and long walks with the family along the amazing north coast cliff paths.
What I enjoy most about my job
I love problem solving and each request I see as a challenge - how can I find the best answer, in the clearest, quickest, most reusable and maintainable way, that conforms to the relevant governance and GDPR policies.
It’s a great time to be working in data as there are new technologies and applications being released all the time, to make data more accessible to non-technical people. I particularly enjoy this part of the job, showing people a new way of seeing their data or teaching them new tools - and the "Yes, I've got it" moment when it all clicks and the benefits become clear.