Data Science is where Art meets Science
- Sharala Axryd Interview

Danica Bozin, Serbia

Marketing Manager at Data Science Conference / 4.0,
Physics student

Today is the international Girls in ICT day and we are celebrating it by giving you an interview with one of the female speakers on DSC/3.0. Her name is Sharala Axryd and she comes from Malasia now working as a CEO of ASEAN Data Analytics Exchange (ADAX), a company with a mission to educate data scientists. Her background is in engineering and she’s been an entrepreneur for around ten years when in 2013 she realized she needed more data scientists, Sharala founded the Center for Applied Data Science.

Data Science is where Art meets Science

Sharala says that to be a good data scientist you need to be introduced to both the ‘artistic’ and ‘scientific’ disciplines. To tell a good story out of data you need to know how to get the knowledge and information out of raw data but you also need to understand how to present this in a beautiful way people will understand and love.

Advice for people wanting to become Data Scientists

For starters, she is glad to hear that someone wants to become a data scientist at all. Where she comes from and in most developing countries, children are usually told by their parents that they should get an education that will land them a job like being a lawyer, doctor, teacher, etc. In her experience, older adults don’t understand what data science is, parents ask questions like “is it like being an artist, are you not going to get paid?”, but claims the situation is much different. Her major goal is to raise the awareness of what data science is and help everyone understand that it is not some mysterious filed but a job that is needed in many industries today like finance, economics, medicine, telecommunication, etc. Moreover, she thinks that analytics should be a regular course in many study programs because it’s applicable to many fields, from oil and gas to healthcare and teaching.

Advice to parents of future Data Scientists

The world economic forum says that 5 out of 10 jobs of the future have not yet been created. Keeping that in mind, Sharala says the only thing you need to learn is how to learn. You should be able to learn anything that is thrown in your way because the jobs keep changing and so will you. For example, she says, if you’re a doctor and don’t think you should learn programming you need to rethink it, because it’s not the way the world works anymore.

Trends for the next 10 years

The one trend she points out immediately is the AI, and automation coming from it and leaving people without jobs. On one hand, this is happening very fast and people may not be able to adapt just as fast. However, automation will most likely take all the mundane jobs, and people are going to be free to take on creative and challenging jobs that will leave room for them to develop throughout their life. She goes on to say that we can’t even imagine the jobs that will be created in the future, but she thinks that in the future, education will not be a process you need to go through in order to get a job, but in fact something that you will want to do to enhance your well being or just explore different disciplines.

Education System in developing countries vs Scandinavia

It is becoming widely known that the education system in the north of Europe is way more open to change than the rest of Europe and much of the world. While in developing countries such as Serbia or many Asian countries, we still focus on results and test scores, Scandinavian countries create a learning experience for kids by letting them learn while they play. Famously, Finnish lower level education system doesn’t have any type of homework for kids - they let them play and invent things as they go as to nourish their curiosity. Moreover, these countries are developing Adult Learning programs to help people who may have missed their chance in getting high level education to get another one, while being able to work. They understand that life is not as predictable and that you should be able to correct your mistakes get new chances in the future. However, in developing countries, when you finish which ever level of education you do, you are mostly stuck and can’t go back to get better educated, the system doesn’t support it.

Sharala ends the interview by saying that we should look more into these systems that are trying to adapt, even if not perfect, they serve the world better than our old ones do.

To watch the full 12 minute interview, click here. Additionally, you may want to check our other interviews we did. Subscribe to our newsletter to hear about other interviews and many perks we offer to our subscribers like discounts for DSC 4.0 and many other conferences :)

Stay tuned until next Thursday and Happy Girls in ICT Day!