Sometimes we forget the humans behind the tech in our ever busy world. DSF is fortunate enough to know some incredible tech leaders across the world and has the privilege of hearing them present at our events. That being said, our Speaker Spotlight sets the stage to get to know our speakers on a more personal level and connect them with our growing community. Read the mini interview below!

A bit about Galina:

My name is Galina Chernikova and I am a data scientist with a background in Applied Mathematics and Informational Technologies, boasting 3+ years of experience in leading consumer health companies. Currently, I work in Haleon, where I’ve been involved in diverse data science projects. My passion lies in using data to drive innovation and informed decisions in the healthcare industry. I’m eager to share my insights and experiences with the data science community at the Data Science Festival and looking forward to connecting with fellow enthusiasts and contributing to our shared knowledge.

How did you start out in your tech career?

I started my career journey during my sophomore year at university, when I was just 19 years old. In Eastern European countries, it’s quite common for undergraduates, particularly those pursuing STEM degrees, to work alongside their studies, given the high demand for individuals with technical backgrounds. At that time, GSK was seeking an intern who could write a documentation for a project outsourced by an external vendor. The documentation hasn’t been included in the contract with the outsourcing company. Realising the opportunity, I joined GSK as an intern for what was initially a six month period. However, my performance led to the extension of my contract, eventually transitioning me to a permanent role as a Data Scientist in their London office. This experience not only kickstarted my career but also underscored the importance of seizing opportunities as they arise.

What are the signs of success in your field?

In my field, two significant signs of success stand out for me. Firstly, it’s crucial that a solution not only gets implemented but also goes into production and actively contributes value. Throughout my career, I’ve encountered numerous ingenious ideas that were technically sound but failed to integrate into the business operations due to the significant overhaul required or resistance to change from established practices. Therefore, the ability to successfully navigate these challenges and see solutions effectively utilized is a clear marker of success.

Secondly, the publication of papers serves as another important indicator. This signifies not only the ability to innovate and contribute to the knowledge base of the field but also showcases one’s expertise and thought leadership.

What is the best and worst thing about your job role?

There’s nothing quite like the satisfaction of encountering a problem, devising a solution, implementing it through coding, and seeing it succeed. It’s an intellectually stimulating process that keeps me engaged and motivated.

On the flip side, the worst aspect would have to be the time-consuming debugging. Debugging, while essential, can be tedious and frustrating. Additionally, having too many meetings can disrupt my workflow and leave me with insufficient time to focus on actual tasks and projects.

What can you advise someone just starting out to be successful?

Starting out in tech can feel overwhelming, but focusing on the fundamentals can set a solid foundation for success. Begin by mastering the basics of linear algebra and calculus, as they form the backbone of many technical concepts in the field. Additionally, pick one coding language and become proficient in it; this will serve as a valuable tool in your arsenal.

However, don’t stop there. Tech is a vast and diverse field, so once you’ve grasped the essentials, explore different areas, and find what truly excites you. Stay curious, keep challenging yourself, and never underestimate the power of continuous learning in this dynamic industry.

How do you switch off?

One of my lifelong passions has been theatre, a hobby I’ve cherished since the age of six. Not only do I actively participate in theatre productions, but I try to attend various plays. The immersive experience of live performances allows me to disconnect from work.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Don’t be ashamed of what you don’t know, and always nurture your curiosity. It’s natural to encounter areas where knowledge may be lacking. Instead of feeling ashamed or discouraged by these gaps, embrace them as opportunities for growth. Stay curious, ask questions, and seek out knowledge.

If you could do anything now, what would you do? Why?

I would dedicate a significant portion of my time to research and upskilling myself. The pace of development in our industry is rapid, and staying up to date with the latest trends, technologies, and methodologies is crucial for maintaining relevance and effectiveness in my career.

On a personal note, I aspire to travel more and finally obtain my driver’s license.

What are your top 5 predictions in tech for the next 5 years?

I have 3 that come to mind:

• Expansion of renewable energy solutions: there will be significant advancements in renewable energy technologies such as solar, wind, and hydro power, leading to increased adoption and reduced reliance on fossil fuels.

• Enhanced cybersecurity measures: Cybersecurity will become increasingly critical. There will be a greater focus on developing advanced cybersecurity solutions to protect data, infrastructure, and personal privacy from evolving cyber threats and attacks.

• Quantum computing will make significant strides, unlocking unprecedented computational power and enabling breakthroughs in fields such as cryptography, drug discovery, and materials science.

Watch Galina’s session at the Data Science Festival here.

Thank you to all our wonderful speakers for taking part in our Speaker Spotlight

Want to become a DSF Speaker? Apply here!