Marcus — 28 — Data Scientist - The Explainer
Marcus joined our beloved edyoucated team as a Data Scientist and we couldn’t be happier to have him on board. After working side by side for almost four weeks now is it time to finally introduce him properly! ⚡️
Keep on reading to get know why he decided to become part of our team, what his first weeks @edyoucated have been like and what he likes to do outside the office.
Thanks for taking the time, we are more than excited to get to know more about you. Could you start by telling us a little bit about yourself?
Hey there! I started my nerd career as a half-time RTS gamer (Age of Empires, Warcraft 3, Starcraft 2 anyone?) during school. It seemed the logical conclusion to take Computer Science as a focus subject during my 12. and 13. year of school (shoutout to my teacher, he really had a passion for conveying knowledge about programming). I believe this paved the way for me starting the business computer science bachelor and information systems master at the university of Münster a couple of years later.
I enjoy teaching and passing on knowledge to others, but could not imagine becoming a teacher in the slightest (due to the lack of progress and change over time, and regurgitating the same infos over and over again). The context of academia initially seemed like a better fit. A couple of years ago, I became a mentor for TechLabs Münster (and have been a mentor since), where I try to pass on my knowledge about data science and AI to interested students. TechLabs also utilizes the edyoucated platform, so taking on a job at edyoucated is like hitting two birds with one stone.
In my free time I try to find a good balance between gym&gin. 🏋️♂️ 🥃 And I find winter holidays (skiing!) superior to summer holidays (sunburn and sand everywhere…). ⛷
During not Corona times Marcus likes to test the ski slopes of the world.
Why did you decide to become a Data Scientist? Did you always wanted to work in a Startup?
I think I discovered my love for data (ugh, that sounds like one of those cheesy LinkedIn status updates. If this reminds you of yourself: Please stop posting that kind of kitsch!) during my final two years of my studies. We had the concept of focus subjects in our Masters degree, in which students can pick from the areas of, for example, software engineering, process management, information management aaand: Business Intelligence. My love for management blabla has always been limited, so I decided to focus on software engineering and business intelligence.
I never wanted to become a full-time developer (I feel this would place me a bit too far away from the actual business context), and I really appreciated the data-based case studies we had to work on in the data analysis courses. This was also my first moment of contact with AI and machine learning, making predictions on seemingly complex problems (spoiler: they were not complex, those artificial case studies seldom are).
My initial occupation as head of analytics in a small-sized data analysis consultancy/product company was sort of an accident - I had initially planned to do my PhD. But it opened up a host of possibilities for me (ugh! another cheesy line).
Startups seem more interesting in the sense that you never know what happens next week. I guess I enjoy this uncertainty more than the “boring” safety of big corporates (are they really safe, though?).
You are our newest team member. Why did you decide to join our team? What makes edyoucated special?
I have worked side-by-side with co-founder David at my previous employee for roughly 1,5 years already, after being in the same student society with him before that. I have also got to know two of the three other co-founders (Jannik during my Information Systems Bachelor degree, and Marius in said student society as well). I have also got to know two other employees (Jana and Nils) throughout various occasions. So you could say I knew most of the team pretty well already.
That was a good start. During my studies and first job I got to appreciate the value of a great team more and more. There is this TED talk on startup success, placing team as the second most critical success factor, and I could not agree more. Talking about it: The same TED talk places timing on top - and when could be a better timing to join an online education visionary than in today’s unprecedented times.
I want to be honest with you: The first time David told me about his idea of personalized e-learning I couldn’t see any real benefit. “What if a major content provider suddenly decided to go full B2B? They own all the content.” or: “How can you be an e-learning provider and not generate any own content?“.
However, taking lots of online courses myself, I started to see their shortcomings. Roughly 30-50% (my own estimate) of content seems useless - either because I already know the basics of the topic or because I do not care about certain advanced nuances. Now, that is just my unpaid free time that I am wasting, but how about applying this to the corporate context? Saving even one third of learning time translates to millions of Euros saved for companies.
And now I am sold on the idea.
Could you give us a sneak peak into one of your first projects? What will be your main responsibilities in general?
Like I said above, I believe great value can be derived from more and more personalization. The classic way of providing online courses - through means of static learning tracks, exactly the same for every user regardless of the users’ actual state of knowledge - feels outdated. Therefore, my initial efforts will be focused on intensifying the idea of personalized learning.
I am currently working on a feature that (a) improves the assessment process of a user’s knowledge state and (b) dynamically generates the most appropriate content on a weekly basis (or once the user is done with the previous content). The result will be closely coupled to the agile concept of sprints (think of learning sprints!), bringing more flexibility and fun to a seemingly boring domain like e-learning. 🤓
What would be the first adjective you would use to describe your first weeks @edyoucated ? Why would you chose that word?
Diverse. 🌈 I would choose this adjective because my first tasks comprised:
- Designing a new view for the learning tracks (UX design).
- Talking to users about their current experience (user research).
- Improving performance of some AWS Lambda functions (backend development).
- Building a new learning track (content curation and ontology construction).
- Drafting proposals for clients (sales).
- Simulating outcomes of different personalization algorithms (data science).
- And some more…
The only thing missing on that list was administration and legal stuff (not too disappointed about that).
Jan, Marius and Nils already told us a bit about unknown skills they possess or skills they would like to learn in case they had some free time. Are you currently learning a new skill? If so, which one?
I am currently diving into the world of frontend development (Angular), even though that is probably not too spectacular (and also a bit work-related). I have always played with the idea of learning the piano (can’t be too different from typing on a keyboard, riiight?), but that will probably not happen anytime soon. 🎹
Truth to be told: I am not really the type of person to spend 99% of my time on productive activities. I would rather go outside and grab a beer, sorry to disappoint.
And we’re already finished… Thanks so much for taking the time Marcus! Anything else we forgot, that you would like people to know?
Yes! Please, everybody, do not try to forecast stock prices with neural networks. IT DOES NOT WORK!!! (Sorry, sort of an insider)
And: R is better than Python for data processing and visualization. (Take that, Pythonistas! 🐍)
Oh, final request: Please do not confuse the terms AI, Machine Learning and If-Else-Statements.
You would like to become part of our team as well? Check out our open positions!