From DSS fan to the Marketing team at Dataiku

Corporate|Opinion| September 04, 2015| Alivia

Hello all! I’m Alivia and this is the (epic) story behind how I found out about Dataiku, why I decided to join, and what my role in the company is going to be (and how you and I are going to become buddies).

alivia smith dataiku data science studio
Psst, you can find me on Twitter.

I joined Dataiku a couple of weeks ago to animate our user community. My goal is to get all our users super excited about Data Science Studio (aka DSS or the Studio), about using it and talking about it, with us and with the rest of the world. This is the perfect job for me because before I joined the team, I was a user and I loved using the Studio, talking to the team about it, and telling everyone around me how great it was. This is my DSS story. After you read this, please tell me your story!

From Zero to Data Analyst Hero


It all began 6 months ago. As I was finishing my Master’s degree at Sciences Po Paris, I joined a small startup company who had just launched a mobile app to help people meet. When I joined the company as a “data analyst”, there were only 5 of us. My job was to look at and analyse the numbers coming out of our app in order to help the CEO, the product manager, and the growth team in their respective roles. I also started looking into the use of predictive models to help improve the app by pushing better suggestions to our users based on their past behavior. Basically, I was doing data munging and analysis for Business Intelligence and targeting purposes.

This was a big task. Especially for someone with very little real-world experience in the data ecosystem. As they say, a startup is like Schrödinger’s cat: if you don’t look at the data, the startup is both dead and alive, so pretty much dead.

Here I was, fresh out of business school without ever having written a line of code in my life, let alone looked into relational databases. So when I gained access to our database and started looking into how I could use it, let’s just say I was a little sceptical… and totally terrified.

I tried to be as proactive as possible, started looking into SQL and downloaded all the tools I heard or read about on my old computer. When I tried new tools, half of them didn't work and the other half didn’t have free versions that I could connect to my database and start testing immediately. And then one day, I tried Data Science Studio… which actually worked right away. Hallelujah! When I had issues with setting up plugins on my old computer, the support team got back to me right away..

Data love at first sight


The Studio was amazing. It was so easy to use, even for someone like me little to no experience with data science and machine learning platforms. I spent a half day on the Tutorials and on the User Guide and then I was ready to actually dig into my SQL database.

Thanks to the DSS dataflow, which is such an instinctive representation of my work, I could see the progress I was making and always go back a few steps when something was not working. The recipes were super easy to understand because they reminded me of Excel like tools I was accustomed to, and I got the numbers I wanted after just a couple of hours playing around.

The user experience was great; anything I thought of doing I would find where I thought it should be and could execute right away. Not only was it quick, but it also never crashed (something unheard of when I tried other tools)! And once I’d gotten used to the Visual Interface, it was also really useful to start learning how to code by using the notebooks and testing my SQL queries by comparing the results with those I got with graphs.

Meeting the Data Science Studio Community


When I saw Dataiku organized Dataiku User Groups, I was the first to sign up. I won’t lie: I was a little bit worried I’d show up surrounded by proper data scientists with Statistics PHDs and really complicated questions. Of course there was nothing to worry about. I got to meet people from the team who demonstrated a great tutorial that got me thinking about how I could optimize my flow (things then got a little bit more technical when a data scientist did a demo on Twitter Sentiment Analysis.)

The best part of the meetup was talking to the other users and hearing how excited they were about all the cool projects they were doing with the Studio. They all had different backgrounds, some non-technical like me, others experienced Data Scientists, but they all loved using such a flexible tool. They could work with the beautiful Visual Interface to do everything from cleaning to predictive modeling, and go behind the scenes and add their custom code, constantly iterate on their work, share it easily and collaborate with team members. Everyone I talked to was interested in what I was doing, and always eager to share tips and cool tricks hidden in the Studio.

I kept going back to the Dataiku User Groups and #DataDrinks of course, not just for the pizza and beer, but to get better at using the Studio and meet the rest of the community. When I started looking for a new job, I immediately turned to Dataiku and that’s how I ended up joining Dataiku’s Marketing team in August.

My job (and personal mission) at Dataiku is to develop the strong community of users who help us make the Studio better, who come meet us and talk about DSS at our User Groups, and who exchange advice with one another. Basically, I want to be your DSS BFF!

So anytime you have something to tell us about what you do with the studio, what you wish you could do with it or just can’t figure out how, or just how much you love us I’m your guy (bug reports will still be handled by these smart people though)

I can’t wait to meet you and hear all of your Data Science Studio Stories !

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