June 30, 2023

Data Scientist Spotlight: Tina Okonkwo

Data Scientist Spotlight

Please introduce yourself, what you do, and your current role.
I am Tina Okonkwo, a Data Analyst at FanBants, where my role involves analysing data and extracting sentiments to facilitate fan scoring. At FanBants, our mission is to create the ultimate platform for football and reality TV show fans in Africa, and I am proud to be part of the team leading that effort.

Tell us about your path into data science. What inspired you to pursue a career in this field? Is this what you’ve always wanted to do?
My passion for computers led me to initially aspire to become a Computer Scientist. However, circumstances led me to study Mathematics at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. After completing my undergraduate degree, I was unsure about my career path. I explored various options for mathematics graduates and frequently came across the fields of data science and data analytics. Given my background in mathematics, it seemed like a promising choice. I started learning by completing online data science courses initially on Coursera and then on DataCamp. My goal was to consistently learn for six months and then begin applying for data-related roles. I followed through with this plan, and in the fourth month, I successfully secured a position as a Data Analyst.

What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced on your career journey, and how have you overcome them?
Throughout my career journey, I have encountered several challenges. One significant hurdle was when I had to switch learning platforms due to the lack of a laptop. Initially, I was using my phone to learn, and the DataCamp platform provided me with the opportunity to continue learning conveniently. Additionally, a recent challenge I faced was understanding the specific requirements and expectations of my key stakeholders when preparing reports. Overcoming these obstacles has required adaptability, perseverance, and a willingness to continuously learn and improve my skills.

What advice would you give to those who are just starting out in AI and data science? What skills or qualities do you think are most important for success in this field?
For anyone just starting out, the advice I will give will be;

  • Know your why
  • Get a roadmap
  • Learn the necessary tools
  • Practice by doing projects
  • Stay consistent

The skills I think are most important for success in this field are;

  • Curiosity
  • Problem solving mindset
  • Analytical thinking
  • Communication skills
  • Domain Knowledge