For this impact spotlight, we spoke with Victoire Djimna, an engineer turned data scientist from Cameroon. She shared her journey into data science, her experience working on projects in different domains, the essential skills for a data scientist, and her aspirations for the future.
Could you share a bit about your background and how you first became interested in data science?
I am an engineer with a background in mechatronics and previously spent two years working at Tracta Benz. During my time at Tracta Benz, I was responsible for the electronics department and worked on the automatic parts of vehicles. I realised that some systems, such as the braking systems, would be more effective if they could “think”’ for themselves and take action. This sparked my interest in data science and artificial intelligence.
What is your current role or position, and how does it add value to your client organisation?
My most recent project was with Ishango’s client, Atai Life. My project was aimed at predicting the level of depression in patients to develop a specific treatment for each patient and help them recover faster. I gained a lot of skills in understanding mental disorders, their meanings, their symptoms, and how they are detected. I created the synthetic dataset based on a public dataset.
What do you feel are the most essential skills needed to succeed as a data scientist?
I have identified two essential skills in my work as a data scientist: domain knowledge and communication. Since I have worked on several projects in different domains, it is sometimes challenging to have a comprehensive understanding of a particular domain. However, this exposure has been vital to helping me understand different types of data and find concrete and useful solutions using that data. It also found that it is essential to be able to communicate your results in a simple and comprehensive language that clients, who are not data scientists, can understand.
How has being a part of Ishango had an impact on you personally and professionally?
Being a part of Ishango has had a significant impact on me both personally and professionally. Professionally, I have had the opportunity to work on projects for different clients and gain new knowledge in various domains. Personally, I have learned a lot from the experts at Ishango and have had the opportunity to interact with them. Working with a professional team at Ishango has improved my understanding of data science and helped me grow as a data scientist.
What do you hope to achieve in your data science career in the next 5 years?
In the next five years, I aspire to become a senior data scientist with experience in a lot of domains. I hope to continue learning and working on real-world issues. I also want to use my skills to make a positive impact on society. For example, I have started a YouTube channel called Camebush with a friend. The goal of the channel is to help younger students with practice and answer their questions so that they can have full knowledge at the end of their schooling.