Recalibration: An Ex-PhD Student’s First Year at Village


Date: Tuesday, September 29, 2020

The 12th of August marks the end of my first year at Village Software – also my first year in industry after completing my PhD in experimental physics. While the applications of my work have changed, I’ve found many things in common between my PhD and business intelligence.

Things I Love about Both

· Always having challenging, interesting problems to solve.

· Always learning something new from those around you.

· Having a supportive, encouraging and enthusiastic working environment.

· Having colleagues who really value the quality of their work.

· Feeling like I’m making a contribution to something worthwhile.

Some Differences

· The specific technologies involved. The process of repairing a microscope and fixing a data loading issue for a client look very different on paper. Despite that, the steps involved in solving problems are often the same.

· BI involves working on a greater number of projects in the same amount of time.

· BI involves much shorter timescales. This means shorter deadlines, but it’s typically much quicker to make progress on an issue.

· Vocabulary in BI is less standardised compared to science. Definitions can vary not only company to company, but even within a single organisation. It’s always important, therefore, to clarify definitions with clients and co-workers.

· Work in industry is usually more team-focused than in academia, as collaboration on projects is more common, and usually more involved. Now more than ever, I’m really valuing spending more time working with others.

In these challenging times, I’m very lucky to be able to sit down at my desk each morning with something rewarding to achieve, and an excellent team with which to share my efforts. I look forward to continuing my work with Village.

Helen Macaskill

After completing her PhD degree in Physics Helen has moved more deeply into the data world. She is applying the technical skills for data management and the sharp thinking to find solutions.

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