Article by Maryam Bala
By mhenrichsen | 06 Nov 2023
I completed my undergraduate degree in architectural engineering at Carleton University, Ottawa. I am now pursuing a MSc in Artificial Intelligence at the University of Aberdeen after discovering a passion for data and AI. My studies and experience have equipped me with strong analytical and technical skills, particularly programming languages like Python and databases.
I was drawn to this placement because the world of the public sector caught my attention. It is a world where numbers truly make a difference, and I wanted to see how data guides decisions that impact us all. I also wanted a chance to connect with and learn from experienced professionals in the sector.
As an Analytical Products Researcher, my primary responsibilities involved researching the current statistical and data analysis capabilities within the Scottish public sector, as well as the number of statistical and data analysts forecast to complete training/learning in Scottish Tertiary Education. I also researched and analysed the key skillsets of statisticians in the Scottish Government.
The goal of my research was to help the government understand existing analytical capacity, identify potential gaps, and forecast future hiring and training needs as data and evidence-based policymaking continue to grow in importance. It was exciting to work on something aimed at strategically developing Scotland’s analytical capabilities.
Beyond the core research project, I appreciated the opportunity to understand how processes operate within the framework of government. The environment fostered collaboration across departments, with colleagues openly sharing knowledge. I was given the autonomy to approach the work in my own way while also receiving constructive feedback on improving my research and analytical processes.
This experience solidified my interest in pursuing a career in data and AI. In the short term, I plan to complete my postgraduate studies and continue developing my technical abilities. Longer term, I hope to obtain a data-oriented role either in the public sector or with an organisation where I can apply my skills in an impactful way. I am grateful to have gained this valuable public sector perspective in my career journey.
I'm a student, currently studying for a BSc in Cybersecurity at Abertay University. My path into the cybersecurity world has been a unique one, having lived a former life as a Primary School Teacher for 5 years. I'll be entering the third year of my degree after this placement, so I'm relatively new to the field.
For me, User Research has always been part of an Agile process. So over the course of a few weeks I’m somewhere in the mix of the above processes. I can be speaking with Operations to source participants for the next round of research and then scheduling with participants.
It has been an amazing journey to be part of and I regularly reflect on the incredible achievements that have been accomplished to date from researching, designing, building, testing, maintaining, and transferring the vital services to help the people of Scotland.