A longer version of this Q&A originally ran on Women in Tech Scotland’s “Insights Hub” on July 19, 2019.
As a seasoned Data Scientist, Regina Berengolts coordinates cross-functional efforts across the organization to standardize and automate outputs of research projects. Regina helps TVSquared to deliver a scalable SaaS product that increases speed of delivery and actionable insight for clients.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got to where you are today.
I’m originally from Canada and have spent the past four years working in the tech start up scene in Scotland, starting as a data scientist in Glasgow and working my way to being the Head of Data Science at TVSquared in Edinburgh.
I’ve had a bit of a rollercoaster journey to get where I am today, starting with a background in business and marketing consulting when I was in Canada, then doing a Masters in Analytics and Big Data (in Spain!) to develop a more technical skillset, and I’ve now somehow managed to find myself in a management position at a growing tech company.
Why have you decided to get involved with Women in Tech Scotland?
I attended the Women in Tech Scotland conference last year and genuinely enjoyed the honest and difficult conversations that these women were engaging in.
There are a lot of different conferences available to attend when it comes to career growth or workplace management skills, but they tend to be broad and generic as they often try to cover topics that overlap for the majority of people.
However, women face very specific challenges that are hard for people to talk about unless they’ve personally experienced them. So, having a forum to talk about these experiences and learn about how others have overcome challenges is really important for learning, development, and growth for both myself and the women in this industry and something I would very much like to be a part of again.
What excites you about data science?
There are so many exciting things about data science ranging from things you can build to the beautiful visualizations to solving problems and everything in between! Personally, I’ve never been a fan of making decisions without as much information as possible. Data and data science gives us objective answers (of course, as long as the data and interpretation aren’t abused) that can be used to make better decisions so we no longer need to guess and hope we didn’t make a huge mistake.
What’s a typical work day like for you?
There are two commonalities throughout each work day for me, firstly my morning stand up where the data science team, along with a few developers, touch base on what we’re doing that day and, secondly, being in meetings for 75% of the day.
The themes and subjects of the meetings can be wildly varied, whether it’s reviewing new findings and insights with the data science team or working with developers to build out a product based on the research from the data science team or discussing front-end design with the UX team or speaking with the Marketing and Sales team and clients about our products and findings among many others.
My role is very cross-functional and collaborative, so most of my time is spent communicating with one or multiple teams at a time.
Why are women so crucial to the continued growth of the tech sector?
Women have a very different way of thinking to men. This is neither better nor worse, but crucially, different. In the fields of software engineering, data science, and computer science, so much of the work is done as a part of a team. I believe the perspective and value that women can bring to these disciplines is enormous, especially in highly collaborative environments.
What are you doing to promote women in tech at TVSquared?
As a company, I think TVSquared does much better than most in terms of gender diversity and support for women. One of the biggest problems I see is the low number of CVs coming in from women vs men which makes it difficult to have an equal workforce.
I believe as more children are educated early in STEM and more women feel empowered to pursue a higher education in it (especially as more and more universities are offering relevant courses), the balance will shift. In the meantime, both myself and other women in the company attend various events to talk about some of these challenges to try to educate others on these kinds of industry challenges.
What advice would you give to women who want to pursue a career in STEM?
Do it. Don’t be afraid or limited by what others think you should be doing or what you think your job has to look like. Technology and data have created a whole new field of exploration and the opportunity to create something new is unparalleled.
The most exciting innovations happen when someone brings a new perspective to the table and with so few women in the field, that gives us a huge opportunity to bring our own spin to things and craft new opportunities that build on what we love and are passionate about.