I’m pleased to introduce you to Koen Smets, who is joining Sentiance as Senior Data Engineer. Koen holds a MSc in Mathematics and a PhD in Computer Science. During his PhD research, he applied various machine learning and data mining techniques to identify and characterize anomalies in data.
Why did Sentiance tickle your fancy and what motivated you to start working in a startup environment?
I would say it is a combination of the latest technology, smart environment and the challenge ahead ramping up to millions of users. On the one hand there is the technology stack in place that I’m highly familiar with, on the other hand several applications used by Sentiance to process big data are high on my ‘to learn’-list.
As you will be working closely with both the software engineering as the data science team, what do you think the most challenging aspect of your job will be?
My main task will of course be to make sure that we transfer the prototypes to scalable applications that fit tightly in our architecture. The major challenge ahead will be to automate and monitor the quality of our data and models used in production.
What will your main focus be for the first couple of weeks?
My main focus will be bringing my knowledge of big data applications up to expert level, while digesting and optimizing the current code base.
What advice would you give data engineers that are just starting out?
My main motto is “Start by doing, before jumping into scripting and documenting” Moreover, learning to use a Swiss-army knife like Ansible, and always being eager to add new tools to your toolkit that help you automate tasks and deploy to different environments. Regarding the data your working with: feel free to play around to get to know the details and learn to speak the language of the domain experts.
Aside from work, what are you passionate about in life?
To compensate the many hours behind the terminal, most of my free time goes into long-distance running and swimming… and of course analyzing the data I capture via a heart rate monitor and swimming device to keep an eye on my progress.
Let’s talk musical preferences. As you have probably noticed already, our software engineers are real metal heads. What music makes you groove (or bang your head)?
My favorite radio channel is Studio Brussels, and on my Spotify I constantly switch between rock, punk and heavy metal radio channels. So, also here I’m bridging the data science and software engineering team! 😉
Koen joined the team earlier this week and we’re very happy to have him on board!