Philip Spanoudes

Current Data Science MSc student Philip Spanoudes from Cyprus gives his views on the course and life at Lancaster University.

What did you do before coming here?

I’m originally from Cyprus. I came to the UK to take a BSc at Portsmouth University. I worked for a year as a software developer for NCR.

Why did you decide to come on this course?

I became interested in building a career as a data scientist and worked as a junior data scientist on a project for Flight Data Services Ltd. This project aimed at deriving insight from aircraft and travel information. I worked with a Statistics PhD student and was able to gain an appreciation of the value of statistical techniques for the extraction of meaning from data. I believed that I had strong coding and computer science skills, but felt that I would need further understanding of statistics if I was to progress as a data scientist. I chose Lancaster’s course rather than others as I felt that there was a stronger emphasis on statistical theory, and that I would be able to learn a wider range of techniques.

I was also interested in the opportunity to use the skills taught on the course by taking an industry placement and also being able to learn how to produce effective data visualisations.

Why did you choose this course rather than others?

I wanted a course that would allow me to gain experience in the technologies used in commercial data science, that would enable me to apply my mathematical knowledge and would enable me to gain work experience through an industry placement.

What will you do after the MSc?

I am looking to develop new techniques in machine learning that will enable me to investigate setting up my own enterprise in offering data science as a service.

What are the best things about this course?

I’ve enjoyed the wide range of topics that are available on the course and that students are able to choose the areas on which they want to focus. The availability of funded industry placements with prestigious companies is also great.

What placement will you be performing?

I will be working with Framed Data Inc. investigating the application of deep learning techniques to their analysis of churn prediction. Churn prediction allows a company to determine which of their customers are likely to leave and take steps to prevent this – my project is aimed at finding efficient and effective ways of enhancing this process. I’ll spend most of my time in Lancaster, but will be going to work with Framed Data in San Francisco for a couple of weeks during the Summer. I’m really excited to have the opportunity to work with cutting-edge data science with Silicon Valley.

What do you hope to get from the placement?

I’m looking to develop my understanding of deep learning, to deliver real innovation to Framed Data and to enhance both my skills and CV with a great project.