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START UP: Interview with Tamanna Haque – Getting into Data Science

In the Start Up series, we interview influential figures of Data Science to discover how they first broke into the industry. Today we’re chatting to Tamanna Haque, Lead Scientist at Jaguar Land Rover. Tamanna explains how her education at the University of Manchester, her experience in Finance and her lifelong passion for luxury cars helped her land her dream role.

Tamanna offers some great advice on how to get started in the field of data science. She discusses the challenges she’s faced on her journey, and the important work she’s now doing to improve diversity in the AI and the Automotive industries.

GETTING INTO DATA SCIENCE

How did you start working in Data Science?

I completed a Maths degree at The University of Manchester, where I specialised in statistics. I didn’t do any post-graduate education and this was fine for me, I’ve always worked in fast-paced, commercial environments driven by value and delivery. After graduating, I joined a digital fashion retailer (with a Financial Services proposition) as an Analyst initially. I learned a lot about real-life data and analytics itself, whilst developing a rounded understanding about the business and how to deal with stakeholders cross-functionally.

A great way for me to set solid foundations for what followed, and I personally feel this gives me a lens that others who dive straight into Data Science don’t have. I was soon attracted to Data Science because it tapped into what I learned at university and challenges you to keep learning; there’ll always be new advances in the field and things to learn. I gave up personal time when transitioning from data analytics towards Data Science.

Were there any roadblocks on your path into Data Science?

There were definitely some challenges. I had a few people tell me I couldn’t do Data Science or specifically the role at Jaguar Land Rover. I’m not sure if this was because it was happening quickly, or because I didn’t fit the typical Data Scientist stereotype in several ways. This can instil self-doubt, which is why having and nurturing your wider network matters; I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the people around me.

 

INITIAL CONNECTION WITH JAGUAR

How, when, and why did you start to follow the company?
I’ve been a fan of Jaguar since I was nine. I grew up with Top Gear and Formula 1, but it was Jaguar which really piqued my interest. At the time it was the Jaguar XJ, XK, S-TYPE and X-TYPE which turned my head, all attractive and luxurious cars with sporting pedigree; qualities which made Jaguar an aspirational brand to me. Since then, I’ve ended up writing about the brand, attending previews of upcoming launches, and attending invitation-only experience days.

For more insights from Tamanna, read the full article over on our magazine: https://issuu.com/datasciencetalent/docs/the_data_scientist_mag_issue_3_digital/s/24371622

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