Aygerіm Sagandykova

Specialty:  Data Science. Internship: Healthiest, США.

Aigerim is a native of Semey, she is 28, a graduate of SDU. She is currently on her way to obtain a PhD degree in Data Science from the Georgian International Black Sea University and she is working as the Data Science Manager in one of Kazakhstan’s banks. In 2018, she won the Shakhmardan Yessenov Foundation competition and went for her internship straight to Silicon Valley. She has her Telegram channel, and she can often be found climbing the mountains or meditating in the process of running. She passionately takes every opportunity to meet exceptionally interesting people.

What were your hobbies when you were a kid? When you first realized that IT is your thing?
I was always a fan of logic puzzles. I studied in the physical and mathematical class, from the 7th grade I studied programming. We started with simple programs, followed by object-oriented programming languages. So, in the 10th grade I already knew for sure that I wanted to write programs, create IT products. During my PhD program, I immersed totally into Data Science with more applied programming. We do not write programs, but analyze data and make forecasts.

What was your key challenge at the participation stage of the Foundation’s scholarship contest?
Interviews with startups. It was difficult and interesting at the same time. Each startup has its own tasks, and I should present myself from different angles. After I went through a dozen of such interviews, I realized that I’m already well all the stuff going on in the market: which areas are currently developing more, what people are interested in and what skills are in higher demand.

Please, tell us about your six-month internship.
The office of Healthiest was located in San Francisco. The main idea of the startup is to help people maintain a healthy lifestyle. All this is implemented as a plug-in for web browsers, which gives the user recommendations on healthy and environment-friendly products on Amazon.com. The plugin is absolutely free. Its business model (B2B) is built on advertising and promoting healthy product brands. Due to this, the project makes its money. The startup also has a secondary source of income – this is an interest on the cost of goods purchased on Amazon through its recommendations. I personally worked at Healthiest to finalize the product on Ruby, improve the algorithm that produces recommendations, and build analytics for managers. A unique experience for me was life itself in the Valley. I attended interesting events: meetings, workshops, conferences. I met many people who still inspire me.

What were your achievements over those six months in the Valley?
This period was the best for my growth, both professional and personal. The startup itself is still at the initial stage of development and cannot yet expand its workforce, but the work culture is at a very high level. The relations between employees, the upbringing of young people, and the way they worked on projects – I already use all of this in my work. I realized that for the full-scale development, I need to share my knowledge. I’m doing this gradually, speaking at conferences, arranging meetings, writing articles, and supporting female specialists in the field of data science. Together with other girls from this field, we’ve created our community #WomenInDataScienceKZ. Even though it’s small, we have big plans. I publish all news in my telegram channel.

What is your outlook for the next couple of years?
It’s time to expand horizons. Plans for the near future are to get a job at one of the FAANG companies (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, Google).

10.04.20, Stories

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