Rodrigo Rico Gómez

INTERVIEW! #episode07 Data Scientist


about Rodrigo

We continue our series of portraits with Rodrigo Rico Gómez, he is our Data Scientist. We consult with Rodrigo on almost every project where the data provided to us by a client, need to be analyzed and structured to achieve a well-defined goal. Thanks for taking the time to answer Rodrigo!

gregory, assaad, thomas, francois

→ Hello Rodrigo, what’s your position/role at DataThings?

Rodrigo: Hello, I’m a data scientist. My job is, in general terms, to extract information from the data provided by the client to achieve a well-defined goal. The solution to this problem depends on both the nature of the data and the goal of the client. The cool part is that there is not one single solution for each problem, sometimes is unclear whether the solution even exists. Some solutions work better than others and my job is to try different approaches and find the best performing one.

→ In a few words, tell us for what kind of clients and what kinds of projects do you work?

Rodrigo: I could not typecast my clients in one category. My work can be applied to a wide range of domains. Currently I participate mainly in two projects: TrendXpert in the fashion domain, and InterQ in the manufacturing sector. I would say I can work with any client that holds data and aims to solve a specific problem with it.

→ Which technologies/programming languages do you use on a daily basis?

Rodrigo: Since I work on the early stages of the projects: experimentation and testing, my preferred programing language is Python. For me is convenient due to the wide range of libraries available for numerical calculus, image processing, statistic, machine learning, etc. For scientific programming Python is one of the best options. Another tool I’m familiar with is Docker. My implementations have plenty of dependencies and Docker allows me to encapsulate them in a container that I can run in other machines.
In addition, we are currently developing a GreyCat data base to hold the data of TrendXpert in a more efficient way. Also, when we developed the Web Demo of TrendXpert I was exposed to HTML, but I have to say I’m still an early beginner on it.

→ What is the best aspect of your job?

Rodrigo: My favorite part is when I face a brand-new problem. The wide range of possibilities to try drives my curiosity. You need to make research on what has been done previously, how other people have face similar problems, what are the alternatives and then start experimenting. I love this part of the job.

→ Are you more formal or relaxed at the work?

Rodrigo: I would say I tend to be relaxed. I enjoy the environment at the office. I think we manage to keep the level of formality the job requires, while at the same time we are quite relaxed on our interactions with colleagues. Which I think boost the team’s cooperation and the productivity.

→ What professional experience has shaped you the most?

Rodrigo: DataThings is my first professional experience. But I had a 6-month internship before coming here, at the European Space Agency. This allowed me to work with top scientists across Europe, and where I could apply for the first time Machine Learning to a real-world problem. My job there was to use Machine Learning to detect X-ray sources on astronomical images taken by the XMM-Newton mission that is in orbit around the earth. It was really cool for me.

→ Home office or on-site?

Rodrigo: I personally prefer on-site. I live pretty near to the office, so it’s not an issue for me to commute. I only stay at home when I must be there for some kind of reason, like a delivery, for example.

→ DataThings we have collaborators from different parts of the world, can you tell us where you come from?

Rodrigo: I come from southern Spain. I was raised in Utrera, a town near Sevilla, in the region of Andalusia. I also have strong connections with Azuaga, the village of my family, that is located a bit more in the north, in Extremadura.

→ Let’s switch with a lighter question: tortilla de patatas with or without onions? :D

Rodrigo: I don’t conceive tortilla the patatas without onions. I can eat it and it’s also good, but definitely not the same. But if you ask another Spaniard you will probably hear a different answer. It’s really 50%-50% divided among the population.

→ Sea or mountains?

Rodrigo: I like the mountains from time to time, but I would say sea.

→ What is your background?

Rodrigo: My main university studies are on Physics, I did a 4 year bachelor’s degree in the field. This gave me a strong mathematical background and problem-solving skills. I also have a master’s degree in Data Science, that allowed me to get the theoretical foundations of my current job, as well as some practical experience.

→ At the office's table soccer, do you rather play with “attackers” or “defenders”? Are you more into "mean diagonal attacks" or more a "brute force" guy?

Rodrigo: I started on the back but I’m getting more and more used to play on the front. And of course, brute force, I’m not good enough to control the ball properly. Even though, we are putting a lot of efforts on training, so one day we could play against Thomas and Francois without loosing our dignity.

→ How do you come to work on a daily basis?

Rodrigo: As previously mentioned, I live pretty close to the office, so I just take a walk. It takes me 10 minutes.

→ Do you have any hobbies?

Rodrigo: I like going to the gym early in the mornings with my flat mate and another Spanish friend. When I lived in Spain, I used to play basketball a lot, but I stopped when I arrived here, and it is definitely something I want to retake.

→ What attracted you to DataThings?

Rodrigo: I think the wide variety of cool projects you can work on is really appealing. Also, the fact that we apply cutting edge technologies, and it is a valuable experience. In addition, since it’s still a small company, you get responsibilities really fast.

→ What would you say to someone willing to apply at DataThings?

Rodrigo: I would say not to hesitate, just do the application process. If you have some doubts, you will have chance to ask the managers during the interviews. If you are passionate about machine learning, software engineering or big data, you will really enjoy the job. You will have the chance to work with highly technical people and learn a lot on the process. You will also see that your job matters and that your contributions are crucial for the projects you work in, even as a junior, something that is very rewarding.

→ What are the 3 emojis you use the most?

Rodrigo: I have a very standard profile jajajja I normally just use the smile and the laugh, not very innovative jajaja

→ Great! Rodrigo thank you for your time, and one last question. What is your favorite place to walk or relax in Luxembourg? 😎

Rodrigo: For me it would be the Corniche Road, there I have a really beautiful view of the city, especially at night or when it snows.

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