As part of our ongoing commitment to bring forward the next generation of data scientists, we welcomed fourteen interns to Population Data Science this summer. Two of our interns, Michael Parker and Irene Astrain spent 12 weeks embedded with Population Data Science project teams, working on individual projects.
We spent some time with Michael and Irene to learn more.
Studying: BScApplied Medical Sciences, Swansea University Medical School
Mentor: Jane Lyons, HDRUK
Project: Trends and patterns of disease measures in the Welsh population: a descriptive assessment of Electronic Health Record (EHR) code usage across different frameworks.
What motivated you to apply? I developed an interest in coding after completing a Statistics Module, as part of my course. The internship offered a great opportunity to explore coding further and expand a topic that isn’t covered in my degree studies.
What did you learn? Whilst working on a real-world project I developed hands-on experience of using multiple languages including Structured Query Language (SQL) and R. I have found the work really satisfying and I have particularly enjoyed the challenge of working with the data and problem-solving.
Do you have a tip for future interns? It has been 2 years since my Maths A level – so I was a little unsure whether I should apply or not. It is easy to doubt yourself, but I would encourage students thinking of an internship to apply – I have learnt so much. Population Data Science needs people with a diverse range of skills – not just statistics and data analysis.
I’d absolutely recommend this internship. I’ve learned so much about research studies, and the working environment. It’s an amazing opportunity to step into a field that you might have little to no experience in and work from the ground up.
What next? This internship has opened my eyes to Population Data Science. As an emerging science, it offers great career opportunities and the chance to work in a field that can really make a difference. I am now thinking of furthering my studies and possibly taking Population Data Science at Post Graduate level.
Studying: BSc Maths, Swansea University College of Science
Mentor: Lucy Griffiths, Nuffield Family Justice Observatory (NFJO) Data Partnership & Dora Pouliou, Administrative Data Research (ADR) Wales
Project: Numerical determination of obesity using the Child Measurement (NCCH) data.
What motivated you to apply? As I am studying Maths the opportunity to work with data seemed like a good fit. I have coded before but the internship was a chance for me to add to my skill set and learn SQL and R.
What did you learn? I worked at the feasibility stage of an emerging project and my task was to investigate and understand the data ready for the research team to use. It takes time and patience to sort inaccurate, missing and duplicate data. This stage of the process is challenging but crucial. I found an immense sense of satisfaction ensuring the data was of the highest quality.
I have never had to present my work in front of an audience before and I was particularly nervous about presenting at the Intern Showcase. Before the event, as a group, we practised and gave each other feedback – this really helped. In reality it wasn’t too scary – it was a fun day. The experience took me out of my comfort zone but I now have some experience in public speaking and these skills I am sure will be very useful in the future.
Do you have a tip for future interns? My main tip would be to never underestimate the process of data cleansing. It sounds easy but it can be complicated. You will need to be super organised but the pay off when the job is done is well worth sticking with the challenges the process throws up.
What next? I think the internship is an amazing opportunity. I gained lots of experience and skills whilst enjoying myself and getting paid. The internship gave me a real insight into data analysis and I am now interested in pursuing a career in this field.
The 2019 Summer Intern Programme was supported by SAIL Databank, HDR UK, ADR Wales, Dementias Platform UK and The Nuffield Family Justice Observatory (FJO) Data Partnership .