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  • Writer's pictureThiago Assuncao de Faria

Alexandra Tudor: Navigating the Data Science Landscape

Alexandra Tudor's journey in the realm of data science is a narrative of curiosity, determination, and continuous learning. Her academic pursuit in Economic Cybernetics at the intersection of Statistics, Mathematics, and Programming laid the foundation for her fascination with data science. This interest was further ignited during an internship at Dell, where she was exposed to the practical applications of data science, despite not being part of the team.

Alexandra Tudor with trail clothin watching the sunset over pine trees.
Alexandra Tudor watching the sunsets on a 120-km trail that lasted 6 days.

Facing the challenge of limited opportunities in Romania, Alexandra's ambition led her to the Netherlands, where she completed a master's degree in Data Science and Entrepreneurship. Today, she stands at the forefront of developing ML & AI solutions in Prognostics and Health Management, marking a new chapter in her professional journey.


Alexandra's story is not just about academic and professional achievements; it's about overcoming barriers, including the initial lack of a supportive environment and battling impostor syndrome. Her approach to these challenges reflects a blend of initiative, patience, and a commitment to continuous learning. Alexandra's perspective on diversity in tech, emphasizing merit over mere statistics, and her strategies for maintaining work-life balance, offer valuable insights into navigating the tech industry.

 

Q1) Can you share a bit about your background and your current role?


I first pursued a bachelor's degree in Economic Cybernetics, focusing on Statistics, Mathematics, and Programming courses.

While having an internship at Dell during my bachelor studies, even though I was not part of the data science team, I found an interest in their work. So that was the turning point when I discovered my passion for data science.

In 2017-2018, the probability of getting a data science position in Romania without a PhD or work experience was extremely low. Therefore, I relocated to the Netherlands, where I pursued a master’s degree in Data Science and Entrepreneurship at Eindhoven University of Technology and Tilburg University.


After graduating from that program, I worked as a Data Scientist for a consulting company and recently started a new professional chapter. I joined an oil & gas company where I'll be focusing on developing ML & AI solutions in Prognostics and Health Management.


Q2) How did you first become interested in technology, and what led you to your current role?


As a child, I loved learning and reading, exploring various subjects at school. But I'd like to mention that programming was not among my top preferences, so I encourage everyone to know that the tech industry encompasses much more.

But once I began my bachelor's degree, everything else unfolded like a domino effect in my career.

Q3) What main challenges have you faced in your career, and how have you overcome them?


I faced numerous challenges, including:

  • Lack of the right environment to pursue my dreams: Taking initiative and approaching people who could help was crucial. I started a new life in the Netherlands without family, friends, a network, or language knowledge. I secured two positions by contacting companies with no job openings; they listened to my story and hired me.

Impostor syndrome: Recognizing that learning takes time, I had to cultivate patience with myself.
  • Staying updated on the latest tech trends: The rapid evolution of technology requires constant learning and adaptation. Keeping up and staying curious is essential, though it can sometimes be tiring.


Q4) Who or what has been the most significant influence or support in your tech journey?


Family has been the most constant variable in my journey. I feel fortunate and blessed to have encountered several people who have contributed significantly to the person I am today.

I believe it's crucial to surround myself with people who are smarter than me and genuinely have the best intentions.

However, reflecting now, I realize that I also appreciate being surrounded by individuals who think differently than me. This diversity challenges my thoughts and contributes to my growth as well.


Q5) How have you seen diversity and inclusion evolve in the tech industry throughout your career?


Everybody knows about the issue of an imbalanced gender ratio in the tech industry, and it happened to me many times to be surrounded exclusively by men at work. Surprisingly, this circumstance has never harmed me.

I advocate for diversity for various reasons, especially for enhancing creativity in problem-solving.

However, I disagree with those companies that predominantly hire from specific minority groups only for statistical purposes. I firmly believe in providing everyone with equal access to tech education, ensuring that the best professionals emerge based on merit rather than focusing only on diversity metrics.

Q6) How do you manage the work-life balance in the tech industry?


Working in the tech industry entails spending most of our time in front of devices, which can lead to various side effects. So, I try to restrict my device usage during my leisure hours, opting instead to connect with nature, engage in various sports, hike, or foster healthy social interactions.

I believe that people should choose their own habits, but one strategy that aids me is establishing boundaries—refraining from addressing non-urgent work-related questions outside of my working hours and disconnecting from work once I close the laptop.
Alexandra on a rooftop watching the sunset.
Alexandra likes to disconnect from devices when not working and loves sunsets...

Q7) What skills are most important in today's tech world?

Learn continuously and unlearn unhealthy habits if that's the case for you, as it was for me.
  • Prioritize.

  • Surround yourself with people who have more experience than you, but at the same time, share your knowledge with those who know less.

  • Accept challenges even though you may not feel prepared for them.

Q8) Can you share a project or accomplishment you consider the most significant in your career?


Certainly, my contribution level varied across different projects—some with lower and others with higher involvement or impact. However, the time invested in each project has shaped me professionally and significantly shaped the person I am today.

Selecting a single accomplishment is challenging, but if I reflect on it, I can't imagine how different my life would be without pursuing a bachelor's degree in Economic Cybernetics. I believe it all began 8 years ago.

Q9) What are your future goals, and where do you see the tech industry heading in the next few years?


Life is too short, and I aspire to continue working within healthy environments and be involved in projects that fulfill me and align with my values. I aim to nurture my passion for data and contribute to the growth of others along the way as well.


The tech industry's future lies in the hands of those actively contributing, and I see myself as part of this driving force.

As I work with AI, I strongly believe its solutions will evolve to be our allies rather than replacements.

Q10) What advice would you give other women considering a tech career?


Whether you're a man or a woman, if you aspire to enter the tech industry, go for it.

You'll never feel 100% ready for a change—I speak from experience. Now there are countless free resources for learning, so it's a good time to join this industry. However, take it step by step, and remember to have patience, as things don't happen overnight. Speaking from experience on that front too.


Q11) Let's continue the flow... who would you like to read on the Lovelace Series?



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