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Alistair Rogers

Warwick alumnus Alistair Rogers (BSc MORSE, 2016) is a Senior Data Scientist at LV=, one of the UK’s largest insurance companies.

Find out about Alistair’s time at Warwick, his advice for students and recent graduates who want to work in the ever-expanding field of Data Science, and his plans for the future.

Why did you choose to study at Warwick?

When researching courses to study, I found the Mathematics, Operational Research, Statistics and Economics (MORSE) course at Warwick and instantly felt that it encompassed everything I was interested in studying. When I visited Warwick on an Open Day, I was mesmerised by the small town feel of campus; it had everything I needed, and it just felt ‘right’. I remember attending the Statistics Department talk on the Open Day and found it very interesting too. I know my parents were impressed with the talk as well, which further reinforced that Warwick was the place for me.


What is your favourite memory from your time at Warwick?

I worked at Kelsey’s Bar in Leamington while at Warwick and made lots of great friends there. I do remember the job being particularly hard work, but it enabled me to meet so many people that I otherwise might not have met, outside of my course mates. I’m still in contact with people that I worked with, and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.


Were you involved with any sports, societies or other extra curricular activities during your time at University?

I did briefly play American Football at University but really developed a passion for Powerlifting. I made some fantastic friends through the sport, who I am still in touch with today. I had the opportunity to take part in various competitions across the West Midlands and, after coming third in my division at the West Midlands Juniors, I qualified for the British Juniors event and competed there. I thoroughly enjoyed the social side of the sport too, especially going out for team meals – I’m sure we ate some restaurants out of food at times!

How did your course and your experiences at Warwick aid your personal and professional development?

I found that MORSE contained a great blend of both academic and business-practical elements and gave me the opportunity to study a broad range of disciplines, which prepared me well for working life. I was able to specialise in Financial Mathematics in my third and fourth years of study, including modules which were very applicable to my current day-to-day work, while the Programming for Data Science module sparked my interest in the field of Data Science, and ultimately led me to where I am today (as a Data Scientist).


What motivated you to work as a Data Scientist?

My father worked in IT and as a result, I developed an interest in programming from a young age. I sought to study a course that would enable me to pursue this interest, and the option to take several Computer Science modules, especially Programming in Java was something that I particularly enjoyed at Warwick. I wanted to combine the programming, maths, and statistical elements of my degree, and the final two years of my course enabled me to do this. I remember undertaking a group project where we built a model on how we could predict people’s happiness depending on what country they lived in. I thoroughly enjoyed the processes involved in carrying out that task and how it made me feel.

I didn’t initially work in Data Science after graduating but was still interested in working in the field. Over time I managed to convince the company I worked for that I had the skills to operate effectively in the Data Science team, so when the opportunity arose to join that team I was thrilled to take up the offer.


What skills or attitudes do you think are essential to being successful in your line of work?

Curiosity is key to working in Data Science – it is still an emerging and expanding field, so new techniques are regularly being developed. Having the curiosity to investigate and learn about new techniques is essential to success. I would also say that you need to have the ability to apply academic knowledge to a business-critical situation as well as be able to question and critically analyse data.

Similar to curiosity, being able to recognise and capitalise on opportunities that appear throughout life is vital as it can lead to exciting new experiences and help develop your networks. Some opportunities may emerge purely through luck, but it is up to us to capture those opportunities and make the most of them. This is something that I have found helpful in both my personal and professional lives.


Alistair Rogers

What advice would you give to a current student or recent graduate who might be looking to work in a similar role to you?

Because of the pandemic and the associated cultural shift where more people are working from home, we are more globally connected than ever before. The nature of data science means that it is an industry where most roles can be undertaken at home. This provides a fantastic opportunity for new graduates to apply for jobs all over the world and not just in their local area. I know of UK-based data scientists now working for companies in the US, which probably wouldn’t have been possible before the pandemic.

Many people have concerns that working from home can have negative impacts on your career progression. I don’t believe that this is the case. Certainly, in the field of data science, career progression is much more dependent on showcasing the skills and abilities that you have in your daily work and capitalising on opportunities that materialise.


What are your plans for the future?

As a Senior Data Scientist, I am reaching the stage of my career where I would like to start leading whole teams and larger strategic projects. I find mentoring new or junior colleagues very rewarding and would love to expand on my current experiences of doing this.

In a personal capacity, I am looking forward to being able to go on holidays again after the pandemic and making the most of my time off from work.