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Spotlight Series: Poppy Wright, Data Quality & Operations Specialist, EDITED

Poppy Wright, Data Quality & Operations Specialist, EDITED

ARTICLE SUMMARY

SheCanCode caught up with Poppy to talk about landing her current role, what an average day looks like, and her career advice for other women in tech.

POPPY GRADUATED FROM RAVENSBOURNE UNIVERSITY IN 2020 WITH A BA (HONS) IN FASHION PROMOTION.

Recognising the role tech plays within the retail industry, Poppy joined EDITED, a global retail intelligence company, straight after graduation as a Data QA and have steadily advanced into a ‘Data Quality & Operation Specialist’ role.

SHECANCODE CAUGHT UP WITH POPPY TO TALK ABOUT LANDING HER CURRENT ROLE, WHAT AN AVERAGE DAY LOOKS LIKE, AND HER CAREER ADVICE FOR OTHER WOMEN IN TECH.

HOW DID YOU LAND YOUR CURRENT ROLE? WAS IT PLANNED? 

I graduated from Ravensbourne University in 2020, studying for a BA (Hons) Fashion Promotion. It was there where I realised the role tech plays within the retail industry. One platform in particular that sparked my interest was EDITED, a retail intelligence platform that assisted me with building market research reports throughout my course. After graduating, I was curious to see if EDITED had any job vacancies. I originally came into EDITED at an entry level position as a Data QA, with no particular experience within the world of Data Science. Now 3 years later, I have worked my way into a ‘Data Quality & Operations Specialist’ role working closely with the Data science and ingestion teams at EDITED.

WHAT ARE THE KEY ROLES IN YOUR FIELD OF WORK, AND WHY DID YOU CHOOSE YOUR CURRENT EXPERTISE? 

I work to ensure that we are doing everything we can to improve our overall data quality experience for our customers at EDITED. This includes:

  • Working with our Data Science team to collect data for our Machine Learning models and planning the structure of these models.
  • Working closely with customer operations to maintain the overall data health of our platform
  • Project planning

I started in a Data QA position, which meant I was mostly working with our Machine Learning Models to improve the overall quality of categorisation at EDITED. However, I wanted to gain more insight on the data we are ingesting and how we maintain that. This led me to take on a hybrid role, which gave me the opportunity to really understand retail data better.

WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF IN YOUR CAREER, SO FAR? 

Obtaining a role in the tech industry, when I did not essentially have the expected experience such as coding, coming primarily from retail/fashion. I am also most proud of helping to found and build up the EDITED Women ERG, the main aim of which is to create a safe and empathetic environment for all women in the wider tech community.

WHAT DOES AN AVERAGE WORKDAY LOOK LIKE FOR YOU? 

My day to day can look quite different whilst balancing a hybrid role, alongside a hybrid work from home / office lifestyle. One thing that always stays the same is that I start my day with a coffee, checking in with my teams and writing a to-do list. I don’t think I have ever had a working morning where I have not written a list, it provides structure to my day. If I am travelling to the office, I enjoy listening to music on my commute or sometimes to be completely honest, I will scroll through Tiktok for an hour. I enjoy having that hour commute to myself before I start my day, as I find myself waking up and starting work straight away if I am at home.

My typical workday usually includes a lot of research whether that is looking into new model structures or data driven customer experience quality, which can mean I spend the majority of my day in a spreadsheet. My role tends to involve a lot of internal meetings, so this can cover a large portion of my day. I also work closely on customer issues, so I will be checking in on any open tickets that I have to help resolve these issues.

ARE THERE ANY SPECIFIC SKILLS OR TRAITS THAT YOU NOTICE COMPANIES LOOK FOR WHEN YOU’RE SEARCHING FOR ROLES IN YOUR FIELD? 

I am a prime example that you might not need to have the technical skills you think to have a role in data. But the general themes of skills you need are: 

  • Problem-solving skills: Data professionals are often called upon to solve complex problems related to data quality, data modelling, and data analysis. Companies look for candidates who can approach these challenges with a structured, analytical mindset and who are able to identify and implement creative solutions.
  • Attention to detail: In data, even the smallest errors can have a big impact. Companies therefore seek candidates who are meticulous and detail-oriented when it comes to data management and analysis.
  • Communication skills: Data professionals often work cross-functionally with other teams, and they may need to explain technical concepts to non-technical stakeholders. Effective communication skills, both written and verbal, are therefore highly valued in the field.
  • Continuous learning: The field of data is constantly evolving, and companies seek candidates who are committed to ongoing learning and development. This might involve pursuing additional training or certification, attending industry conferences or webinars, or simply staying up-to-date on emerging trends and best practices.

HAVE YOU EVER FACED INSECURITIES AND ANXIETIES DURING YOUR CAREER, AND HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THEM?

My biggest insecurity that I have experienced during my career so far is definitely the fear of public speaking. This is something that I am still not 100% comfortable with, but I have come a long way since. My biggest advice to anyone who has felt the same, is to say yes to presentations and put yourself out there. The only way I have found my confidence improve is by throwing myself into doing as much public speaking as I can, as it definitely gets easier with time and practice. Another suggestion, is to not even wait around for the opportunity, make it happen for yourself by putting in knowledge-sharing sessions with your team members to start gradually building yourself up, this can also help to really solidify your understanding of your work as well as improving your presentation skills. I have always found that the more you teach someone else, the more you will learn yourself.

ENTERING THE WORLD OF WORK CAN BE DAUNTING. DO YOU HAVE ANY WORDS OF ADVICE FOR ANYONE FEELING OVERWHELMED? 

I think it’s important to find a mentor early on as they can provide valuable guidance and support especially when you’re feeling overwhelmed or lost for direction. Look for someone who has experience in your field, and who you feel comfortable talking to about your goals and challenges, often talking it through over coffee with your mentor can help you rebalance and find your feet again.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE OTHER WOMEN WANTING TO REACH THEIR CAREER GOALS IN TECHNOLOGY? 

Remember, reaching your career goals in tech takes time and effort, but with hard work and persistence, you can achieve great things. Don’t be afraid to take chances and pursue your passions, and don’t let anyone else’s expectations or biases hold you back. Here are five pieces of advice I’d give:

  • Build a strong network: Networking is important in any industry, and it’s especially important in tech. Attend industry events, join online communities, and reach out to people in your field. Building a strong network can help you find mentors, job opportunities, and valuable connections.
  • Focus on learning and development: In the tech industry, it’s important to stay up-to-date with the latest developments and trends. Take advantage of training programs, online courses, and other resources to build your skills and knowledge.
  • Speak up and advocate for yourself: It’s important to be your own advocate in the workplace. Speak up when you have ideas or concerns, and make sure your contributions are recognised. Don’t be afraid to ask for promotions or pay increases when you feel you’ve earned them.
  • Be confident and persistent: The tech industry can be competitive and fast-paced, so it’s important to believe in yourself and your abilities, and don’t be discouraged by setbacks or rejections. Keep working hard and pushing towards your goals.
  • Be open to new opportunities: The tech industry is constantly evolving, and there are always new opportunities emerging. Be open to new challenges and experiences, and don’t be afraid to take risks and try new things.

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