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Three Reasons for A Senior Data Scientist to Fall in Love with RELEX Labs

Oct 28, 2021 4 min

“Somehow, in the blog article, I would like to convey why Aki and I have been working in RELEX Labs for so many years. In their 30’s people often think that after three years at the latest, it should be the time to change jobs. It looks good on the CV”, says Erkka Saarinen

Aki Ali-Vehmas agrees, but both have worked as Senior Data Scientists at RELEX for longer than that. RELEX was a very different company six years ago when Aki landed his first role as a Data Analyst. After that, RELEX Labs was founded as the innovation test kitchen where our Data Scientists nowadays develop new products and functionalities and explore opportunities to improve our products and services. 

“In general, the three things that make me want to stay year after year are interesting and challenging job, opportunity to solve new problems creatively, and smart management”, Aki says. 

Without further explanation, these reasons can sound a bit like some general marketing phrases. So, let’s take a closer look at the three things that have made Aki and Erkka stay as RELEXians for six and four years. 

Three reasons why Aki and Erkka enjoy working as Senior Data Scientists at RELEX

1. “You learn what it really means to do research to develop a global scale SaaS product and its features” 

“To say the least, it’s so much more than single data analysis. You will learn to combine business understanding, data science, technology, and use process design”, says Erkka.  

“The best thing to me is that you can bring your own development ideas into a globally competitive product. It also helps to solve global problems such as reducing food waste and logistics’ carbon footprint. It is an opportunity to influence a real-world phenomenon as a Data Scientist.” 

Reducing food waste and logistics’ carbon footprint brings a sustainability perspective to RELEX’s product development. With the help of our Living Retail Platform, our customers can forecast demand, optimize its supply chain, and more.  

“Typically, you evaluate how your data science solution is working based on how accurate your predictions were. But in our work, that’s only one thing to consider. You also have to consider how that solution fits into customers’ processes, ensure that the solution works with the whole variety of our customer base and that your solution doesn’t blow up under any circumstances”, Aki describes.  

As the saying goes, retail is detail, and for example, forecasting one product out of millions badly can result in costly issues on our customers’ end.  

“Being right on average is just not enough, which is, of course, challenging. But on the other hand, overcoming the challenges makes it rewarding, and because of the huge scale, even small improvements can make a big difference”, Aki continues.  

2. “You’ll learn the clear connection between an analytical, scientific way of thinking and value produced for business”  

“Many of our customers’ problems are complex and solving them requires intelligent algorithms. Our job is to figure out how they should be done. It is at the heart of what we do as a business, and it’s an interesting position to be at the forefront of development. You have a big role to play in determining how our product will work in the future”, Aki says. 

“Today, I have learned to pay much more attention to why something is being done business-wise, what value it has to the end-user, and whose perspectives need to be considered when making a decision. In the end, our work is about translating business problems into analytical questions and solving them”, Erkka says.  

Erkka has studied political science, economics, mathematics, and statistics, and he has previously worked in the financial markets sector. His expertise at RELEX is in understanding statistical and machine learning models. Both Erkka and Aki think that the RELEX culture emphasizes an analytical way of thinking. 

“I believe it comes from the fact that the founders are scientists themselves. An analytical way of thinking can be found throughout the organization and is part of the culture. Decisions are always carefully considered and reasoned”, Aki says.  

“This has also been evident during the pandemic internally at RELEX: at first, we had meetings once a week to review the situation with the whole company. The situation was explored from an analytical angle, which resonated a lot with how I like to act myself when making decisions.” 

3. “At RELEX, you have plenty of different career growth opportunities in data science” 

Pros like Aki and Erkka would not have stayed with us for all these years if their careers had stalled in place. That’s for sure. Today, both Aki and Erkka are team leads with their own data science teams, and they are also responsible for one area of the product. 

“If you want, you can move forward in your career. You are not tied to just one role, but by talking about your wishes, you can find different opportunities to proceed in your career inside RELEX”, Erkka says.  

“As a Data Scientist, you can go deep into the algorithms, gain customer interface experience or choose a team lead path, for example… Or you can turn your entire career around by applying for a completely different role within RELEX. There are many opportunities in a fast-growing and global company”, Aki agrees.