Discovering her ardour for mathematics at a young age, Teodora Stevanovska’s journey into the tech industry was all but destined. Now a Data Science Analyst at our Munich office, she takes us through how she keeps up with an ever-evolving field and offers insightful advice to women hoping to enter the industry.

Meet Teodora Stevanovska, our Data Science Analyst in Munich

​​​​​​​Following an unwavering passion

As early as primary school, I had an unwavering passion for mathematics. Growing up in North Macedonia, I participated in mathematics competitions and extracurricular activities, always eager to discover more. Despite limited job opportunities for mathematics graduates in my home country, I remained committed to pursuing this academic path, which had always felt like my true calling. Determined to follow my path throughout my younger years, I finally got the chance to begin the next step in my journey, completing my Bachelor's studies with first-class honours at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.

Throughout my Bachelor’s studies, I fell in love with mathematical optimization, which inspired me to continue my academic journey pursuing this field of mathematics. Therefore, I enrolled in a Master of Science programme in Mathematics in Operations Research at the Technical University of Munich. The experience was nothing short of exhilarating as I discovered how mathematics could be applied in numerous fields, including Data Science. Looking back, I do not doubt I made the right choice by following my passion for mathematics.

Applying talent on the path to Metyis

Given the infinite applications of the field of mathematical optimization, I was still unsure about which career path to follow, until I came across machine learning. In parallel to my Masters' studies, I was occupied by a working-student job in Business Intelligence and Artificial Intelligence, where I learned that optimization is critical for training a machine learning model. Thus, I immediately enrolled in data-oriented courses at the university and continued gaining hands-on experience with real-world data during my work. I was impressed by how even the simplest models or analyses can answer critical questions and problems and how far artificial intelligence has come to mimic the human brain and make life easier. Data science really is an incredibly poignant and exciting field.

​​​​​​​Just two weeks after finishing my Master of Science degree, I joined Metyis as a Data Science Analyst in Munich's Big Data & Analytics team in September last year. Working at Metyis has proven to be a valuable experience for fostering both my professional and personal development and the perfect choice for kick-starting my full-time career in the tech and data industry.

Keeping up with the ever-evolving field of data science 

The data science field is constantly evolving, and keeping up with the latest developments and discoveries is crucial. For instance, even after completing my thesis on the training of recurrent neural networks, I stay current on the latest research and papers in this area. The insights gained can be highly applicable in building more efficient predictive models. To enhance my technical expertise, I enjoy enrolling in online courses to learn about new tools and concepts that I can directly apply to my work. Additionally, I attend various data community and big tech company events to discover diverse approaches and to network and learn from fellow data professionals. At Metyis, we're offered a range of training programmes not only for technical skills but also soft and consulting skills. These programmes take place in the stunning city of Porto, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to attend multi-day training sessions, which expand our knowledge and offer us the chance to meet colleagues from other offices and travel. In conjunction, we have access to an online platform with a vast selection of courses that allows us to receive professional certificates and further develop our skills.

However, working alongside experienced data scientists at Metyis has been the most valuable part of my development process. My experience working on internal projects has emphasised the significance of reusable models and their various applications. On the other hand, developing solutions for our clients has been instrumental in progressing my communication skills and ability to fully own the outcomes.

Closing the gender gap and finding guidance with Women@Metyis

I believe the rapid growth of the data and tech industry is a trend that will continue at the same pace in the future. Advances in technology, such as AI and IoT, are driving new applications and innovations across various industries. Similarly, data is becoming increasingly important, almost crucial, for making informed business decisions, digital transformations and the growth of companies. However, despite the industry’s evolution, there is still a significant gender gap, and women continue to be underrepresented in the data and tech fields, particularly in leadership and technical roles.

As a female professional in this field, my most common challenge is dealing with stereotypes and prejudice. When I tell people what I do for a living, they often react with surprise and comment that I don't fit the typical image of someone in this specialisation. This can be quite frustrating, as instead of having meaningful conversations, I end up having to explain myself and justify why I'm in this field, which many still perceive as "unusual." Likewise, when I was studying, the percentage of women on my course was significantly lower than that of men, making it challenging to meet other female data enthusiasts who shared my interests.

Many companies have already addressed this issue and undertaken different initiatives and efforts to increase diversity and inclusion and raise awareness of this issue. Highlighting the contributions of women in the field and promoting their accomplishments can inspire the next generation of women to pursue careers in tech and data. One initiative I find particularly invaluable is the Women@Metyis mentorship programme, which pairs female professionals with a female mentor in a higher-ranking position. Having such a role model allows us to envision a more relatable path forward and allows us to gain advice and guidance from someone who has been through similar challenges. 

Inclusivity is essential for innovation

Metyis is an organisation that fosters diversity and inclusion, which is mirrored by our team structure at the Munich office. Having colleagues from different profiles and backgrounds allows me to learn about different approaches and perspectives on tackling various problems, whether related to data or other topics.

Diversity can lead to new ideas and innovations, as people from different backgrounds can bring unique perspectives and approaches to problem-solving, leading to more creative and effective solutions that may not have otherwise been possible with a homogenous team. Additionally, a diverse workforce can better reflect the customers the industry serves, generating products and services that are more tailored and inclusive. Inclusivity is essential as it creates a work environment where everyone feels valued and respected, resulting in higher job satisfaction and increased productivity. As someone not natively German, I have already felt the positive effect of diversity and inclusion in the office. As English is the official lingua franca, I do not feel excluded from meaningful and important conversations. Furthermore, our office hosts events where we can share aspects of our culture, such as traditional food, snacks and drinks, which brings great satisfaction and a feeling of being accepted and valued. 

Advice for women entering the industry

My first and most important piece of advice is definitely to believe in yourself. It is indeed a cliché, but if you are passionate about the subject, do not let anyone make you feel you are not good enough or do not belong in this field just because you are a female. Trust your abilities and be confident in your skills, which takes me to my second piece of advice: always learn, practice and stay up-to-date to excel in this field; being at least familiar with the newest tools and concepts is vital. Nowadays, online resources are numerous, and we need to know how to use them properly, for example, by taking online courses or working on personal or open-source projects. Finally, be persistent, do not give up and take every opportunity that comes your way!