Meet Othmane, Data Science Consultant

Othmane joined AWS in 2018 as a Data Science Consultant and is based in Paris, France

HereAtAWS: Tell us about your career journey. What brought you to your current role at AWS?

Othmane: I was born and raised in Morocco, and have been studying or working in Paris for the last seven years or so. I graduated from the University of Pierre & Marie Curie with a Master’s in Machine Learning, and interned at L’Oréal where I applied Computer Vision and Machine Learning to the beauty industry.

Throughout my engagements with non-profit and entrepreneurial organisations, and during my studies (AIESEC, Junior enterprise), I developed a strong interest for agile, fast-paced and impactful work environments. Also, being close to customers while working on a variety of projects is what led me to apply to the EMEA AWS graduate program.

Two years ago, I joined the Professional Services team in Paris as a Data Science Consultant.

HereAtAWS: Can you explain in simple terms: your role, who your customers are, and how you help them?

Othmane: My role is to help customers solve their business challenges using Machine Learning on AWS, focusing on bridging the gap between ML research and business to achieve impactful outcomes. My work can range from framing the customer needs using the working backwards methodology, to diving deep in hands-on implementation of ML models, and all the way to solving scalability challenges when moving these workloads to production.

HereAtAWS: What technical and/or soft skills do you need to succeed in your role? 

Othmane: From a technical point of view, you need a strong Machine Learning background, alongside software engineering skills. 

In term of soft skills, given the customer facing nature of the role and the continuous change of technology, you need to actively listen to the customer, even anticipate their needs and clearly share your expertise with open communication. Being adaptable is also crucial (variety of projects and technology stacks). Last but not least, you need to have an analytical mind to solve complex technical challenges.

HereAtAWS: Have you had to learn any specific new skills (technical or soft) for your role? 

Othmane: Definitely! And fortunately I keep learning new skills on a daily basis!

As we generally work within wider teams, I had to work on technical skills that were outside my
core area of expertise, such as DevOps or Big Data. For instance, developing the breadth of my skills enabled me to better communicate and work with professionals from a wide variety of backgrounds. Additionally, being able to clearly communicate the value of ML to non-technical audiences helped me in my discussions with project leads, sales teams and also C-level.

HereAtAWS: How does your work with customers help to make a positive impact on society?

Othmane: It really varies from one customer to the next, and seeing the added value you bring on a day-to-day basis is very fulfilling! A few examples based on projects that I worked on include; enabling pharma customers to streamline their internal processes to better serve patients, ensuring financial teams are compliant with local laws through automatic auditing, and also supporting manufacturing customers to deliver products in a timely and cost-effective manner to their end customers through demand forecasting. And this is just the tip of the iceberg!

HereAtAWS: At work, are you involved in any activities outside of your role?

Othmane: Yes! As I like to get out of my comfort zone, I work closely with our sales teams to ensure the value of ML is communicated to our customers. I’m also part of the Technical Field Community (TFC) for AI/ML which helps me stay connected to the ML community in Amazon. This a great way to learn and continue honing my skills while at the same time sharing my learnings.

HereAtAWS: What’s the most exciting part of your job?

Othmane: The most exciting part would be the constant change and variety of challenges when working on customer projects. Every time it’s a new interesting problem to solve or a new technology to learn. Additionally, knowing that the ML solutions we worked on lead to tangible business outcomes is also very satisfactory.

HereAtAWS: What’s the most challenging part of your job?

Othmane: Setting priorities for what matters most and sticking to them, there is so many exciting things happening across the company, a continuous stream of learning opportunities that it can be challenging sometimes to fit everything of interest to you while focusing on what matters most.

HereAtAWS: What advice would you give people joining AWS?

Othmane: Don’t limit yourself to your job description, at AWS everyone is encouraged to show bias for action and ownership of tasks that are within the scope of your job. Reach out to other teams (sales teams, solutions architects, service teams, etc.) and be part of worldwide initiatives. And also, think big and come up with new impactful ideas to keep delighting customers.

HereAtAWS: What three words would you use to describe workdays at AWS?

Othmane: Exciting, challenging, fun!

HereAtAWS: What do you love to do outside work?

Othmane: In my free time, I enjoy taking my dog for walks, discovering new coffee shops and also honing my (almost non-existent) cooking skills!

HereAtAWS: Is there anything else you would like to add about your personal journey?

Othmane: Just to share a small anecdote. When I applied to AWS, I initially thought I was applying to a master thesis internship (turns out the word ‘graduate’ can be interpreted in many ways!). When the recruiting team reached out to me, I had already accepted another internship offer. I’m glad I answered that first email and took that first online test, little did I know I was on my way to a two-year journey (and beyond) solving customer challenges using ML and working alongside such talented and smart peers!

Long story short, don’t ever hesitate to click that “button” or answer that “email” as you never know where it might lead you!

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