Xiatong, Data Analyst – Getsafe Team Stories

She is a librarian of data. Xiatong tells how she came to Getsafe

Article

4 minute read

2020-03-26

Xiatong is passionate about business and IT, and her activities at Getsafe combine the two. She is convinced that for all seemingly impossible IT challenges there is a solution - you just need to google long enough.

What are your first thoughts when you get out of bed in the morning during a working week?

I’m not really a morning person, it’s actually hard for me to get out of bed. So I don’t immediately think too much, but I do have a kind of habit. The first thing I do when I wake up is to check what time it is, then turn on the radio and listen to the news. This is because I want to keep track of what’s happening outside of my working bubble, for example in my hometown in China. And after that routine, the first thing I think about is: Do I have enough time to prepare some food at home or do I want some muesli at work?

And are you also a ‘preparing food for lunch’ person?

Yes! I try to make my own food and bring it to the office. I do it at least every other day. My team is like the cooking team. We all mostly bring our own food, which is amazing, because we sit in three different rooms and then we have the chance to talk over lunch.

How long have you been at Getsafe? And what brought you here?

I joined Getsafe in November 2018. At that time I was writing my master’s thesis in Mannheim. Actually it was procrastination that brought me here: you don’t want to write your thesis – so what do you do? You apply for a job. I had applied for an internship at Getsafe and was fortunately accepted. It was originally meant to be for six months, but after four months of having a great time and learning a lot Marius asked me: “Hey, do you want to work here full time?”, and I was like: “Yeah!” That’s how it really started.

But now you are studying on the side again?

Yes, I started online analytics program this year. Before that I studied management and business, but I felt like my job is at the intersection between the developers and the business team. It’s pretty much a hype these days to study data science. But it fits well to my learning needs as it’s a kind of combination of computer science, maths and business. And I need all of that in my job.

How would you explain your job to an outsider?

I would say I’m like a librarian: We have tons of books – that is our database. Then people ask for certain knowledge. They don’t ask for a paragraph in a book or a special sentence. They just want to know: “Is the Earth round or not?” And I am responsible for knowing where to find the right answers. In my work I really touch every aspect of data analytics, from collecting and cleaning data to analysing it and presenting the findings. That’s the full scope of the data experience!

If an expert would ask you: What are the most important skills for your job?

Data is information. To provide the right information, you must first ask the right questions. The most important skill in my job is to get the question right – that makes up 70-80 percent of my work.

What makes data so fascinating to you?

I like how data maps and models real life and its relationships. And I enjoy this really logical and organised way of thinking. But sometimes, data can be inconsistent, and when me and my team don’t succeed in getting good-quality data, this can be very frustrating. To use the librarian analogy again, it’s like we’re reading the same book – I am reading the Chinese version and Alessandro is reading the Italian one. We thought we were reading the same thing but it turns out there is a small difference. We can then compare notes and find out what is lost in translation. But that does not mean we can make the two versions the same. And if we can’t get it right and the data stays inconsistent, it frustrates me.

But actually you’re quite a cheerful person, aren’t you? What makes you laugh especially at Getsafe?

Our colleagues. They are the best. It’s a lot of fun and laughs coming to the office. I laugh at good jokes and the people here are full of them. Everyone is so quick-witted and funny.

Often there is a kind of slapstick humour. Once Alessandro helped me to install a Chinese program on my laptop, which was really complicated. We got so excited when it actually worked. But we got happy too early. It worked for probably three seconds and then my whole system crashed. We just jinxed it. That was a funny moment. And it’s especially funny when you hear people complaining to themselves. They are sitting in front of their laptops and they are like “what’s going on there!?”.That’s when you know that you are not the only one facing challenges in your work.

What’s better: studying or working?

Working. Even in university, where you think everyone is educated and open minded sometimes I felt the culture shock. I did make a lot of friends, but there were moments I felt that some people there were not so welcoming. At Getsafe I never had even the slightest hint of such a feeling. Here I felt like I fit in so naturally from the beginning. First of all, that’s maybe because everyone here is so nice, and secondly we are diverse to begin with. I used to think university was like this protected bubble where everyone is nice and working life is ‘real life’ where everything gets tough. But here it’s just really enjoyable.

If you had a wish for your working environment, what would you wish for?

Oh, I always wished for a day where everyone wears their traditional clothes to work. We have so many different ones to present. Hassaan and Salman could wear their traditional Pakistani clothes and the Germans could come to work in Lederhosen! I also have colleagues from Russia, Mexico, France, and other countries. It would be really interesting to see all those cultural traditions represented in one office.

I don’t think I actually have any traditional German clothes.

I have no traditional Chinese clothes either (laughs). But that would be a good excuse to get some.

You also want to be part of our team?

Author: Carina