This week we welcome Claudia Ng as the PyDev of the Week! Claudia is an author / contributor at Real Python! If you’d like to see what else Claudia has been up to, you should check out her personal website.
Let’s spend a few moments getting to know Claudia better!
Can you tell us a little about yourself (hobbies, education, etc):
I’m a data scientist and I’ve spent the past five years working in fraud and credit risk in the fintech (financial technology) space. I have a Masters in Public Policy from Harvard University and a Bachelor’s in International Business (Finance) with a minor in Spanish from Northeastern University.
In 2018, I was working at a Fintech called Tala, where I managed the new customer portfolio for their Mexico market. It was an incredible journey where we scaled the customer base by over 500x in only two years! Through this process I saw the power of automating lending decisions enabled by machine learning. I was fascinated by how alternative data could be used to predict customer’s repayment behaviors and fraud risk, unlocking the ability to lend to individuals with no or little credit history.
I’m an impact-driven person and seeing the power of applied ML inspired me to set my mind on pivoting into data science by taking on ML-related projects at work, doing online courses and side projects, and eventually moving onto the data science team.
I love what I do and outside of work, my hobbies include all kinds of water sports, bouldering and sudoku.
Why did you start using Python?
I first started using Python in 2019. I was initially using R for analyses since I had learned to use it in grad school, but the Data Science team used Python, so I started learning and picking it up. I found it to be more robust and there are many good third-party packages to support my work. Python is definitely my preferred language now!
What other programming languages do you know and which is your favorite?
I use Python and SQL daily on the job. I am a huge language nerd and can speak 9 human languages if that counts.
What projects are you working on now?
I am working on my second tutorial for Real Python on type hints for multiple return types in Python. Stay tuned for more when it comes out!
Which Python libraries are your favorite (core or 3rd party)?
I’m a Data Scientist, so I love pretty graphs and visuals. It is a crucial element to being able to tell a good data story and help with better decision-making. I would say that my favorite Python library is plotly. It’s a library for making interactive plots, and I love how versatile it is.
How did you get started writing articles for Real Python?
When I pivoted from an analyst role into data science back in 2019, I started writing because I wanted to share my learnings and hopefully inspire others without a STEM degree to break into data science/ engineering. I was writing blog posts on medium for several publications including Towards Data Science, Towards AI and Analytics Vidhya about different topics related to machine learning, feature engineering and data visualizations.
In early 2023, I saw that Real Python was looking for technical writers and applied. I was a subscriber and learned so much about programming from Real Python’s tutorials and courses, it feels like a dream to be writing for this publication!
What excites you most in the data science world right now?
I am excited about the rise of autoML packages that can automate some of the more tedious parts of ML modeling, like data cleaning, model selection and hyperparameter optimization. This would cut down the time spent during the model development cycle, allowing data scientists to iterate faster.
Is there anything else you’d like to say?
If you would like to check out my work, please visit ds-claudia.com to see past blog posts. You can also subscribe for free to receive emails when I publish new blog posts – no spam I promise!
Thanks so much for doing the interview, Claudia!