What does your role involve in Futurice?
I mostly work as a UI/UX designer, working on projects that are very data driven. My work helps companies make better decisions based on data – for example, by creating dashboards that help them manage their customers better. I’ve been here for four-and-a-half years now, with the last year working remotely due to the pandemic. Although my work suits home working, I do miss the community feel of being in the office – in an ideal world I’d like a bit of both.
How did you first become interested in data?
Growing up in India, if you’re at all academic there’s an expectation that you’ll become either an engineer or a doctor. My father and elder brother are engineers, so I initially followed in their footsteps for my undergraduate degree, then decided to continue my studies with a master’s in graphic design at Aalto University. While I was doing my master’s, I became very interested in data and data visualisation because it’s a field of design that can have a lot of impact – data can be used to tell stories and create change, both in organisations and individuals.
How can you use data to tell a story?
The first step is curiosity: find a question you want to ask. Then you need to look for relevant data and try to build a story that can answer that question. Start with no preconceived ideas about what you’ll find, as data can surprise you – this way you’ll avoid confirmation bias through cherry picking datasets that match your ideas. As you get more data, you’ll start seeing patterns and hidden structures; some of these may be coincidental, which is when you might need help from domain experts, but as you keep working the story will reveal itself.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
At Futurice, we’re given a great deal of flexibility to pick and choose the projects we want to work on, which I really enjoy. I also like the wide range of projects we have available to us – because of the size and reputation of Futurice in Finland you get a lot of one-of-a-kind projects with no benchmarks, which are an interesting challenge to work on and a great learning experience.