Ivanna Baturynska is originally from Ukraine, where she completed the first of her two master's degrees at National Technical University of Ukraine. Through the exchange program at the University, Ivanna was awarded an extended scholarship of 2 years at Gjøvik University College (now NTNU). Here she completed her second master's degree in addition to a PhD in Production and Quality Engineering. After her studies, she was employed as an Associate Professor at NTNU.
Today, Ivanna works as a Data Scientist here at Kobler, focusing on statistics. We recently had a chat with her to learn more about her fantastic journey from the University of Kyiv to Kobler in Oslo.
Why did you want to become a Data Scientist?
It was not my first choice, but I like to get concrete answers. Before I started as an Associate Professor at NTNU, I researched 3D printing and did a lot of practical work in the laboratories. Unfortunately, I had to focus more on other tasks in my new role. Later, it became clear that I missed working more hands-on with concrete tasks, which made me look for new opportunities. I enjoyed solving complex problems and started studying computer science and programming languages after working hours at NTNU.
What drew you to Kobler?
There are a couple of reasons why I joined Kobler. First of all, I find the idea of respecting human privacy by providing online ads based on what people read, rather than how they move around the web fascinating.
Secondly, I am eager to learn something new every day, and the complex tasks contribute to that. During my first interview, I was given a complex task that I could not stop thinking about, and that's when I knew this was a great place to learn and grow.
Another thing that I value is that even though it is a scale-up, we still keep a good work-life balance.
What are you working on at the moment?
My main work is all about making our algorithms related to bidding more intelligent. But also solving other business problems related to campaign delivery and bidding optimization. We have about 500 million events daily, generating data sets in the terabytes, so that means efficiently querying and understanding very large data sets, then working on statistics and adaptive algorithms.
What is the most challenging part of your work?
I need to remember to be critical, to not trust assumptions, and always check what the data is telling us. Understanding all the pieces of the puzzle to answer the question correctly is essential. This means that I need to have a profound understanding of the domain and keep in mind the business perspective. Tricky, but fun.
What is your favorite program that you use every day?
"My brain", she replied, laughing.
What do you think about the work culture at Kobler?
I am impressed with the social life at Kobler! Every month, we are given the opportunity to participate in various activities. It is important to have a good relationship with your colleagues if you want to succeed together as a team. A good balance between work and leisure is vital for creating a good work culture.
What or who inspires you?
I am fascinated by people who invent and develop new things. Especially if you look at times when there was no internet.
How is working from home for you?
I enjoy working from home and try to have the same structure as I have when I am in the office. It is slightly more tiring to work from home because you do not have as many natural breaks throughout the day. Since a lot of my work consists of complex issues, I work very concentrated for several hours at a time. That way, it works perfectly for me with a home office.
When I finish work, I like to unwind by doing something completely different, such as cooking or baking. I especially love baking as it calms me when I feel stressed out.
But since the pandemic, I haven't baked that much because I often end up eating everything myself ;)
Always happy to help
As an Associate Professor at NTNU, Ivanna was responsible for a group of master's degree students from different countries. Many foreign students were impressed by Ivanna's background and wanted to hear more about how she had integrated so well into a new country.
" I am curious and I am always happy to help!" she says.
After more and more people came to her for advice, she started her own YouTube channel, where she gives advice on how to get by in the Norwegian society.
"On YouTube, I share my knowledge of my almost 10 years in Norway," she says.
What was the most important thing when you moved to Norway as a student?
The most important thing for me was to learn the language. Prior to the interviews for the exchange program, I managed to learn a few sentences in Norwegian. Not many, but enough to impress the professors. I wish I had learned the language a bit better before I left Kyiv, but unfortunately, there was no time for that.
For me, it has always been important to learn the language of the country I live in. That way I am able to understand what people talk about and be able to join the conversation. Since I did not learn much before I arrived in Norway, I decided to get up 2 hours before the lecture every morning to read and learn Norwegian grammar.
Even though we mostly speak English at work, I try to speak Norwegian as often as possible to maintain it,"Ivanna says .
Ivanna speaks both Ukrainian, Russian, Norwegian and English fluently.
Ivanna herself claims that she is like everyone else, but instead of binging Netflix, she uses her spare time to acquire more knowledge. Not because she feels she has to, but because she is genuinely curious and wants to learn.
We are so happy to have Ivanna onboard the Kobler team.
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