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An enrichment to my career and personal life. Interview with PDEng Alumnus Thomas Castelijns

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Name: Thomas Castelijns
Work: Senior Data Scientist at Enexis Netbeheer
Education: Professional Doctorate in Engineering (PDEng.)
Home: Tilburg

Currently, I am working as a Senior Data Scientist at network operator Enexis Netbeheer, in Den Bosch and living in Tilburg.

Why did you choose to study at JADS?

With a background in Sustainable Energy Technology at Eindhoven University, I have a great interest in new developments in the energy sector. I strongly believe that smarter, more data-driven products are necessary to facilitate this transition. Therefore, I decided to apply for the Data Challenge Week, the assessment procedure of the PDEng. program in September 2016. In this week I was challenged to solve business problems of a construction company. I managed this in in cooperation with fellow applicants and trainees, using real world, noisy data. After this week, I became even more enthusiastic about data science in general, and studying at JADS in particular.

What is your best memory of your study at JADS?

Studying at JADS was way more than just attending courses and writing reports. I had the opportunity to work closely with researchers, fellow trainees and several companies within a great learning ecosystem. I enjoyed the small talks during the coffee breaks or lunch at the beautiful garden of Mariënburg. The diversity of nationalities, interests and backgrounds at JADS enriched my way of thinking more than I expected on beforehand. Some of my fellow trainees became even friends and I still see them regularly. The contacts that I have gained  within Mariënburg have been an enrichment to my career and personal life.

What is the most important thing you have learned at JADS?

Before joining JADS, I expected to focus mainly on the technical skills and to develop myself in new fields such as Data Mining, Data Engineering and Deep learning. During the program I realized that algorithms and new technologies could distract us of what we are supposed to do: solving business problems. This can be very complex and there is no shame in spending time to understand it, this is also progress towards a proper solution. I also experienced that you should never stop learning. Make sure you spend enough time in exploring new technologies and negotiate side projects with your employer.

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