DATA SCIENCE AT TELIA: “We are at the forefront”

The unique mix of data science capabilities and technology expertise – that is what data scientist Sarah Berenji says drew her to work at Telia Company. Today, she particularly values the opportunity to contribute to business success all the way from idea to finished product.

Sarah, tell us how you started out as a data scientist?
“I started as a master’s degree student, working on my thesis at Telia. During this internship I learned that ‘data science' is a combination of business knowledge, software development and statistics. At my university, KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, I learned about the last two, but not really about the business part. This part is necessary to understand and solve problems. I saw how many interesting business cases the Telia analytics team is involved in and that motivated me to join Telia. Right now, I am working with the TV team.”

How does Telia seem to rate when it comes to analytics?
“Telia is at the forefront. Data science and advanced analytics is highly valued here. One has a great chance to work on an idea from scratch all the way to the finished product’s success – ultimately contributing to the company’s success.”

“One of the most important aspects of a data scientist’s work is to be able to have access to data and to real, data-intense problems. Telia has a great amount of data in different domains, such as in product usage data, network and device data logs and finance data and so on. Telia will use Advanced Analytics in all its operations and is committed to data-driven decision making. This goes for several areas, such as products and systems, predictive maintenance, network planning, and the TV business. We are using cutting-edge technology to develop advanced analytics in each of these areas.”

What would you say to anyone who considers working in analytics at Telia?
“One particularly impressive aspect at Telia is the unique mix of data science capabilities and technology expertise across Telia’s big data ecosystem. The technology stack is a big advantage. For example, Hadoop, NoSQL and Spark are brought together with machine-learning techniques and visualization. We are dealing with real, big-data challenges every day and apply machine-learning techniques on a large scale. Apart from state-of-the-art technology, there is also room to grow in different areas. You can apply your knowledge to real-world cases and to become an expert in specific areas.”

Can you describe some of that work?
“As a data scientist, it is very important to me to be able to apply my knowledge and skills on a business use case and have an impact on the decision making. At Telia, our data science teams are not isolated teams. We work with the entire organization. Also, machine learning and AI is not only about doing small Proof of Concept or Minimal Viable Product projects for us. We are trying to develop end-to-end solutions to be able to make a change in company’s processes. We also care about personal development to improve our knowledge in different ways. For example, we have data science meet-ups three times a year where data scientists from all countries share their knowledge and learn from fellow data scientists. We also have a weekly reading group, where we go through new articles, books or any other interesting material to learn about new and advanced approaches to analytics and machine learning technologies.”

What are some of the tools and solutions you get to use?
“In the TV area, there are different use cases in which we are trying to apply machine learning technology on available data. A personalized front page, recommendation systems, customer engagement scores, A/B testing and so on are things that we look at here. There are also use cases in TV services robustness where the goal is to develop automated Anomaly Detection methods for system logs.

How is Telia as an employer?
“There is a great balance between work and private life here at Telia. There are many activities to keep employees happy and in a healthy lifestyle. Telia has an inclusive culture, where everyone is welcome. Furthermore, I think it’s wonderful that you can set up your own goals for personal development as well as for projects and business. I am challenged to learn and to grow, and I feel enthusiastic about taking on new challenges.”

Name: Sarah Berenji 

Titel: Data Scientist

What do I like about working at Telia: the required infrastructure for big data analysis is already in place and a great amount of data in different domains is available to apply advanced analytics techniques.