• By Branka M
  • April 21, 2017

It’s been an intense time of self-education

Bram is a data engineer at Sentiance. He holds an MSc and Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics from the University of Antwerp. He joined the Data Engineering Team a year ago to help build and maintain a scalable and efficient computing infrastructure for Sentiance’s cloud-based context intelligence platform.

We sat down to have a little chat with him to tell us something more about his journey.

What do you like the most about working at Sentiance?

More than one year ago, I’ve started working at Sentiance. After working in an academic environment for several years it has been a pretty smooth transition to ‘the real world’. What attracted me to Sentiance was the innovative, experimental mindset, both on the scientific side and the business side. It is a dynamic fast-growing organization with little or no hierarchy and a strong sense of individual responsibility and commitment. Not to mention the office infrastructure that is constantly upgraded with new furniture, standing desks, graffiti art on our locker wall, or a fancy coffee machine.

Is there any particularly exciting project coming up?

The coming weeks promise to be particularly exciting because we are scaling up the incoming data load with a significant factor. This is a direct consequence of the excellent work that the sales team has been doing in the past year. They have been able to reach out to several established companies who effectively want to proceed with the integration of our technology into their own products and services. Meanwhile, I’ve been a member of a small squad of data engineers and scientists that have been thoroughly testing and revisiting the platform and all its components, from low-level code optimizations to architecture changes. We have greatly improved the efficiency and scalability, from big to even bigger data.

How did you grow in the past year and a half?

As a mathematician, I had built up a relatively narrow expertise in iterative algorithms and specific mathematical models. I had little hands-on experience with many of the programming languages, data structures, DevOps tools, platform components, etc. As they say, you learn by doing. It’s been an interesting year of self-education, tutored by patient colleagues. It gave me the opportunity to prove myself in a production environment and most of all, extend my hard skills in IT. I’m glad my efforts were quickly recognized with extended responsibilities inside the performance squad.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

If I’m not chasing my two sweet children in the zoo or in a playground, I usually feel the urge to do something creative with music or theater, either writing or performing. I love that special energy that hangs around a stage. It gives you that magical emotional mixture of extreme focus and escapism from everyday life.

If you could have a superpower, which superpower would it be and why?

Don’t tell anyone, but I do have the power to seize the day. That’s super enough to me. But okay, maybe if I really could pick another power it would be to manipulate time. Because at the end of the day there’s always so much more that I still want to do, while I don’t like getting up early.

Favorite quote
Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together. — Vincent van Gogh

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