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Meet Jeffery Fung, our Data Science Manager

  • 5 min read
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Written by Connie Rowlands

Brand Executive

Jeff has worked at Domestic and General for just over 2 years and was the third member of our data science team. He shares his insights and what life is like for him at D&G.

Jeff, tell us a little bit about you? 

Hey, I’m Jeff a Canadian living in London.

I’m from Toronto, Canada and have a degree in biology and a master’s in international management, which are completely different to the field that I work in now.  

I tried my hand in science and consulting, but once I learned about the field of Data Science it combined multiple topics that I’m interested in such as technical stats, maths and scientific principles.  

Turned on screen with graphs

I self-taught myself R (a coding language) through DataCamp, a website where you can learn lots of different skills from basic programming concepts to advance skills such as data science and machine learning.

What has your journey been like up until now? What brought you to D&G?

I’ve always been big into travelling and exploring new areas, so I applied globally for positions and Domestic & General in London took a chance on me. Before moving here two years ago, I had only been to London for two days.

Back then my role was focused on marketing, but I’ve moved onto looking after some parts of pricing and trying to find other use cases for data science at D&G.

It was my first data science job, and in those two years, I’ve progressed from a Data Scientist to a Data Science Manager, where I work with an array of key stakeholders across the business.

What does a typical day (if that still exists) look like for you?

My day has stayed relatively the same, despite not being able to see my colleagues at the moment. It starts with the daily stand-up with the team at 10:45, despite how busy we are and what projects we have on we always all attend that.

people sitting down near table with assorted laptop computers

It’s good for us all to talk about problems we might be having with our code and where we can help each other or talk about projects we’re working on/what’s coming up. 

Now I’m a manager, my day is split between coding (and trying to find time to code some days) and talking with other teams all the way from marketing to legal. 

What has been your proudest/happiest moment since working here? 

It’s hard to pinpoint one bit that is my proudest moment because there is a few. When I first joined it was a team of three, we’ve since progressed to be more than twice that and we’re still looking to expand. We all support each other and are a close-knit team.

Data Science team for Domestic and general at an event

If I really had to choose one proud moment it would be winning the ‘Hackathon for good’ last year which was in partnership with Kiva (a microfinance platform for the developing world) and sponsored by Dataiku (a software company the develops data science tools), not only was it a great achievement for a small team but we also each won an iPad (and who doesn't love free stuff).

hackathon for good presentation

We are also doing more outreach and getting our name out into the community which certainly makes working and being a data scientist at D&G a lot more rewarding.

If you could do anything else (regardless of skill or qualification), what would it be?

I honestly don’t think I would do anything else… 

I always strive to follow my passions and stick to it, perhaps I would like an element of travel more in my job, possibly a digital nomad (but still being a data scientist on some remote beach somewhere).

laptop on a remote sandy beach

Describe your work/life balance?

The balance is good, it really depends on where we are in a project lifecycle. We don’t do strict 9-5s on our team. For us work life balance means flexibility, sometimes people are early, sometimes they’re late but we trust each other to deliver when push comes to shove.

What advice would you give to others developing their career?

If you don’t enjoy it or if you’re doing it only for money then it’s often hard to keep yourself motivated and to do the added extra bits that push your career forward.

"Always be passionate about what you do"

What are your thoughts on women in data science? Do you think that there is a fair representation? 

Well, there isn’t a fair representation and unfortunately the same goes for a lot of the other STEM areas. There is always more that could be done, I have a niece albeit she is only four years old but she’s already showing an interest in science. We need to strive to create an environment for them to thrive in and remove barriers to get more women into data science.

Often people want to put you in a box, and I found that often when I was younger. Do what you enjoy and do what you are passionate about, all I try and do is give that ethos to all. 

open data science conference

Some say that insurance is boring, what would you say to that?

Insurance can be interesting I promise. It’s a product/service that is helpful for millions of people up and down the country and across the globe. Particularly in data science, we work a lot with risk and predictions, it’s basically fun with maths.

What advice would you give to your 16-year-old self?

Oooh, I would say be more open-minded. I think it’s easy to focus on one thing and only care about that when you should expand and focus more on what’s going on around you. 

Lastly…

You can invite 3 people to a dinner party (dead or alive) who would they be and why?

  1. Bernie sanders 
  2. Donald Trump 
  3. Mike Bloomberg  

I think it’d be interesting to talk to all these people when the camera is off. Maybe they’ll say even more ridiculous thing’s but it’ll make for a good story either way.

If you would like to find out more about D&G, read about us here.