My Experience As a New Graduate at Keyrus

Written By Mae Semakula-Buuza, Edited By Lewis Fogden
Thu 12 April 2018, in category General

Life at Keyrus

  
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If you're reading this post, I'm sure you're probably wondering, "What is it like to work at Keyrus?" "What kind of people will I be working with?" "Are there socials?" All these are important questions and hopefully, I'll be able to answer them with somewhat refined detail, but, yes. There are socials. Extremely fun ones.

Work Life: Expectation vs. Reality

So, let's put things into perspective. Freshly graduated from uni, I made the equivocal transition from the familiarity of the lectures, labs and essays to the 'wondrous' world of work - actual work. But, what exactly were my expectations of work life? I already knew that:

  1. I wouldn't be able to have a lie-in anymore.
  2. I had to maintain an air of professionalism around me (goodbye ripped jeans)
  3. I would be surrounded by coffee-loving-suit-wearing professionals.

Honestly, thinking about this scared me. Not only did coffee rank close to last on the list of my favourite beverages (unpopular opinion), but I didn't know the first thing about (succeeding in) an office job. I didn't even know what I was going to speak about to anyone. My go-to conversation topic is food. It never fails me, but for some reason, in the back of my mind, I couldn't help but feel like it was not the most ideal ice-breaker in the workplace.

Reality kicked in when I was invited to attend the company kick-off meeting at the Shard. There were a mixture of emotions: excitement, nerves and relief. I actually had a job. I was finally going to meet my future colleagues, but how was I supposed to act? What was I supposed to wear?1 I had so many questions, but no answers, well, insufficient answers. Everyone was telling me "not to worry" and to "be myself" - both of which I thought was terrible advice (at the time). In the end, that advice proved to be not-so terrible. I turned up and had a splendid time. The event itself turned out to be extremely informative, giving a well-rounded view of the direction of Keyrus UK as well as providing the opportunity to meet most of my future colleagues.

Fast forward to my first week at Keyrus and it seemed like most of my expectations towards work life were wrong. Yes, I did have to wake up at the preposterous hour of 6:30am and maintain that air of professionalism, but it was a lot more laid-back than anticipated. People only wore suits when they were meeting clients/had important meetings. Food is a core topic of discussion. As expected, there is an unhealthy obsession with coffee and (surprisingly) mechanical keyboards, both of which I have grown accustomed to.

Overall, I expected this transition from uni to work life to be steep/nerve-wracking, but there was a surprising ease to this process, most of which stemmed from the fact that I was surrounded by helpful colleagues in a comfortable environment.

Academia vs. World of Work

As mentioned before, university got me accustomed to going to lectures, attending labs and submitting coursework, but it was highly unlikely that knowing the specific details of DNA replication was going to aid me in the field of Data Analytics. Clearly, I needed to learn new technologies to retrieve, analyse and report on data for businesses.

But, how did I get on with learning these new technologies? I can't lie - at the beginning, it was difficult. I had unrealistic expectations of myself to learn quickly and become Z-master of X technology, something that a lot of new grads would have. Fortunately, l was able to learn a lot of technologies at a steady pace with the help of my more experienced counterparts. Also, being thrown into the deep end of Alteryx training, a BI tool that enables you to create workflows for data preparation, blending and analytics, during my first week may have helped.

So far, I had experience with data preparation using Alteryx, which was all well and good but, it was difficult to see the immediate insights into data without visualisations so an internal demonstration of Tableau, a BI tool to enhance the process of data visualisation, was given. I know a lot of people would be thinking, "How hard can data visualisation be?" - I was definitely one of them. I had the prior belief that data visualisation was no stranger to me; I had experience of making graphs (using Excel, MATLAB and Python) and analysing pictures of SDS-PAGEs in lab (Figure 1). But, not only was data visualisation difficult, it was complex. The sheer complexity underlying it surprised me. The use of colour, the deliberate intent to create insightful graphs and tell stories through data excited me but it also confused my objective mind. I got to practice more with data visualisation using Qlikview, another BI tool used for data modelling, analysis and reporting and even did a presentation on Betsy's bikes - a mock exam dataset that seems to be the go-to initiation presentation for all newbies.

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Figure 1. Example of an SDS-PAGE used frequently in Biochemistry labs.2

Socials

Socials. It's pretty self-explanatory as to what they entail but, let me tell you about the ones I've attended:

  1. Ping pong. We had a Keyrus ping-pong competition with pizza (and drinks)! Did I lose? Of course, I did, haha!

  2. International Women's Day Breakfast. A delicious (and free) breakfast to mark IWD 2018.

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  1. Escape Room. Three scenarios: Harry Potter, pirates and serial killers. Pick a room and escape from it. Need I say more?

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So, if you're looking for an environment where you want to work with data in a creative way, constantly learn new things and be surrounded by constant clatter of mechanical keyboards, then Keyrus is most definitely the place for you.

Oh, in case you were wondering...

1 - At the company kick-off meeting, I wore a two-in-one jumper with smart trousers - pretty solid choice, if I say so myself.

2 - The image is by Ernst Hempelmann (Ernst Hempelmann) [Public domain or CC0], via Wikimedia Commons.