Early years and where you came from?
I was born in Lisbon, where I lived most of my life. I’m from a big family with 4 children where I am the second oldest, so the memories I hold dearest of my childhood are the ones playing with my brothers and sister and making up gadgets to keep us entertained. I was always very curious and active, barely had time to sit down at the TV between extracurricular activities and studying. Ended up taking Aerospace Engineering in Técnico Lisbon, and until recently I was in the United Kingdom working with Airbus, always certain that if I found something I was truly passionate for I would come back. It just so happened that it didn’t take that long for me to hear about Feedzai and the work being developed in one of the most recent areas of study in Artificial Intelligence – and the craving for challenges kicked in.
How were you introduced to the world of the Portuguese tech industry?
When I entered college I knew little about the Portuguese tech companies and the work being developed in our country. Only in college, attending conferences and talks did I start having a better vision and a better understanding that this was truly the area I wanted to be in.
Walk me through your work and what you are doing now in the tech industry.
I am a Data Scientist at Feedzai, a Portuguese company with prime objective the detection and prevention of fraud. My work consists in finding fraud patterns and develop Machine learning methods to detect these patterns.
What part of what you do, you love the most?
I always loved challenges and learning, especially when surrounded by active, interesting and cheerful people. The part of what I do that I love the most is going through the challenges, taking new clients with new demands. I love that no two projects are the same, each one has its new problems and scopes. To me there is no better feeling than to look back and realize what I learnt and what I now know.
How do you think that your background and knowledge impact the way you approach your work in the Portuguese tech industry?
I always had the mindset to shoot higher, and to try things people deemed impossible. I was the youngest Portuguese to participate in the European Space Camp (and the second to ever do); I was the first Portuguese girl to be hired by Airbus Defence and Space in the United Kingdom. Besides that, I was always very driven by problem solving, and I hate quitting and giving up. These two characteristics make me approach work as a problem that needs to be solved, fast and efficiently, and I get motivated with getting to the bottom of it.
What advice do you have for young women that want to get into tech and don’t know where to start?
Find what you are passionate for: experiment, learn, get bored and experiment again. There is no better way to start, and no single way. Read, search for topics you find interesting, experiment with coding, talk to the people you admire to understand how they got to where they are. Fortunately, there are endless areas in tech you can get involved in, the only question is what you like.
Walk me through a day in your life as a Portuguese women in tech.
A typical day would be in the office, with all hands on deck detecting fraud patterns and training models, between internal meetings, meetings with the client, and brainstorming new emerging methods or new ways of looking at the data with all the team members. Always fitting in an hour to go to the gym to reset and get my energy back.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Knowledge and relationships are the only things that only gets better with time and that no one can take away from you. Everything else can come and go, but these only get better.
What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
Spotify - I am hooked to music, can’t live without it, Podcast Addict – Best way to listen to my favourite podcasts, Google Maps – To get where I want to the fastest and most efficient way (I’m hooked on optimisation as well) and Whatsapp – Today we have the advantage of constantly being connected to everyone everywhere, and it is the best way to speak to my friends now spread across the world.
Links that you want to share?
Feedzai’s work: https://feedzai.com
Anything else you want to share?
I have always loved music and art. I played piano (both classical and jazz) since the age of 4 and it is one of the things I enjoy to do the most. I am also a movie fanatic, enjoying mainly independent films. Sometimes they go terribly wrong, but the good ones make it all worth it. And I have a passion for exercising. From yoga to heavy lifting, I like all kinds of physical exercise. Plus, I can lift 100kg in squats - I may be small but I am a force to be reckon with.