What I Do at Lyst: Sandra Greiss

by Paul Hallett on Monday, 20 Jul 2015

This is the second post in our series of sharing what we do at Lyst. This time I’d like to introduce Sandra Greiss, one of our Junior Data Scientists.

If engineers are the bread and butter of Lyst then Data Scientists are the secret sauce. Data is important at Lyst. Our team processes millions of points of data to generate graphs of related products. With these, we can improve your shopping experience for clothes on the web.

Sandra Greiss
Photo by Sam King, one of our Designers

Tell me a bit about yourself Sandra
My name is Sandra Greiss and I have a weird obsession with shoes. I own nearly 100 pairs! I also find baking to be quite therapeutic.

What’s your professional background?
I have an academic background. I did a BSc in Physics, followed by an MSc (by research) in Astronomy & Astrophysics. After this I did a PhD in Astronomy & Astrophysics.

I started to learn about programming during my PhD. I needed to write an application to help me find certain types of stars in the universe. My role at Lyst is my first real job. So besides academia, I don’t have much previous experience.

How did you end up working here?
One of Lyst’s talent specialists saw my profile on a website and contacted me. The Data Science team was looking for a junior data scientist at the time and I fitted their requirements! I’m really grateful to have found this opportunity.

What is it you do at Lyst?
When I work on analytics projects, most of my work involves writing SQL queries to get data I would like to analyse. Otherwise, it depends on the main project I am involved in. I spend most of my time writing Python code. At the moment I’m learning a lot about ElasticSearch, since I’ve recently joined the Search Team. Eventually, I will be building lots of Machine Learning models in order to predict behaviours and features of products that we have on the website.

What projects have you been helping with?
Recently I’ve been helping out with a lot of different projects. I do some work with analytics. This can involve understanding our users’ behaviour, the way our products are displayed, and which products are the most popular ones and why. I’ve also helped to standardise the sizes of the products on our website, which was quite a fun challenge.

At the moment I’m working with the Search team to optimise our autosuggest feature. When a user starts typing in the search box, we want to be able to complete their phrases automatically. This helps to make sure we’re giving back relevant results.

What is your average day like?
I usually get in around 9:15am. I almost always try and clear my inbox before I start working. Some days I get requests from the Marketing and Communication team to help them with stories for the press. I usually divide my time between these requests and the Search project.

What’s the best thing about working at Lyst?
I enjoy the people I work with. I’ve learned a lot since I started working here and I think it’s mostly due to the people around me. They’re smart and friendly. The environment is ideal for someone as junior as myself who wants to learn. The engineering team like supporting juniors through pair programming and stuff, to become good programmers.

For people who want to be data scientists, what would you say is the most important thing to remember?
I’d say you should be patient. I could have skipped 2 years of my life and become as good as many other engineers around me. But I think that being patient is the way forward. Besides, I’m doing just as well now. Also: be enthusiastic! Remember that it is okay to make mistakes because you learn from them!

If you want to get in touch with Sandra, you can find her on twitter.

Next time

We’re going from the world of Data Science to the land of Site Reliabity next time, with our Junior Dev Ops engineer Lotfi!

If you want to learn more about Lyst and what we do, get in touch on twitter or check out our careers page.