I obtained my bachelor's degree in Software Engineering. Luckily enough I took an optional course in Artificial Intelligence from which I fell in love with the discipline... but being realistic about my country, I knew that it would be very difficult to pursue a career in this field while living in Mexico. After I graduated from college I worked as a software engineer developing financial software systems for about 4 years, but Artificial Intelligence was always running on a thread somewhere on my brain :P... I made up my mind to study a master's degree in a major that combined Artificial Intelligence and Finance, and found the program of Computational Finance in the UK.
That MSc program was the first step towards becoming a Data Scientist. I learnt about artificial intelligent agents and that was my point of no return. I decided to make a career shift and actually work in problems that could be solved by artificial intelligence in Mexico. It was not easy at all... back in my country, execs from large, traditional companies considered my ideas to be science fiction, although they knew for a fact that those technologies/algorithms were already in production in industrialized countries! Moreover, on those days there were few startups on the Mexican scene willing to make bold decisions... it was so frustrating!
Enter the light. A Mexican company was looking for a specialist in artificial intelligence with knowledge in finance, and so I began my journey diving into machine learning applied to real life models... I can't put on words how fulfilling was knowing that we were helping real people address real problems with our models :)! That job connected me with academia —my boss was a PhD who shared openly and happily all his knowledge and research. He still does, though no longer as my boss, but as a colleague— ...awesome times!
But not everything was fun and games. I realized that even though my computer science background was solid, my statistics and mathematics background were neither deep nor robust enough, and so I went back to school again and study a master's degree in Data Science. That was 3 years ago and since then I've been doing data science helping in my own way to make this country a better place to live in, helping companies to make informed, strategic decisions based on hard evidence and not just blinks.
I hope that in the near future, data science improves much of our day to day activities, from our personal life to our jobs, governments and our usage of natural resources, making Earth a more equitable, just and optimized place for all humans to live in.