Welcome to our Women in Tech series, a series of articles that aim to highlight the wonderful work done by the women involved in the technology behind LetsGetChecked.
This week, we spoke with Lin Zhang, our Senior Data Scientist. After completing a PhD. in Geomechanical Engineering and gaining experience in the engineering field, Lin joined LetsGetChecked as the first member of the data team.
When did you join LetsGetChecked?
I joined LetsGetChecked in 2018, I have been working here for over two years now.
What is your role in LetsGetChecked?
I am a Senior Data Scientist.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your role.
I did my Ph.D. in Geomechanical Engineering and joined an engineering consultancy company afterward. Taking challenges motivates me throughout my research and career development. I enjoy solving problems by integrating technical and non-technical skills like a detective to spot the problems, understand the insights, find solutions, and explore potential opportunities. My first engineering project won an Engineers Ireland award, and my last engineering conference won the overall best paper award before I joined LetsGetChecked as a data scientist in 2018!
LetsGetChecked is a data-rich company, I am very lucky to be involved in every step and aspect of the data evolution here as the first team member in data. My role covers data engineering, analytics, dashboards & visualization, data science roadmap, and products. I tell stories of data insights, identify issues, propose actionable solutions, design the data science products, and progress with the team and cross-team efforts. Telling stories based on data is a fundamental skill for academic research and data science.
What motivated you to pursue a career in technology?
The healthcare industry is a very dynamic field with rapid progression and innovation. Built on my numerical modeling background, I saw the potential of implementing machine learning techniques in improving efficiency and engineering solutions during my consultancy job- it was stunning to see how many of these innovations apply across multiple domains when I made my transition to healthcare. I'm grateful to work in a field that gives me the opportunity to help people, enhance the business, and make a difference by using my skills.
I guess it's probably always been my instinct from the engineering perspective, where we can find gaps or issues that we can improve more - that really motivates me in pursuing a career in technology.
Why did you decide to join LetsGetChecked as opposed to any other organization?
I was very excited by the business idea when I first came across LetsGetChecked. I really hope this doesn't sound like an advertisement, but I'm really passionate about the future - and the possibility I see in healthcare!
The LetsGetChecked service connects the patients directly to the clinical laboratories by enhancing privacy, accessibility, reducing waiting time, and relieving the pressure in conventional healthcare systems. Data is the most valuable asset for a data scientist and I have been passionate to transform LGC's rich data into data-driven products that assist customers, help patients, and improve our business as a service.
Before I heard about LetsGetChecked, I used to self-diagnose based on ‘Dr. Google’s’ search results - it almost always made me worry more. LetsGetChecked provides a service for pre-diagnostic health insights. Before being diagnosed with certain conditions, patients can prevent or delay the risk factors from happening. It’s like the philosophy in Chinese medicine “a doctor of the highest caliber treats an illness before it happens''.
What advice would you give a woman interested in pursuing a career in technology? Anything you wish you had known?
My advice for myself or anyone who is interested in a career in technology is to build your resilience and don't sell yourself short. Put the effort into a career that you would like to pursue, build solid foundations, keep learning, and improving. Although I studied engineering, I connected every point in my education and my career to reach this point - that really helps me to explore the most out of my skills and my experience to make a difference.
I still have imposter syndrome, as if I don’t deserve the recognition for the achievements that I accomplished ‘easily’. But, by observing my male colleagues and receiving advice from my mentors, I learn to value my accomplishments and at the same time, be the best of myself.
That’s great advice! Is there any particular female leader that you look up to or take inspiration from?
There are so many great female leaders in industry or academia, that inspire me but I would think that, of all time, my Mom is my greatest inspiration. She always told me to not be afraid, think, and take action to make the most out of this life! So I am always ready for challenges, getting myself out of my comfort zone, but it's not always easy to go through everything. Sometimes I have regrets such as ‘why did I take this route?’, but it's always very rewarding afterward.
What does the future hold for women in technology?
I'm ecstatic to see more and more female leaders in STEM and feel positive about what the future holds. I can't speak for everyone, as everyone has their own unique paths. As for me, I will continue learning and improving in the field I'm passionate about, to be part of a better future for women in technology.