Data Scientist Laura-Luisa Velikonja
“As a data scientist, I can realize my full potential.”
Data Science is more than just programming – it is a dream job for TUM Alumna Laura-Luisa Velikonja. With know-how and an enormous versatility the mathematician conquers the Big Data world and is an inspiring role model for her profession.
Laura-Luisa Velikonja studied Mathematics at TUM. For the longest time, she had no idea which profession to pursue after graduating. She gained experience in marketing, event management and tried her hand in the financial industry and logistics. But it was not until her studies became less analytical and more practice-oriented that it clicked. Together with a project group, she programmed a tool to optimize timetables. Right away she enjoyed the tasks so much that she knew: “I want to do applied mathematics”. Upon receiving her master’s degree, a former colleague who was already an established data science expert contacted her. She sparked her curiosity in the field and encouraged the graduate to apply in this area. Laura-Luisa Velikonja followed the advice and instantly realized: Data Science was exactly hers.
Resilience and Will
Juggling large amounts of data is a highly complex and demanding task and it quickly made her aware of the value of her extensive analytical training. And it is not the only career-relevant skill Laura-Luisa Velikonja gained at TUM. She remembers: “The grades awarded in the Bachelor’s program were often depressing. Very good grades were rarely given and many students could not cope with this. They dropped out of their studies. For me, the opposite was the case, it strengthened my resilience, my persistence and my willpower”.
Know-how and Versatility
Meanwhile Laura-Luisa Velikonja manages projects and delegates a lot to her development team. Her marketing experience, her talent for languages and her great social skills build a further basis for this. Her area is very diverse. “Data science does not just consist of programming. One has a lot to do with other people, communicates, is creative and drives projects forward. And that is exactly what is so much fun about it,” she explains.
Role model and Mentor
Her skills and the belief in herself and her abilities have already taken Laura-Luisa Velikonja far. She has become a role model in the field, talking at events and in interviews about her job, her tasks and how much fun data is. And she supports young TUM students on career matters as a mentor.
“I HOPE THAT MANY MORE WOMEN WILL CHOOSE TO ENTER THE DATA SCIENCE FIELD.”
As the industry is still dominated by men, Laura-Luisa Velikonja first and foremost wants to be a role model for other women and encourage them to pursue careers in artificial intelligence and machine learning. “I believe that many women do not dare to apply to these positions when they cannot meet all the requirements. The high expectations of programming skills in particular are often a deterrent,” she reflects. Her observations are that it is primarily men who, as children or teenagers, have learned to code through their enjoyment of gaming. Women often start programming during their studies. But she is more than convinced that “Everything can be learned with enthusiasm and courage – even later in life. I am the best example for this.”
Bachelor Mathematik 2012, Master 2014
Laura-Luisa Velikonja studied Mathematics (Bachelor and Master) at TUM. She wrote her master thesis at the logistics consultancy 4flow and then started as a Consultant Data Science at the management consultancy Alexander Thamm. After participating in the Telefónica Datathon (a hackathon for Data Scientists and developer), she joined Telefónica Germany in 2016 in the area of Data Analytics & Artificial Intelligence. In her current position as Senior Data Scientist, she supports in-house departments in making better decisions even faster. As product owner she is also responsible for data science use cases, for example to detect process errors at an early stage. In addition to her enthusiasm for data, Laura-Luisa Velikonja is very keen to promote gender diversity, which is why she founded the internal TelefónicaConnects community with a colleague in 2019. In her spare time, Laura-Luisa Velikonja likes to meet new people at meetups and events and enjoys yoga and Zumba.
At the Women of TUM Talks on the 8th of October 2019 in Munich, the passionate Data Scientist will talk about her profession and discuss the role of women in the digitized work life. Register here>