Working Remotely — A Personal Account

August 8, 2021 - onebytellc

Daniyal Selani, a Data Scientist at OneByte, recently sat down with our Social Media Manager to talk about his experience as someone who has been working remotely with the company for almost 2 years now.

Daniyal belongs to Karachi and got his schooling up to A Levels from St. Patrick’s High School. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering from the Middle East Technical University in Turkey, with a thesis in Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence, topics that he was enraptured by. Based on this, he was hired as a Data Scientist by OneByte almost immediately after he graduated. He has been working on multiple projects during his tenure but his attention has been focused mainly on Eon.

When asked about his experience working with OneByte, Daniyal mentioned a commonly misunderstood term: Imposter Syndrome. “Data scientists often work with multiple domains all at the same time. You are always out of your depth in terms of your domain, working in the finance industry, or on protection or health models,” he elaborated. Data scientists typically have mathematical or computer science backgrounds, and Daniyal initially felt disadvantaged when he was assigned Eon as a client. “I had never taken a single biology class in my life and I had to work with a bunch of data that I didn’t understand at all. It was like learning to swim by diving into the middle of the ocean.” It was a classic case of Imposter Syndrome.

It got much better once he got the hang of things, though; his situation greatly improved because of the culture at OneByte. “It was rough in the beginning and I screwed up a few times as well, but there was always this culture of being supported and the bosses having my back. I was never chewed out for making mistakes, instead, I was offered help and guidance. Once I caught on, however, it was enlightening to see the extent of what I could do,” He says hard work never goes unnoticed, and appreciation is abundant if you do well. He reiterates that it’s just easy to work with a company that isn’t afraid to provide you with whatever you need to do to work well. “When I was based in Karachi, the team asked if I needed a laptop, even though I was working remotely from a completely different city. They said they would get it to me somehow, and just the suggestion left a lasting impression on me.”

He’s currently pursuing a research-based Master’s in artificial intelligence from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and working with OneByte alongside. “I didn’t expect to get into a Master’s program right away, even though I had been applying. When I got a scholarship, I thought I would see what it would be like to study and work at the same time, and quit if it got too overwhelming. Initially, I was studying remotely because of Covid-19, imagining I would resign when I moved to Amsterdam, but I’ve been able to manage it quite well.” It’s tough, of course, since he has to manage his day-to-day chores, his education, and his work all at the same time. He tries to plan his day around Pakistan time, so he can give as much time as possible to his work, taking his lectures during extended lunch breaks, so to speak. When he has exams, he uses his leaves. “It simply wouldn’t be possible if the team wasn’t so understanding,” he said.

OneByte has always had an affinity for work-from-home, using different tools and apps to ensure the team is constantly in touch no matter where they are working from. Daniyal also relies on these apps, including Slack, Rocket.Chat, Zoom, Google Meet, and more. He also uses a fascinating application that pushes all his phone notifications through to his PC, thereby limiting distraction and streamlining his work.

“Ultimately, it all boils down to the fact that I really enjoy the work and the company. So, I found no reason to quit. The environment at OneByte is quite conducive to doing multiple things simultaneously. They don’t hinder you from exploring new things and being flexible with timings as long as the work is being done.”

Daniyal is one of the most valued resources at OneByte, with a wealth of experience in Data Science. We hope he will grow even more post his master’s degree, and add value to his own experience as well as the company.