It’s been an incredible journey! Let me take you back to the beginning…..

For some years I have had an interest in Machine Learning and its applications in various industries. To complement my own personal reading, I had previously taken online courses and built projects on my own.

Although this helped me gain knowledge in the field, I felt there was something vital missing – the irreplaceable experience that comes from working on real-world projects with experienced Data Scientists.

This led me to apply for the 10,000 Black Internship Programme, and I was part of the lucky few that were chosen.

I decided to apply to the Health industry because of my understanding of how impactful the use of statistical tools and models in data science can be on Healthcare and the chance to work with real-world data.

So, the internship with Imperial College Health Partners was a perfect fit for me.

During my time there, I came to understand the various teams, processes, and complexities involved in health data research, including the non-technical aspects such as strategy, planning, and communication.

The first thing that struck me about the organisation was how willing my colleagues were to help me in any way they could. During the second week I was introduced to lots of people – in fact I had  catch-up calls with almost everyone in the directorate – and some from other directorates. This went a long way in helping me understand the structure of the organisation and other ongoing projects.

I was also introduced to the Discover NOW dataset that I would be working on which supports clinicians, researchers and scientists to recruit patients, develop new treatments and prevent health conditions.

My internship project was focused on the Analysis of Healthcare Services Accessed by Unpaid Carers. One of my tasks was to analyse and make statistical inferences about unpaid carers’ access to outpatient services before and after Covid, and unpaid carers’ access to accident and emergency care services.

This project was in R, a programming language I had not previously used so I got the opportunity to learn a new programming language. I also learnt about various statistical tools and methods I was not previously exposed to.

Aside from the technical aspects of the role, I also got a chance to improve my soft skills by shadowing client meetings, chairing a meeting, and presenting my project to the directorate.

One thing I loved about the internship was how well-rounded it was. I learnt so much from the Friday takeover sessions and those sessions have given me an insight into what to expect moving forward so I can shape my journey better.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time with ICHP. I got a chance to go into the office a few times and interact with my colleagues, especially my line manager (who is now my mentor thanks to advice from a Friday session!).

I was also invited to an interesting away-day that included a fun sports session, a coffee with my buddy, and a game of badminton after work – not bad eh!

I am very grateful to the 10,000 Black Interns Programme and Health Data Research UK for this opportunity.