Sword Spotlight on Sam Omidi

We turn the Sword Spotlight on Sam Omidi, who recently joined the Energy team as a Data Scientist. Here he talks us through a little background and reflections on his first few months with Sword.

“I think the most surprising thing I’ve learned is that I’m not a fake data scientist among real ones. They call them unicorns for a reason. I can now say with confidence that I can code and I do know software development lifecycle and statistics. Without these skills, life as a data scientist would be difficult and one would struggle a lot. In general, people have their strengths and experience in one or two things and are weaker at others. I now believe a data scientist needs to know more than just a couple of things. They need to know how to handle out-of-memory errors, data structures, and expectation maximization or where heteroscedasticity is coming from.

“I switched into a focus on data science and machine learning during my final year project in my bachelor degree by working on a data mining project and social network analysis. This interest truly materialised when I got Masters in Data Science.

“I joined Sword three months ago as I found the team very passionate about their work. Also, the projects they are working on are very unique and exciting.

“I got heavily involved in my first week with designing a data pipeline and evaluating various novelty detection algorithm, along with my lead. It has been absolutely fantastic seeing myself hitting the ground running from the start and feeling part of the team immediately.

“Additionally, in the subsequent projects I had a chance to boost my knowledge about neural networks and focus my research on them, developing more in-depth understanding.

“A typical day for me starts around 8:00am, when I catch up on my social media accounts related to machine learning and data science. I switch into work projects around 8:30am and finish around 5:00pm with a break for lunch. About 40% of my time is spent on research and development, with a strong focus in mathematics to be able to understand what is actually happening under the hood of every algorithm that might be a good candidate for our project. The work involves anything from developing and testing new algorithms to writing mathematical proofs to simplify data problems. 

“Another 30% of my time is spent on research about best coding practice in data science, which often identifies problems related to data capture, data pipelines or specific implementation of an algorithm with needed modifications. This is probably one of the most crucial aspects of the job. As a data scientist, it is important to communicate with a wide range of stakeholders, so it helps simplify my explanations of machine learning algorithms to a layman's level.

“The other 20% of my time is meeting with my colleagues. We discuss the projects and support each other on our tasks.

“Each project is unique, and I try to let the project and its initial findings guide me to next steps. I mainly use Python and Azure platforms for projects, though R, and SAS are occasionally helpful with specific packages or R&D requests. I can usually recycle the code, but each problem has its own assumptions and data limitations with respect to the mathematics. 

“Overall, it has been a great start and I am looking forward to what the future will hold for me and the team.

Read on to learn more about careers with Sword or our Information Management solutions.

Data science

In the second of our new series of Sword Spotlight articles, we talk to Gillian Innes, who recently joined Sword’s Oil & Gas team as a Service Delivery Manager based in Aberdeen.

Tell us a bit about yourself and what you did before joining Sword?

I’ve worked consistently in IT, across a mix of IT service providers and in-house IT teams. For several years I concentrated mainly on delivering technology projects however I am really enjoying a return to the operational side and focusing on IT service delivery. Having worked both as a contractor and as ‘staff’, I’m really enjoying becoming embedded with a company whose ethos I respect.

What does an average day entail for you at Sword?

As a Service Delivery Manager (SDM), I’m responsible for the client relationship with one of our major global energy companies to deliver their core IT services and a few projects for more substantial change initiatives. The majority of our team are largely based on the client site in Aberdeen, apart from the IT service desk team who are based in our city centre offices. However, we have been in lockdown since I joined so we are all currently working remotely, which is a different way of working for all of us. We are always fine tuning our delivery via internal process improvements and making sure we keep on top of the client’s priorities.

What do you enjoy about working at Sword?

I genuinely love it all! Even though I have joined Sword at the most surreal time, there is a real team feeling that permeates while we are all working at home. Everyone has been extremely welcoming, and it really helps that I have worked with many of the management team and my peers in previous roles in Aberdeen. Trusting those around me has meant the potential challenges of starting a new role during lockdown have not been an issue and together we are delivering a united service to our clients.

Tell us about a work-related achievement that made you feel proud?

Joining Sword the day before lockdown started added to the intensity of starting a new job, especially as I needed to build a relationship with my client over the phone throughout a period of unplanned upheaval. In response to lockdown, the global energy company that I’m SDM for needed help to support their hundreds of people who normally work in an Aberdeen office to switch to working from home. I’m impressed with the way our teams have risen to the challenge and we have had fantastic feedback from our client, which is a great way to start a new job!

Why did you choose to progress your career with Sword? 

Sword is clearly growing at an impressive rate and that brings lots of interesting opportunities. It’s inspiring to see Sword adapting to the changing world around us and understanding the way our focus is evolving, such as Neale Stidolph’s work in energy transition. It makes Sword an exciting company to be involved with as we continue see new ways that we can use technology to help transform our energy client’s operations.

What would you say to someone considering a role at Sword?

There are so many opportunities and ways to progress that I would definitely encourage others to apply. This might sound corny but there really is a family feel here at Sword. The management structure and their communications are spot on, they have a real personal touch that is hard to describe but really works to motivate us all to work together as a team and strive to do the best we can for our clients.

Read on to learn more about careers with Sword or our Business Technology solutions.

In the first of our new series of Sword Spotlight articles, we talk to Service Desk Analyst Erik Avdulov about how he is finding life as a recent graduate in our Oil & Gas centre in Aberdeen.

Erik Avdulov

Tell us a bit about yourself and what you did before joining Sword?

“I joined Sword in July 2019 fresh from studying software development at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen. Leaving my lecturers behind for my first graduate job, I’ve really appreciated how helpful all the managers and my colleagues have been at inducting me into the working world of business technology solutions and providing training that is a natural extension of my degree.”

How has an average day at Sword changed for you in your time with us?

“Like most new graduates at Sword, I joined the IT Service Desk, Resolve. After 6 months I was delighted to move onto PowerBI development projects and I’m finding the mix really interesting. I usually start my day with a coffee and check my emails to catch up on items that have come from offshore overnight. Depending on customer requirements, I either work at Sword’s Aberdeen city centre offices or out on Oil & Gas customer sites (at the moment I’m obviously working from home like the rest of lockdown office workers!).”

What do you enjoy about working at Sword?

“I work on a mix of first line (IT service desk) and second line support (usually on customer sites) which I do enjoy, but I find the development work the most stimulating. One of the best things about working at Sword is that when you prove yourself to be capable and hardworking, you know you’ll be rewarded.”

Tell us about a work-related achievement that made you feel proud?

“An important part of Sword’s service delivery process is seeking customer feedback and I really thrive on receiving perfect scores as well as the comments that customers are kind enough to provide. Being promoted into development work after only 6 months in my first graduate job also rates pretty highly on my achievements!”

How is your career progressing working at Sword? 

“There are opportunities everywhere at Sword; my promotion into development work has opened up so many opportunities to work with new people in our business. The demands for new ways of working from Sword’s range of Energy sector customers is also opening up opportunities in some really ground-breaking projects.”

What would you say to someone considering a role at Sword?

“Don’t be afraid to join from the lowest position. Graduates may feel qualified to start at a higher development role, however they need to learn broader business skills to succeed in a job like that. If you do well and show you’re capable, you will make your way up and forge a career in technology that is fun, challenging and rewarding.”

Read on to learn more about careers with Sword or our Business Technology solutions (including our IT Service Desk Resolve).

We are looking for suitably qualified Document Controllers to work across our O&G client sites in Aberdeen.

We are currently interested in filling the following Document Control positions:

Role outline:

The following skills and experience must be demonstrated:

If you have the relevant experience and are interested in this position, please contact Malcolm Grant in the first instance.

Our client  partners with private and public sector organisations across Finance, Energy, Manufacturing, Media and Government who count on their teams to deliver innovative solutions and services.

They are currently interested in speaking with Dynamics CRM Developers across a number of UK locations who are available to undertake their next contract opportunity.

If you have agile development experience within the .NET Framework as well as the ability to analyse business processes and translate them into effective CRM solutions with experience of Microsoft Dynamics 2013, 2015 or 2016 configuration and customisation then we want to hear from you.

For a confidential discussion regards this opportunity please contact Malcolm Grant.

Our client is looking for a best in class Data Platform / BI Consultant to join their team.

They partner with private and public sector organisations across Finance, Energy, Manufacturing, Media and Government who count on their teams to deliver innovative solutions and services.

Actively collaborating with Microsoft in the delivery of challenging transformational programmes, they have ambitious plans to develop their existing teams as their business continues to grow. They understand that their success is built on working with great people who are enthusiastic about the technologies that they deliver.

They believe in providing engaging opportunities, rewarding innovation and supporting ongoing professional development and accreditation.

To join their highly regarded technical team you will be skilled in scoping, designing, configuring and delivering cutting edge data solutions for external clients. You’ll need to be able to demonstrate first class technical ability, a passion for Data Architecture, Data Warehousing and ETL and a desire to work at the forefront of innovative technologies.

From a technical perspective, here’s what we’re looking for…

This will be a client facing role and ideally you will be able to demonstrate effective client engagement skills, significant exposure to the analysis of customer requirement and involvement in the pre-sales process.

For a confidential discussion regards this opportunity please contact Malcolm Grant.

Our client is looking for a best in class Azure Cloud Architect to join their team.

They partner with private and public sector organisations across Finance, Energy, Manufacturing, Media and Government who count on their teams to deliver innovative solutions and services.

Actively collaborating with Microsoft in the delivery of challenging transformational programmes, they have ambitious plans to develop their existing teams as their business continues to grow. They understand that their success is built on working with great people who are enthusiastic about the technologies that they deliver.

They believe in providing engaging opportunities, rewarding innovation and supporting ongoing professional development and accreditation.

To join their highly regarded technical team you will be skilled in scoping, designing, configuring and delivering cutting edge Cloud Architecture solutions for external clients. You’ll need to be able to demonstrate first class technical ability, previous delivery of enterprise level solutions  and a desire to work at the forefront of innovative technologies.

From a technical perspective, here’s what we’re looking for…

•       Exam 70-534: Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions

•       Knowledge and experience of Azure IaaS/PaaS

•       Knowledge and experience of Azure AD

•       Knowledge and experience of Azure Backup/Recovery

•       Knowledge and experience of Azure Networking and Storage (inc ExpressRoute)

•       Proven ability to plan and design migrations to Public/Hybrid cloud platforms

This will be a client facing role and ideally you will be able to demonstrate effective client engagement skills, significant exposure to the analysis of customer requirement and involvement in the pre-sales process.

For a confidential discussion regards this opportunity please contact Malcolm Grant in the first instance.

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