“Saying you’re a data scientist doesn’t provide much information on what you do,” says James Ross, associate data scientist at CommBank. You’d never know James spends his time solving business problems on the digital front or playing table tennis in his lunch hour, for instance.
When he’s not facing off in ping-pong, James is using his knack for data to improve CommBank’s Spend Tracker. It’s a feature on the bank’s app that tracks your spending by category and delivers a monthly report.
“Spend Tracker is phenomenal as it gives us the chance to encourage informed spending,” he says.
“The behavioural economics behind it is that we’re attempting to evoke a long-term planning mindset. For example, we may be helping a person understand their daily coffee adds up to over $100 each month and to ask themselves if they should curb this spending. The great thing is we can test our hypotheses to check if Spend Tracker is having any effect.
“I believe in making people’s lives better by helping everyday Australians manage their spending.”
CommBank’s grad program helped James to find his niche in maths graduate jobs, giving him a vast network of role models with successful careers, and allowing him to test his passions in different areas of the organisation.
A passion for maths came easily for James, but he finds studying maths and working in data science can be vastly different. Most of his day is spent coding, or collaborating with researchers to understand technical issues. “I believe that everyone can love maths because the maths you know in the classroom and the maths in the real world are so different. It’s a universal skill to have and you can take maths to any career.”
– Eliza Brockwell
James’ path to maths graduate jobs
> > Bachelor of Science (Advanced Mathematics), UNSW
> > Grad program, CommBank
> > Masters in Mathematics by research, UNSW (current)
> > Associate data scientist, CommBank
Author: Elise Roberts
Elise is a science, tech and business enthusiast, motivated to connect people with research that will propel their success. With over ten years’ experience working at the intersection of technology and communications across a wide range of industries, Elise enjoys jumping on the latest trends in digital media to share new knowledge with the Australian community.