LA techies on the challenges and opportunities that drew them to their industries and companies

by Michael Hines
May 23, 2019

This may come as a shock to some, but perks and pay aren’t the only things tech workers look for in a company. While salary and benefits certainly matter, what’s more important to many techies is the chance to work in an industry that’s constantly evolving and at a fast-growing company where they’ll be continually challenged.

We caught up with tech professionals at two Los Angeles tech companies to learn what they love about their industries, along with what makes the work they’re company’s doing unique.

 

Tala Los Angeles tech jobs
PHOTO VIA MCKENZIE SMITH

Tala is a mobile technology company whose Android app enables people in emerging markets to apply and be approved for a loan using only their smartphone. The company leverages a user’s smartphone data to score their credit worthiness, enabling people with no formal banking or credit history to quickly secure a loan.

Senior Data Scientist Jacob White joined Tala in 2018 from a Silicon Valley startup. White said he was drawn to Tala in large part because the company, unlike some in Silicon Valley, actually does real work with big data.

 

What was it about your industry that made you want to work in it?

I trained as a development economist, and the questions I worked on were fascinating. For example: How to properly calculate the GDP of an African economy? However, even my best analyses were often a type of heuristic guess due to lack of data. To understand the impact of microcredit products, you need access to structured administrative data at the transactional level.

I was interested in Tala because their data science and engineering teams have been using administrative data for years, which meant that Tala is one of the few places in the world were it is possible to utilize this data. In my previous roles, I could only dream of accessing this information.

The technical challenges at Tala are so interesting.

 

What about your company’s work in its industry attracted you to it?

The technical challenges at Tala are so interesting. Most startups in Silicon Valley claim to have big data, however, the reality is that most do not. Tala is the rare startup that truly deploys specialized data processing and analytics tools to make business decisions from our data. For someone looking to gain experience in designing and operating those systems, Tala is a great opportunity!

 

Beyond Limits Los Angeles tech jobs
PHOTOS VIA BEYOND LIMITS AND MCKENZIE SMITH

Beyond Limits is a full-stack AI engineering company that leverages technology developed for outer space to create advanced software solutions that solve mission-critical problems for companies in complex industries. Data Scientist Nicole Thompson has a chemical engineering background and is admittedly surprised that she ended up working in AI. Thompson said that what drew her to AI and Beyond Limits was the chance to constantly be challenged in her work and be part of a rapidly growing startup.

 

What was it about your industry that made you want to work in it?

If you would have asked me two years ago, I never would have guessed I’d be working in AI as a data scientist. I was drawn to the rapid growth of the industry, and I wanted to be presented with new challenges every day. While I aim to be an expert in my field, I also love working on projects that require me to learn about a field I have no expertise in. AI is applicable to a number of industries so I can safely say I will never get bored. Another huge factor was the culture of discovery, learning and innovation found within the AI community. It truly is a fast-paced industry, and I am excited to see — and be a part of — how AI develops over the next few decades.

I was drawn to the rapid growth of the industry, and I wanted to be presented with new challenges every day.

 

What about your company’s work in its industry attracted you to it?

Beyond Limits had everything I wanted: the flexibility to work on a variety of problems, a company culture fostering learning and innovation, and projects relevant to my chemical engineering background. Beyond Limits specializes in AI for complex industries and solves intricate problems that require the integration of human knowledge and data.

Being able to use some of my chemical engineering knowledge while implementing AI solutions was really attractive to me. I also liked the idea of working at a startup, being part of a rapidly growing company and working alongside extremely eager, driven people. Working at Beyond Limits has exceeded all of my expectations, and I look forward to growing with the company.

 

Jobs from companies in this blog43 open jobs
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