Maja Vinther Lassen is a Data Scietist working at Terma. She graduated with a Master’s degree in physics from Aarhus University where she did her thesis within quantum physics.
Please give a short description of the work you do in your current position.
As a data scientist/system engineer at Terma I have various tasks. First of all, I develop prototype code for simulating a specific type of radar images as well as code to analyze both real and simulated radar images. Since the code I do, is prototype code, some documentation needs to be done as well before it goes through the software department. Furthermore, in my team we talk with the end user in order to come up with a system with features which lives up to the demands by the end user. However, the end user is not always are located in Denmark, and therefore my job includes some travel outside Denmark.
How do you draw on the skills you learned as a physicist or engineer in your work?
I use my programming skills when analyzing data and developing a new way to exploit it. Furthermore, I think that one of the main important things I learned while studying is the way I approach a new task, with the knowledge that I will be able to learn whatever needed to solve the task, as long as I feel motivated. Another thing I have learned while studying is to understand complex systems – this includes keeping the overview as well as diving deep into the details of a specific part.
What made you decide to pursue a career in the private industry?
I didn’t want to do research because I find it too lonely as you have to travel around the world, and most of the time you are only in one place for a couple of years. I think I would miss my friends and family at home. I think the reason that I chose the private industry over a public workplace (e.g. as a high school teacher) is that I would like to try both, and I thought it would be easier to go from the private industry to teaching than the other way around. Furthermore, I don’t have a full “side subject” in math and I didn’t want to go back studying right away.
What motivated you to study physics or engineering in the first place?
My high school physics and math teachers were very cool, and their teaching was very inspiring for me. Furthermore, I figured out during high school that I was good at physics and I had great fun while learning it.
What advice would you give to young people (in particular women and minorities) who would like to pursue a career in the private industry?
Go after what you find interesting and don’t settle for the boring tasks just because someone else speaks louder or has a larger ego and therefore seems able do a better job. Believe in yourself and speak up for yourself and go for what you want.