We sat down with Ali, one of our data experts, to chat about her career path, how she sees the industry, and what it is like to work for Infostrux. Follow her on her data journey and meet the expert ➡
A Journey into Data Engineering with Aliénor Lougerstay
Senior Data Engineer at Infostrux
Let's start from the top! Where are you from?
I was born and raised in France near Paris. When the time came to go to college, I decided to go as far away as possible so I could experience living abroad alone. That’s when I moved to Canada for my engineering studies and never looked back! I’m as Canadian as can be now.
How did your background lead you to where you are today?
Serendipity. I think sometimes the most chaotic path is the one that will take you the furthest. In my case, change is what drives my interest. I moved from countries and followed an academic path that was diverse. To be fair, my background doesn't have much to do with data. I studied aerospace and electrical engineering, spent my free time building rockets for international competitions, worked in a rocketry startup doing finances and business development, and then decided to join the data consulting world by joining Infostrux. Life happens, and I followed along!
You can learn from everything and be successful while at it: Getting a rocket off the ground, working on finances, building a website, everything adds up to your experience. The important thing is to be able to transport those skills into other fields and use them to your advantage.
Why Data? What brought you to this industry?
I guess all roads lead to Rome, and all careers lead to data. Data affects many sectors, and I always enjoyed setting up processes and getting things from point A to point B. So from working in software and setting up SQL databases on company servers as an intern to figuring out how to manage a company’s finances, it’s all just data and how you handle it.
What do you think are the most exciting trends in the data space? What does the future look like?
I’m not big into trends, but I like to see how many more things become data-driven. Data is being collected all around, from mines in Nunavut to medical advancements.
Now, with the increasing presence of AI, all this data is getting more powerful to improve our lives. As AI takes center stage and makes people worry about losing their jobs, it’s interesting to see that working in data drives this transition and shapes its future. Being a data engineer in this field means you play a vital role in making this technology efficient and useful.
Tell me about your jump to Infostrux: why did you choose to take the next step?
One of my good friends kept going from one cloud consultancy company to another and would always complain, but when he joined Infostrux, he stopped complaining, so I figured it must be a great place to work! I was stagnating at my previous position, where I got to a point where I was just doing maintenance. I learned what I could and jumped into the world of data and tech, where I see many paths to move forward in exciting ways.
What do you like about working here?
The main driver is the people. Being surrounded by like-minded and highly competent people makes the job fun and interesting. There is always someone willing to help, people with a lot of experience and knowledge who are happy to share, with no big egos. It’s a stimulating environment to learn and progress professionally and personally.
The other factor is trust. When I work on client projects, I am trusted to handle all aspects of the project, and I need and enjoy that autonomy and trust to be fulfilled. We are given responsibilities, and the work is structured to give you the autonomy to make decisions and collaborate with others at our discretion in this climate of trust.
The third point is the level of transparency leadership demonstrates frequently. They are very thoughtful and go to great lengths to show everyone a clear path to where we are heading, where we are, and how to get there. Having that level of trust from the people leading the company is great.
What does a day in the life of a Senior Data Engineer look like?
There's a lot of collaboration with clients, brainstorming with them and the team, research, and programming. I’m working closely with a large client to develop their new data platform on Snowflake. So every day, I collaborate closely with my peers and the client to best design and implement a solution that meets their needs.
What is the best advice you have got that helped your career in the data space?
This applies to any space, but hard work and curiosity pay off. Head into any project with the right attitude, and you’ll become more knowledgeable and capable. Don’t let what you think you know stop you from tackling challenges at work.
What piece of advice would you offer to people who are just getting started in the industry?
I believe that overthinking career paths and knowing exactly where you want to be in x number of years isn’t too helpful, but consistently doing your best and making the best decision for you at the moment will lead you somewhere you’ll be happy to be at.
Outside of work: What are you passionate about? What are your hobbies and interests?
Lots and lots of things. At the moment, I’m quite busy getting ready to sail this summer in between some camping trips and outdoor activities. I love growing and collecting plants and occasionally woodworking. I keep busy!
What is something interesting, curious, or unique about you that others may not know or guess?
The one thing that surprises people is that I have a boat. People underestimate how affordable a sailboat can be, so that might be why. This summer, I'll sail on Lake Champlain on the border between Canada and the US.