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Rellikson Kisyula: Pursuing Data Science with a Human Interest

The work that we do very often has an impact on our environment, communities, and society at large, whether that is intentional or not. ALA Alumni and Data Scientist, Rellikson Kisyula (29), is fully aware of this fact and takes it in his stride.

Rellikson prides himself in pursuing data science with a human interest. When asked what his understanding of this phrase is, he defines it as “the application of data science techniques and technologies to solve complex problems that have a significant impact on human society. Data science with a human interest is a powerful approach that can be used to address complex social problems and make a positive impact in the society. By leveraging advanced data science techniques, we can develop innovative solutions that promote social justice, equity, and a better quality of life for all.”

With a Human-Centered Technology and Computational Mathematics degree from Michigan State University, he has dedicated his career to this field of work. He has extensive experience and skills in web development and data analysis. His expertise lies in analyzing and interpreting complex data sets using tools and programming languages such as Python, PostgreSQL, and R; as well as qualitative research methods and web development utilizing technologies such as MongoDB, Express, React, and Node. Currently seeking opportunities to leverage his expertise in data analytics, Rellikson aims to make a meaningful impact in fields such as finance, healthcare, and technology while solving pressing problems of our time.

Rellikson believes that the digital revolution and technological advancements in Africa have resulted in a swift shift in the demand for data scientists capable of conducting data analysis to generate insights that inform decision-making processes. With an increasing number of businesses and organizations across Africa embracing data-driven decision-making processes, the need for data scientists who can analyze complex datasets and derive actionable insights continues to grow. He is inspired by One Acre Fund’s Insight Program. The program utilizes various data collection methods, including surveys, focus groups, and feedback mechanisms, to gather data on farmers’ behaviors and preferences. Subsequently, the data is subjected to thorough analysis to identify behavioral patterns and trends that inform the design of novel products and services.

Young data scientists in Africa have the potential to foster the global knowledge economy by developing novel and innovative solutions that can solve the continent’s unique challenges and create opportunities. He makes the example of FarmDrave, a mobile application designed by a group of young data scientists that utilizes satellite imagery to assist farmers in monitoring crop health and predicting yields. The app has been instrumental in providing smallholder farmers with access to financing and enhancing their productivity. This exemplary use of agricultural data science in Africa serves as an inspiration to young data scientists on the continent to create and develop relevant solutions that can help address the pressing challenges faced in various sectors.

To him, the diverse community from ALA has been invaluable for gaining insights into the application of data analysis and information technology in addressing social and economic challenges in Africa. While still pursuing his studies at the university, his fellow ALA scholars exposed him to various viewpoints and ideas that have broadened his perspective on how data can be leveraged for the benefit of African society. The ALA curriculum was also instrumental in providing access to courses and workshops that have helped him develop his technical skills in data analysis and information technology. The Entrepreneurial Leadership (EL) model prepared him with regards to human-centered data science by fostering a mindset of innovation, creativity, and problem-solving. The model taught him the importance of identifying challenges and creating solutions that are sustainable, scalable, and socially responsible.

In the ever-evolving age of information, Rellikson knows the need for professionals in his field to keep their fingers on the pulse. Staying up-to-date with the latest developments is crucial for ensuring that he is applying the most advanced and effective techniques to the problems he is trying to solve. To achieve this, he prioritizes continuous learning through online courses, webinars, and conferences, as well as reading industry publications and research papers.

Networking and collaboration are other ways through which he is upskilling himself, staying informed and gaining new perspectives. Our AL for Infrastructure network is also helping him as platform through which he is interacting with peers to make meaningful contributions on improving the continent through data sciences.

Written by Rellikson Kisyula
Edited by Beloved Sechele

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