Ben – Data Analyst
Tell Us About Yourself?
I’m Ben, and I’m a data analyst at BitPrime. I’m originally from Stratford, Taranaki but now live in Christchurch with five flatmates. I study a Bachelor of Science, and in my spare time, I like to read and also watch rugby and cricket.
What Is Your Background? Which Has Been More Valuable in Your Career, Your Education or Your Experience?
I started this job with absolutely no experience in data analytics, bar from a few papers in statistics at university. I’m most of the way through a degree in economics, finance and statistics now. While I think that gave me a good grounding in how customers and markets tend to behave, what I’ve learnt on the job has been far more valuable so far.
If You Could Go Back in Time a Year or Two, What Piece of Advice Would You Give Yourself?
Two years ago, I would have said learn more Python (programming language), learn more about statistics, and buy as much Bitcoin as possible. One year ago, I started at BitPrime, so I would have told myself to learn SQL (Structured Query Language) and Git (file change tracking software).
Is There a Quote That Motivates You?
I like the quote “simplify, then add lightness” from Lotus founder Colin Chapman. I think it’s as applicable to car manufacturing as it is to building software.
Who Inspires You?
We have a ton of clever and hardworking people at BitPrime who inspire me a lot.
About Your Data Analysis Role With BitPrime
What Made You Get Into This Line of Work? How Did You Become Interested in This Field?
I got into this job by pure chance. My flatmate sent me a job listing on Student Job Search, I applied, and here we are today. It was an incredible stroke of luck because I thoroughly enjoy it (thanks, Louis!).
What Do You Enjoy the Most About Your Role?
I really like the intellectual challenge, but what I enjoy most is the variety of areas that I get to work in. For example, I could be working on something for compliance in the morning, figuring out how to minimise trading costs after lunch, and then pulling some customer data for the marketing team in the evening. You learn lots about how a business is run like that, and that learning has been really fun.
What Are the Main Challenges You Face in Your Role? What Issues Have You Run Into? Have You Had to Change Course?
Often, the data I need will be incomplete, stored in a strange format, only accessible via an API (application programming interface), or any number of other problems. I spend a huge amount of time on data preprocessing and while it’s definitely not the most glamourous part of my job, it’s probably the most important.
There’s also plenty I haven’t learnt yet, so I’m lucky to have knowledgeable (and patient) staff to steer me in the right direction when I have a question. StackOverflow also deserves a special mention in that regard!
What Is the Best Advice You Have for Someone Looking to Move Into This Area (Crypto/Blockchain/Data Analytics)?
Read some news articles about crypto, or do some coding projects. If you sit there afterwards and think, “that was pretty interesting”, then this could well be the area for you.
Where Do You See the Industry Going in the Future?
It’s hard to say exactly, but I’m optimistic about the industry as a whole. We’re seeing customers diversify their cryptocurrency holdings more and more each year, and I think diversification of preferences and applications will be an industry trend going forward. For example, I wouldn’t have predicted such strong interest in NFTs or DeFi, and so today I wonder what investors and developers will start dipping their toes into next.
I’m personally excited about the application of blockchain technology to supply-chain management. New Zealand has lots of high-quality exports like manuka honey and merino wool that are susceptible to counterfeiting, and blockchain technology can reassure overseas consumers that what they’re getting is the real deal. IBM is already making plays in this area, and having a company with IBM’s stature behind a blockchain project sends a strong positive message to those who are still on the fence about the industry.
The Special Interest Group on Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies led by Dr Stephen Wingreen at the University of Canterbury does lots of interesting research in this area, and I’m cautiously confident that the regulatory environment for cryptocurrencies in New Zealand will relax. I also think that traditional financial institutions will (slowly) begin to see crypto as a viable product or service, rather than as an existential threat. These are all promising signs for the industry, hence my optimism.
As for data analytics, the industry is going to go from strength to strength with the sheer scale and complexity of data being generated. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens at the intersection between data science and cryptocurrency. Chainalysis is one company already doing that, and their innovations in blockchain analytics ultimately help keep our customers and the general public safer by detecting suspicious activity on the blockchain. It’s an exciting time in an exciting industry for sure.
How Can People Connect With You?
The above references an opinion and is for informational purposes only. Do not take this as personalised financial advice or investment advice. The views expressed by the author do not necessarily represent the opinion of BitPrime.
Last updated: 22/04/2022