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Space experts and international students

Meeting IDP’s data science experts

For more than 50 years, IDP has been working to help hundreds of thousands of students find the right course, institution and country that suit each individual.

Over those five decades, the tools used to help students find their ideal match have become increasingly sophisticated.

Now, IDP is increasingly drawing on data science to ensure that the entire student journey is personalised and provides the student with the best possible outcome.

Stars in Ashley’s eyes

For senior data engineer Ashley Crouch, working in data science at IDP means enabling the future of education and tailoring each student’s journey.

Ashley has taken a less traditional career path to data science, having worked for more than 10 years as an astrophysicist in Northern America.

His work there included working as a postdoctoral fellow at the Canadian Space Agency and as a research scientist in Colorado analysing the magnetic field of the sun.

A return to Australia with his family led to a change in career to data science for Ashley, where there were more opportunities in the growing field.

Ashley says he was attracted to work at IDP because of the interesting work, driven by the company’s purpose to improve lives through education.

Although education is a new sector, Ashley has found that data science and astrophysics are closely linked and use similar tools and analysis.

“I’ve adopted a number of skills I used as an astrophysicist in my work at IDP,” Ashley said.

“In astrophysics you need advanced applied maths skills and statistics to predict a certain outcome, in my case looking at solar flares on the sun.

“It’s the same for data science, we’re using past behaviour to predict the future and anticipate what an individual wants to choose.

“At IDP we look at ways to improve each student’s experience to make it as relevant as possible for them.

“You may say it is about predicting the future behaviours of two very different types of rising stars.

“We investigate ways to add additional value for students and institutions, including connecting searches with outcomes and providing information beyond what a course is like to help students learn more about a city or country they might move to,” he concluded.

From international student to global data scientist

Abhishek Anand, an IDP alumnus now IDP intern, is studying a Master of Computer Science at the University of Melbourne and being mentored by Ashley.

He says he’s been amazed by just how much goes into the student journey and the tools the data science team use to enable IDP’s work.

“The team at IDP take so much pride in their work to ensure each student gets the most out of IDP’s services,” Abhishek said.

“I feel lucky to be learning from IDP’s team of data scientists – particularly Ashley – about how complex the technology and process is behind what students see.

“Working in data science means looking at who your audience or customer is and then identifying how you can help and that’s what IDP does through education.

“Having been an IDP-placed student originally from Chennai, I’d encourage future students to trust the process.

“Social media and your peers should not discourage you from studying the course you want in the city you choose.

“Let the experts help you, like they did for me,” he concluded.

 

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