We spoke to Pooja Mehta, one of CACTUS’s data engineers. Read on to know more about what she does, what it is like at CACTUS, what drives her everyday:
I’m a data engineer and an SME on academic data. I work on tons and tons of data that give better intelligence to researchers for them to do their job better!
My favourite work in my 2.5 years with CACTUS has been in a Big Data Analytics project. It is my baby! I have been with this project from its nascent ideation stages and to see it take shape up and create so much value in the world is really heartwarming.
Academic work is not organised well today — you have researchers, authors, journals and all their data. Let’s say, I am an author, I want to see what past research has been done in the field and find similar works, or I am an author looking to collaborate with others. There is no easy way to find this data. I have to do days and days of research to get this.
Through the Big Data Analytics project, our goal is to serve as a single source of truth for all academic and publisher data and become the largest, latest, and most accurate data store in the academic world for any academic document: a paper, a journal, a dataset, a patent, a conference etc. We assist researchers by giving them a one stop solution to discover new and exciting work in their domain by curating a feed personalised for them. We make institutions stay up to date on the their output and their reach in the ecosystem. It’s really very exciting!
I used to be a professional theatre artist — now that CACTUS is remote first, I am back in my home town and back to stage. I recently performed Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice — there is ample amount of time after work for rehearsals!
I also use my time to workout and stay fit. I just picked up the flute to learn it. The best part is I get to spend time with family — time for day-to-day small work: grocery or a bank run, clinic visits and so on!
I did a 9 day workation with my team! We went to Binsar, Uttarakhand. I love travelling and the last couple of months I’m always visiting places. Either its trip with friends, other CACTUS colleagues, or short trips to Mumbai to meet the rest of the team and work together!
“Speak up and listen actively — differences enrich us.”
I resonate with this the most. When I joined, I had a challenge with speaking up. It comes with experience in working with organisations that are hierarchical and you always had to be extremely cautious before speaking. That wasn’t the case at CACTUS. My manager noticed this and encouraged me to share my thoughts more openly and gave me the space to be myself. I’ve come a long way now!