"Casser les codes" avec Barbara Viciencio, Data Scientist

“Breaking the codes” with Barbara Viciencio, Data Scientist

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Unemployed, she started working as a waitress in the HORECA in Liège. A job that she could not maintain when her son, Martin, arrived because of the complicated and staggered schedules that the catering imposes. “Looking at Forem training, I saw that there was one in the field of biotechnology. Since I’m an oceanographer, I thought it might interest me and naively signed up. I didn’t know what it could lead to. That’s where I learned to code, and found that it wasn’t that hard. Basically, it didn’t appeal to me, I didn’t even know it existed“, she says.


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It was therefore a little bit by chance, in 2016, that she found herself in the bath of tech, coding. While doing the training, she observed that it led to a number of job opportunities: “I absolutely wanted to get out of unemployment and have a job to have a good life. I didn’t know what was behind it. I discovered it gradually“.

The training offered by the GIGA (Interdisciplinary Grouping of Applied Genoproteomics) and Le Forem lasts four months full-time, and then offers a two-month internship. “When I started doing the training, I can’t say I loved it. It was by persevering that I wanted to continue learning.”

“At the beginning, I suffered a little because the language was complicated, but by hanging on, it was. During the internship, I learned another language: python, a programming language quite easy to understand for people who are not familiar with computers. It must be said that computers and I, at the beginning, we had a special relationship. It was not my thing at all“, she smiles.

In this club, there were few women, and I received a lot of misogynistic and fascist comments from my manager.

Culture of brothers

At the end of his internship, he was offered a permanent contract to become a Business Data Analyst. An experience that was complicated for him. “I moved a lot for this job. In this club, there were few women, and I received a lot of misogynistic and fascist comments from my manager. Everyone laughed at his ‘jokes’. During an evaluation (which turned out to be good), I told him of my dissatisfaction. A month later he used a lack of flexibility – as I refused to go to work in Brussels because I had to keep my son in Liège – as a pretext to fire me“, she underlines.

Her career may have been slowed down because she was a single mother. “I had to refuse jobs. When it’s the week with my son, if I’m not at school at 6 p.m., it closes. It’s a question I’ve been asked in job interviews and I’ve always been sincere.“, points out the Data Scientist.

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