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One Woman’s Mission to Make Data Science Work for Everyone

Adam Pilkey

01.10.18 3 min. read

To commemorate F-Secure’s 30th year of innovation, we’re profiling 30 of our fellows from our more than 25 offices around the globe.

Zuzanna Kunik always had an interest in cyber security. She joined F-Secure about a year and a half ago while completing her studies in Control Engineering and Robotics. Her education didn’t really focus on cyber security. But the opportunity to work at F-Secure rekindled her interest in protecting people.  And her new job let use data science to help customers and other F-Secure fellows fight against threats.

“I implement math algorithms that work a little magic in our backend to help separate the bad from the good,” she explains. “It’s all about finding patterns in the big mess of data that’s fed into our systems. That makes it easier for us to deliver the best protection possible to our end users. So everyone wins…except for bad guys.”

Zuzanna works out of F-Secure’s Poznan office. She helps create the machine learning and statistical models that power F-Secure’s detection and response solutions. But her work doesn’t start and end with data. In fact, something that keeps her busy happens to be one of the best parts of her job.

“The level of knowledge sharing in in this job is incredibly high. We have AWS workshops open to everyone. Our fellows organize cyber security meetups, quality meetups, PyLove workshops where we teach programming for beginners. And our team has coffee together every morning to help us get to know each other.”

And for Zuzanna, the knowledge sharing doesn’t end with F-Secure. She’s also one of the organizers of the Polish chapter of Women in Machine Learning and Data Science – a group dedicated to sharing knowledge.

“Our aim is to share data science knowledge among all people, regardless of sex, skin color, or sexual orientation. It’s a safe place for everyone to discuss and present ideas, but especially women, to help them develop their knowledge and expertise in the field,” she says.

Spreading tech know-how across a diverse range of stakeholders is vital for the future of both artificial intelligence and cyber security. But current estimates suggest that as little as 12 percent of leading machine learning researchers are women. And machine learning is a big part of what drives modern cyber security solutions, so it’s a problem that needs to be tackled.

But as someone who’s not afraid of getting her hands dirty with data, Zuzanna tries to stay grounded about how far artificial intelligence (AI) will take us without keeping the human element in the mix.

“AI is a field of knowledge. It’s not good or bad. It needs the right hands to guide it. I personally wouldn’t like to create models that exploit our customers privacy for the sake of earning money because I consider that to be harmful. At F-Secure we treat privacy and security seriously.”

Zuzanna’s fondness for her work stems from her love of data and her love of working with people. She gets to share what she knows and help people while doing research and developing her ideas. She also gets to opportunities to learn from some of the best cyber security experts in the industry. And what she’s learned might surprise many people.

“Always lock your laptop. Unless you want to buy donuts for the office.”

Check out our open positions if you want to join Zuzanna and the hundreds of other great fellows fighting to keep internet users safe from online threats.

Adam Pilkey

01.10.18 3 min. read

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