In Conversation: Ngebuthu Mampare (Data Scientist)

A chat with data scientist Ngebuthu about his career origins, favorite and challenging parts about his job, advice for aspiring data scientists, and much more!

In your own words, please tell us who Ngebuthu Mampare is

Ngebuthu is a young man hailing from Marobela who grew up in Letlhakane but is currently staying full-time in the capital city because of work commitments. I am a data enthusiast with 7 years in the field and currently working as a data scientist at BTC. I’m a highly motivated and results-oriented person with a keen interest in technology and innovation. I’m consistently always learning new technologies and working to the highest professional standard. Besides work, I spend my free time reading, learning on YouTube, or watching Netflix. I also go out occasionally on weekends to refresh and meet up with friends.

Briefly take us through your journey to a career in tech

I started early on Business Intelligence. I spent my first year working in local software development companies as an application/ software developer. From there I got an opportunity to join FNB as a Business Intelligence analyst. I spent about 4 years there in which I started as a business intelligence analyst, moved from a Data Specialist role where I built models and self-service BI tools to a BI Developer role where my duties were all around from Datawarehouse building, ETLs creation, building data models and dashboarding. Eventually, I moved to BTC to start my career as a data scientist which I am still at.

What inspired you to pursue a tech career?

I always loved computers, specifically programming and I knew I was going to be working in technology since my junior school years. From there, it influenced my decisions and I ended up enrolling in Computer Science at the University of Botswana and applying for data roles in different companies after graduation.

Please tell us what your job entails

Currently, I do both data science and data engineering activities. This entails data management, data migration, data transformation, the building of data models, and the creation of insights through using data science techniques. The other important part is stakeholder engagement where I sit down with different business segments to understand their data needs and then go find the best solution for them in delivering the insights.

What is your favorite part of the work that you do?

Facing challenging data tasks. The data field is tough and needs you to be able to think and be curious about data otherwise you won’t manage. For me, there is no feeling better than completing a challenging and daunting task and then seeing the satisfaction of your client when you have delivered.

What are the most exciting and challenging projects you have undertaken?

I have done customer analysis trying to predict the behavior of customers and predict the likelihood for the customers to do certain activities or buy certain products. This was both challenging and exciting as we had to apply ML(Machine Learning) models to the customer data, refine the models and eventually come up with different categories for customers so we can run targeted campaigns to different customers and get a high turnover rate on each campaign. This demonstrated the powerful role of data science in increasing revenue for the organization and creating value for the customer.

Data Science, which is the field you are in, is constantly changing with new technologies being introduced from time to time. How do you ensure that your skillset always remains relevant?

Continuous learning is the secret. Fortunately, there are plenty of materials online one can indulge in either freely or at a reasonable amount. I have taken it upon myself to do online courses and do certifications around data science. I have recently been certified in Azure Data Engineering and am looking to certify as an Azure Data Scientist before mid-year. Also reading around data science and attending seminars is helpful to keep myself updated on the recent trends and technologies and network with like-minded people.

What has been the proudest moment of your career so far?

Mmm,  there are many but being appointed BTC data scientist has been one of them as it gave me a new challenge.

What’s something you know now that you wish you knew earlier in your career?

As much as technical skills, soft skills are also essential as a data scientist as the job entails engaging with different stakeholders, understanding their business needs, advising them, and helping them get the best from the available data. So, you need to have both excellent communication & people skills and strong technical skills. This I learned a bit late in my career and have worked on strengthening both skills for the best value

If any, what is the best advice you have received in your career?

“Always do what you are afraid to do”. This quote is one of my favorites and helps me when I face challenges, or I am hesitant about making a decision that could benefit me if successful.

Career-wise, where do you see Ngebuthu in the next 5-10 years?

I will be hanging in the data science field for a while, aiming for more senior positions, consulting, and other planned entrepreneurial endeavors.

What advice can you give to young people who are interested in pursuing a career in Data Science?

Just jump In. The data science field is relatively new, not yet saturated and there are many opportunities within it. But it’s a tough field that requires passion and hard work for one to excel so be ready to put all you have and make sacrifices.

Lastly, please share with our readers your contact details in case they want to get in touch with you


NB: Interview has been slightly edited for clarity

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