Interview with a graduate in IT and Cognition

Hege Fromreide graduated from IT and Cognition from the University of Copenhagen in 2014. She is now working as Semantic Developer at Xaxis in the center of Copenhagen City. Hege uses many of the competences she received from her Master’s degree like statistical machine learning and programming at her current job.

Why did you choose to study a Master in IT and Cognition?
”I chose to study this Master’s degree because I already had a degree in Linguistics from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. I wanted to combine my interest in linguistics with computer science, but had no experience with programming or computer science from my Bachelor’s degree. By coincidence I read about this new program in IT and Cognition and I felt like it was something that really suited my interests”.

What do you do in your job?
“Our team work with online advertising technology and applies the principles of semantics to online advertising. Our task is to detect topics, sentiments and objectionable content for webpages, which is useful information for advertisers who want to place ads on relevant sites. My job is to seek out ways to improve our technology using knowledge about modeling natural language for more accurate automatic categorization of webpages”.

"I wanted to combine my interest in linguistics with computer science, but had no experience with programming or computer science from my Bachelor’s degree.

What is the main challenge you have encountered in your job?
“So far, it has been challenging to learn and get familiar with some of the new tools, which is both time-consuming and necessary for working with large datasets. I also find it important to fully understand the context and business environment in order to identify areas where my knowledge can be utilized in the ongoing work with the classification algorithm. There are many interesting issues to work with and it can be difficult to know which ones to prioritize in order to further develop my competences”.

What was the first job you got after you graduated and how did you get it?
”It was this job at Xaxis. I saw their job advertisement, applied for it and got it. So it was from traditional job seeking I got my first job. They were looking for someone with experience in natural language processing and statistical methods, which was exactly what I have been working with at IT and Cognition”.

Why did you choose to stay and work in Denmark after you graduated?
”Well I moved here from Norway six years ago now and made friends here so it felt very natural for me to stay. Besides that I really like Denmark and Copenhagen in particular”.

Do you have any career advice for future students who are going to study a Master's degree like you?
”That would be to try and define some goals. Find out what you want to achieve during your study. It all might seem a little difficult and unmanageable in the beginning of your Master’s program. It did for me every once in a while. But you should just keep on working and be patient. Soon it will all make sense. Try to be social and involve yourself in your study. And last but not least it would be a great idea to try and think about what you would like to do when you graduate”.

Interview November 2014.