Sara McCarney

Sara McCarney

Sara McCarney

Senior Software Engineer
Joy Kavanagh

Describe your role at Sonrai

I work as a full stack software engineer at Sonrai, which means I develop end-to-end applications from the backend logic to the frontend components. I develop data science applications which can range from data cleaning apps to machine learning applications like unsupervised K-means clustering and supervised Decision Tree. 

What is something people in your industry/niche have to deal with that you want to fix?

Many of our customers are in the medical/bioinformatics space and face problems with data ingestion, analysis and reporting, to name a few. It’s becoming increasingly important for these firms to collect and aggregate data in a reproducible way in order to save on time and resources, and dedicate more time to their scientific research.

One recurring problem our clients face is preparing untidy data for downstream analysis. We want to give our clients the tools to prep their data before feeding it into their analysis workflows, and at the same time help to steer people towards collecting their data in a more convenient manner.

What excites you about your role at Sonrai?

Every day is different and there is a rich variety of tasks to pick up. You get to learn new technologies and pick up new skills. Our team dynamic is amazing – we are always willing to help each other, give constructive feedback and promote growth mindset thinking. We have also recently set up Sonrai Academy, which allows employees the time and budget for their own Learning and Development, for example, AWS certs. 

What makes working at Sonrai different to places you’ve worked before?

I hadn’t worked in a startup before Sonrai. In a startup you need to be able to take initiative with your work, work independently and be able to come up with creative solutions to complex problems – in contrast, at bigger companies, you can feel as though you’re ‘just a number’.

What did you do before joining Sonrai?

Before Sonrai I worked briefly at PwC in the Forensic Technology department. Prior to this, I graduated from my Masters course at LMU Munich, where I studied Physics. During these studies, I spent one year at the Max-Planck Institute for Physics writing my Master’s thesis under the Belle II Particle Physics group there, which is where I learnt to code and train machine learning algorithms.

What are the values that drive you?

I place a lot of value on individuals and organizations that strive to make the world a better place. One of the reasons I joined Sonrai was because of their involvement in advancing cancer research, directly via our image classification model training for colorectal cancers, but also indirectly through helping companies expedite their data collection and analysis processes for example in clinical research trials.

What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?

I enjoy reading, cinema, being in nature, yoga and cooking. Recently I’ve been trying to reduce my carbon footprint as much as I can by shopping in refill stores, eating vegan, and trying to only buy second-hand clothes where possible.

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