Meet Markus – PhD, Mr. Data and Jazz Pianist

Kalle Tiihonen Apr 08 2015 7 AM | 3 min read

Our PhD, Chief Data Scientist Markus Ojala loves building team spirit, inspiring people and playing jazz piano. Before he worked as a Senior Data Scientist at Comptel and as a data mining researcher at Aalto University. In addition, Markus has experience from working at one of the cutting edge data analytics startups called Xtract which was acquired by Comptel in 2012.

Could you tell us a concrete example of your work?

“Before I helped my clients to minimize the customer churn rate by analyzing huge amounts of call detail record data. After a while, you begin to see the patterns that cause customers to churn. We were able to recognize the patterns in the customer behavior before the churn. Now I am building to the next level with an even more data oriented approach to bring our automatic optimization engine to the next level.”

What tools do you love?

“R is at the moment the most advanced tool for data analytics and we use it at work. It seems that open source software for data analytics is going to dominate the market and that the free options are already more developed than the commercial alternatives. SPSS and SAS have been the de facto standards for many years but the open and free option R evolves faster. The learning curve is a bit steeper but the benefits are amazing.”

What software do you use at

“For example MemSQL is an interesting in-memory database we use at the moment. It’s really fast and easy-to-use because of the SQL syntax. I constantly want to learn new things and working at makes it possible. Apache Hadoop and Spark will be soon useful for us since the amount of data grows exponentially. I am also fascinated about the Scala programming language.”

In addition to work, Markus travels, cycles and plays the piano. “It has been my passion for the last 23 years. My style is jazz improvisation.” Markus completed his Master's degree and PhD thesis in the Department of Information and Computer Science in Aalto University. “The studies helped me to understand the theory part but I love to learn by solving real customer problems. I acquired the concrete programming and data analytics skills by participating in various international programming, mathematics and physics related competitions.” Markus has international olympics medals in mathematics, programming and physics and is also a national champion both in mathematics and programming.

Who inspires you?

“Actually, I didn’t come up with any particular person. I am rather inspired by general passion for life and work. Positive attitude inspires a lot. If you are a positive, humble and genuine person, you probably inspire me. If you have no real passion for work, change it. I would say our amazing team and approach keep me inspired.”

What is your motto?

“Making things happen while having fun at the work.”

P.S. we are hiring Front-end Engineers, Back-end Engineers, DevOps Engineers, Data Scientists, Lead QA Engineers and Account Managers! Learn More

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Kalle Tiihonen

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