Thinking curiously leads to new possibilities, not only at work, but in everyday life.
AI & Data Engineer Sean Deloddere has lived in many countries and has found his place in consulting. He enjoys the pulse and variety of projects. Now Sean has worked at CGI’s Innovation Center of Excellence business unit for almost two years.
Open-minded attitude comes from family
Sean clearly has an inner fire to understand the world’s current and future technological potential.
“My mom is a professor. Through her I originally became interested in artificial intelligence. Specifically, reinforcement learning caught my attention. The concept that an artificial entity could learn a behaviour through reward or punishment, like how a dog would be trained, was extremely exciting to me”, he describes.
“It soon became the topic of many conversations at the dinner table. In my family, many dinners lead to intense discussions on a broad range of topics. Those conversations taught me how to think critically and look at subjects from different perspectives”, Sean shares his roots.
When Sean was 16, he read predictions about cars driving autonomously, consciousness being uploaded, and exponential technological improvement. Soon after, he requested his mother to bring home ‘The Singularity is Near’ by Rick Kurzweil and ‘Superintelligence’ by Nick Bostrom from the university library.
“While I read those books critically and didn’t outright believe every prediction, I saw the potential AI had to change the world and knew this was the area I wanted to work in”, Sean explains.
Gravitation towards consulting
Before joining CGI, Sean studied autonomous systems, specializing in machine learning, robotics, and data science. Sean knew that he wanted to work in consulting because he was looking for versatility.
“As a consultant, one of my projects might revolve around time series prediction, while the next is about OCR (Optical Character Recognition) and the one after that about NLP (Natural Language Processing).”
“The nature of consulting keeps me interested and, perhaps surprisingly, lessons learned while working in one domain often translate quite well into the others. On top of that, in consultancy I can see the results. That the work I am doing is being used.”
Sean certainly enjoys taking responsibility for a machine learning project!
His first big work project was a great learning experience. “Before that, I mainly focused on the theoretical side of machine learning. It was inspiring to be able to see the practical side and bring learned concepts to the real world. I got valuable help from my supervisor Mikko and from my colleague Mayank”, Sean underlines the worth of support from others.
How work environment supports learning in all its forms
Sean feels that he can continuously develop himself at CGI: “I enjoy diving deep into a certain topic and learn as much as I can. It’s a really big plus for me that the employer encourages me to learn new things.”
What interests Sean the most is problem solving. “Especially in data science projects, I often feel like a detective. I’m analyzing data, looking for patterns, or things that stand out. From there, I can think of ways to use those insights. The more I can start with a blank canvas and figure out a solution to a problem, the more I enjoy it.”
"In data science projects, I often feel like a detective."
Not only client projects, but also participation in student events and fairs have put Sean in situations where he can represent the company and interact with Aalto university students, as a former Aalto student himself.
Salsa as super skill
While studying for his Master's degree in Sweden, Sean discovered and enjoyed local salsa classes. It eventually became his favorite thing to do while living in Sweden.
After moving to Finland, Sean attended a party and, after dancing with a few people, was amazed to be asked how he could do those moves and if he could teach them. The very next week he organized a class to teach the basics to his friends.
He never knew that so many people would be interested in his lessons.
As time passed and things progressed, the group of dancers suddenly got bigger and bigger.
Today there are five salsa classes a week. The salsa group became a registered association and Sean, along with a group of board members, handles the classes and events.