Alexander Hofverberg, Data Scientist at Paradox Interactive with a Master’s of Science in Statistics degree from Umeå University
Which year did you graduate with a Master's of Science in Statistics from Umeå University? I finished my Master's in statistics in 2015.
What do you do now? I currently work as a data scientist for the video game publisher Paradox Interactive, most famous for their grand strategy games. At Paradox, I analyse player data and try to leverage that information to improve the user experience, and I couldn't imagine a more fun place to be! In games, you have an amazing opportunity to gather a ton of data, so the possibilities for applying statistics are truly endless.
Which knowledge or skill that you acquired during the master courses have been most useful for you? The ability to communicate statistics to people in other fields is the skill that's been most useful to me, and it will be of huge importance to anyone ever working with other people. That was however mostly obtained from teaching at the basic level which I did during my master's, and I highly recommend that to anyone if given the opportunity. From the actual coursework, I would have to go with a deeper understanding of statistical programming, which is used in pretty much every single course at the advanced level. I think the combination of skills in statistics and programming is quite rare and extremely important, especially if you want to work in tech.
Tell us about the master courses you took? Which did you find most interesting? I took classes in multivariate data analysis, programming in statistics, causal inference in observational studies, and computer-intensive methods in statistics. I found the causal inference course to be the most interesting as it tries to answer the most sought-after question in statistics, namely that of causality. It's not something that I'm using today since randomization is a quite unproblematic in the field of gaming, but it was still a great experience where I learned a lot.
What was the best with your studies in Statistics and Mathematical Statistics at Umeå University? If I have to name one thing, I would have to go with the familiarity of the Department of Statistics. Everyone is really friendly and does their best to help out in whatever way they can.
What was most difficult with your studies in Statistics and Mathematical Statistics at Umeå University? I read some of my courses kind of backwards, leaving my mathematical courses for quite late in my studies. That was a bit problematic as you progress with the statistical theory, so I strongly recommend becoming comfortable with the mathematics as soon as possible.
How did the contact with the teachers work? It could not have been better, honestly. Everyone is very passionate about statistics and shows an interest in whatever questions you have.
What part of the student life in Umeå did you enjoy most? Different things during different stages really. Umeå certainly has a lot of things to offer, even though it is a rather small town. It's really fun that such a large part of its population are students, so there's always something going on.
How did you find housing in Umeå? I was subletting for the first year and a half I think, after which my housing came from the queue of Bostaden.
Do you have any advice to students thinking about coming here to study? Just do it, it's a move you won't regret.