Interview with Alexandre Vanbelle, Data Engineer at Safran Analytics

Alexandre Vanbelle, 32 years old, joined Safran Analytics when the entity was first set up in June 2015. In this interview, Alexandre explains his career path and tells us about his job as a Data Engineer working within the Group entity devoted to using data.

What are your duties and responsibilities within Safran Analytics?

A.V.: I joined Safran Analytics as a Data Engineer after holding an initial position creating digital services within the Safran Aircraft Engines Fablab. I'm tasked with setting up special platforms intended to store a very large volume of data with a view to then being able to process the data in batches and in real time too. My role is to facilitate the work of the Data Scientist, who is tasked with answering the questions asked by the profession, for example: "What can be done to efficiently calculate the replacement window of landing gears? ».

What training did you undertake to become a Data Engineer?

A.V.: After a "baccalauréat" in science, I went to Télécom Lille, a grande école specialized in training engineers in Science, Information Technology and Communication which runs an intensive 2-year access course to degree programs. After getting my degree, I worked in numerous research laboratories specialized in software engineering – my specialist area – within Alcatel-Lucent, Dassault Systèmes, and then Microsoft.

What qualities are needed to become a Data Engineer?

A.V.: I think the most important quality is to be inquisitive. The domain of new technology is constantly evolving, everything changes very quickly. You need to remain alert so as not to lose touch. Rigor is also a necessary quality for completing assignments correctly, since looking at statistics is one of the main occupations of Data Engineers. Lastly, you need great tenacity and a knack for teaching others: not giving up when a solution to a problem cannot be found the first time round, and knowing how to present possible alternatives to our "customers", by reassuring them about the validity of our approach.

What do you like most about your job?

A.V.: I never get bored! No two days are the same: we are involved in a wide range of varied projects dealing with different areas of expertise of the Group – engines or landing gears - and we are in contact with a large number of stakeholders. What is more, the Safran Analytics team boasts highly complementary profiles, which means we're able to broaden our skills. I personally like the fact that I'm able to use my expertise to work on global issue such as reducing carbon footprint. Indeed, reducing fuel consumption in the aerospace industry is something I feel strongly about, and I'm proud to be able to lend my expertise.

Where do you see yourself in a few years from now?

A.V.: I have evolved quickly within Safran Analytics. By December 2016, I'll be managing five employees. It's a real first for me, and I can't wait to take up the challenge, which I'm sure will help me develop. It's a responsibility I look forward to having over the coming years, to support the developments of Safran Analytics and train Data Engineers capable of taking up the technological and strategic issues of the future.


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Safran is a leading international high-technology group with three core businesses: Aerospace (propulsion and equipment), Defence and Security. Operating worldwide, the Group has 70,000 employees and generated sales of 17.4 billion euros in 2015. Working independently or in partnership, Safran holds world or European leadership positions in its core markets. The Group invests heavily in Research & Development to meet the requirements of changing markets, including expenditures of more than 2 billion euros in 2015. Safran is listed on Euronext Paris and is part of the CAC40 index, as well as the Euro Stoxx 50 European index.

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