"IMDEA Networks has a very supportive environment. My supervisor was there from day one"

Why, what, how and where: an alumnus takes stock of his experience as a predoctoral researcher at IMDEA Networks

01 December 2020

We interview one of the members of our Alumni Network, Dr. Angelos Chatzipapas. He obtained his PhD from IMDEA Networks and Universidad Carlos III de Madrid back in November 2016 and is now working at Lloyds Banking Group, London, United Kingdom.

He is the lead software engineer for his scrum team working in the big data space. He works on ingesting the group’s data from the various bank systems into the big data lake. Chatzipapas curates the data (after it has been ingested) so that consumers can get valuable insights from it. Besides, he designs solutions/algorithms for consuming the data. He is also specialised in real time streaming of the data.

Why did you decide to pursue a PhD?

I didn’t have any idea of what a PhD was, but from my peers I knew that there were some trips involved, so that’s quite interesting, that was the first step. On the other side, I had curiosity about doing something new, something innovative, and basically understand what it’s the existing state-of-the-art, the status quo, and basically go beyond those limits. This is why I selected doing a PhD.

What would you highlight about your time as a PhD student at IMDEA Networks?

There were obviously ups and downs during my PhD. So one of the advantages I would say is that there is a high level of research and there’s ambition to publish in top level conferences and journals, which is a really good thing. It’s a very supporting environment, my supervisor (Vicenzo Mancuso) was there from day one to support all my research and it’s in particular very important when you have like difficult moments and you don’t get the results to get the support you need so that you don’t give up.

Do you feel your time at IMDEA Networks prepared you well for your professional career?

Obviously, it gives you the skills to be result-driven, you do good analysis, you learn a lot of math, the thinking and the writing is more mature. It gives you this innovative mindset to do real innovation, which is a skill of the future I would say.

Have you moved into industry, academia or the research sector?

I’ve moved into the industry, and in particular into financial services. That’s completely different to research, it’s more like applied innovation, where the customer is at the heart of whatever we do. It’s a more delivery-focused environment, with some clear targets that have continuous delivery, while being in research is more like a long-term commitment.