Speaker Spotlight: ‘Unlocking the Secrets of Fish Behaviour using Python’ with Zac Nash

Python can be used for Robotics, although it is rarely the first choice. When combined with ROS (Robotics Operating System), vehicles can be designed and developed to solve some of our biggest questions. In his talk at Brighton Py‘s February meetup, Zac Nash (Data Science Consultant at Datacove) covered how you can design vehicles, of all types, land, air or sea, and develop the code to make them work in Python!

We caught up with Zac following the event to find out a bit more about him, his career, takeaways from his talk, and tech predictions, so read on. You can also watch his talk on our YouTube channel here.

Can you tell us a bit about you and the work that you do…

I am a Data Science Consultant at Datacove. I work on helping businesses, of all types, get smarter with their data. Innovation and creativity can be boosted and fortified by a foundation of data-driven decisions, having more free time by automating procedures and knowing your customer better with data-backed insights. At Datacove, I help customers spend time on what they want to be doing, rather than what they have to be doing.

What was the inspiration for your recent talk?

Before Datacove, I was a PhD researcher working on Robotics. The inspiration for the talk was to prove that Python can be found in the strangest of places, doing the most interesting of tasks.

Any key highlights / takeaways for anyone who missed it?

My takeaways from my talk are:

  • Passion and willingness to learn can be more important than background. There is power in learning on the go and you shouldn’t underestimate your ability to adapt.
  • Doing things yourself gives you control over the outcomes, it might be easier and quicker to buy what you need, but it can be safer and more productive to build what you need.

Did you come up through a “traditional” techie route or has your career taken twists and turns along the way?

I certainly came through a techie route, but not a traditional Data Science Route. I studied traditional Computer Science, then went into Marine Robotics, then went into Data Science.

Is there a moment that helped define your career?

I think for me, during my PhD I knew how to code in Python, but the project required knowledge in Robotics, in Electronic Engineering and in marine vehicles. I had none of those things. For me, I proved to myself that I am able to take on challenges, and when you take things slowly and safely, you can achieve things you couldn’t imagine yourself achieving. I think proving how adaptable you can be has helped me manage stress much later in my career, because you have to be able to trust yourself to take your time and take on the challenge. If you change your mindset from a stressful, “I don’t know how to do that!”, to an excited, “I get to learn something new and it can be a tool for me for the rest of my career”, it is a powerful thing.

What piece of advice would you give your younger self?

This sort of piggybacks from what I wrote in the previous section, but the stress of imposter syndrome goes away with experience. If you are new to something, that is okay, and you will learn as you go. There will be many mistakes along the way, but that isn’t a bad thing. The tech world is constantly being updated and innovated, nobody in this business knows everything, and that’s okay! What makes someone good as a programmer, or data scientist or roboticist or anything in tech, is the ability to face a new challenge, and break it down. Our job is to solve problems, so get comfortable facing them!

What’s your big tech prediction for 2023?

ChatGPT will start a Bing vs Google war, and may even result in a massive change in market share for search engines. It may even change the way search engines are monetised forever.

Silicon Brighton wouldn’t be here without people like you giving back to the community so… what does the word community mean to you?

I think Silicon Brighton proves how much community means. I have been to Brighton once before. I live on the other side of the country, but the community you have built is so fantastic I want to be as involved as I can be!


Missed Zac’s talk or want to watch it again? Check it out here…