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Meet Our Prodigies: Andrew Parsons

Prodigy Careers Blog

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Meet Andrew Parsons - Data Scientist IV! Andrew joined Prodigy in November 2020. He is responsible for supporting the Math Game Team in building analytics solutions, participating in the development and execution of experimentation around new game feature releases, and extracting actionable insights from how our products are used.

Hey Andrew! What led you to this career?

When I left university I started in finance with hedge fund asset allocation, so very different! At one point I got really excited by the data analytics side, and worked on building out datasets which informed trading strategies. I eventually realized I no longer wanted to be at a place that solely contributes to making the rich even richer. It’s always nice to be at a place where you can see how your work is truly benefitting the end user, so the mission of Prodigy definitely led me in that direction.

What attracted you to working at Prodigy?

I was at a point in my career where I was doing some self-reflection. I had a stable career where I was doing things I was good at, but I didn’t quite like the system I was part of. I knew I had a valuable skill set to offer and knew it could be applied to other spaces. So why not put myself in a position with a company which ties more closely to my beliefs? I’ve always been a huge proponent of education and am involved in lots of continuous learning myself. It’s so important to stay on the cutting edge—especially in a field like data science.

What makes working at Prodigy special?

I was always quite good at math at school so didn’t have a hard time forming a positive association with the more technical subjects, but I know others do. In my case it’s been learning foreign languages, because I’ve never established a positive association with learning those skills. For sure there are adults now who didn’t connect with math when they were kids, but now wish they had. Gamifying and making learning fun is a great way of forming this positive connection. 

What part of your job is most rewarding?

Looking at the data alone can sometimes make it harder to feel the real experience for the kids. You can get lost in the numbers, tables, and scripts and lose that personal touch of how you’re affecting kids. This is why I like to rely on other parts of the business, like the user research side when they bring in interviews with kids and show a really positive reaction. I can see the work that I’ve done has led to these outcomes and you can really feel the positive impact. It’s great to see how kids are enjoying new features. The Puppet Master release we did last Back to School season was a big one that saw a huge impact. More recently we had the launch of Treasure Track, which has helped kids to explore the variety of features Prodigy offers.

What are you most excited about for the future?

I’m excited to see how we are building the product to be competitive with other non-educational games. With the investments in the game content and enhancements in graphical components, we’re now being competitive with games which are not math related. It’s an exciting direction to see kids pick Prodigy over non-educational games.

What advice would you give to someone considering joining Prodigy?

They should do what I did and go through a period of self-reflection to see what kind of system you want to be part of. There are a lot of different industries, but not as many where you can so clearly see how your work is having a net positive impact on improving children’s relationship with math. The mission is a huge part of Prodigy. We also have a variety of top end technology we’re investing in on the data science part. We’re in a field where you have to run at all times to keep up, so it’s great to be at a company that so clearly invests in us.

Interested in joining Andrew at Prodigy? Check out our open positions!