Tyler Heist joined our team in April as a Senior Data Engineer, working with Joyn’s complex structured and unstructured data, which is critical to helping Joyn build a strong, scalable foundation as our business grows. As a company which uses a wealth of data to enhance the insurance experience, Tyler develops data models and fast, reliable ELT processes (used in data integration). They also partner with Joyn’s team of data scientists and software engineers to solve unique business challenges.
While Tyler’s background is in healthcare and microscopy data, they have a passion for data quality, reproducible research, scientific communication, and finding novel solutions to real-world problems using machine learning—all of which are important to Joyn’s success. Tyler earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Computer Science from the University of Richmond and a Ph.D. in Quantitative and Computational Biology from Princeton University.
What excites you about Joyn and how is Joyn different from other companies you’ve worked for?
There are a lot of companies that talk about data but Joyn truly has a data-first mindset—everyone in the company realizes and understands that a majority of the added value Joyn can provide to the insurance experience relies on correct, high-quality data that could be actioned upon. Also, having worked in other startup environments, I really appreciate that everyone in Joyn, regardless of the department they may be in, is very willing to assist or collaborate on almost anything. It is a true team effort across the enterprise.
The data industry is always changing, so how do you stay on the cutting edge of what’s required to do your job?
I follow the big players in the data engineering and data science space on social media and try to stay appraised of any new projects or products that might be worth exploring. I also pursue small personal side projects to try out new libraries or tools in the realm of data and software engineering, which puts more resources in my toolbox that I can use. A good example of this is I’ve recently been doing some toy projects while learning Rust.
Tell us about yourself outside of work—where can we find you and what motivates you?
I am always seeking the opportunity to learn interesting things and apply them in unique and novel ways to overcome some hurdle. I’m not satisfied until I understand something from its first principles; I’m most at ease when I understand all the processes, components, assumptions, and their relationships that make up the bigger picture.
I also enjoy consuming media of all kinds, whether it’s TV, movies, music, or YouTube, and I’m trying to get back into the habit of reading more. And I’m excellent at starting small hobbies or projects, learning a lot about them, and then leaving them half-finished before I move onto a new challenge.