Inside DueDil. Meet Farouk, Data Protection Manager

08 November 2018 Anastasia EfremenkovaPeople

More often than not, we want to have a job with a purpose as this makes us happier, excited about waking up in the morning and more successful. It also helps when your company allows you to work on projects that you take a genuine interest in and can have a real impact on company's success.

I recently sat down with Farouk Umar, who is part of our engineering team here at DueDil and discussed his journey into the spectacular world of tech and some of the exciting projects that he has been working on.

What is your current role and how long have you been at DueDil?  

I’ve been at DueDil for two and a half years and I’m the Data Protection Manager.

How did you get into Tech?

I got into Tech thanks to video games - I was simply fascinated by the ability to control virtual objects and the beauty of the art that came with it. My passion for tech really flared once I learned the inner workings of a lot of it; I grew up near an electronics shop, and when I was younger, the owner would let me use their equipment to fix my gadgets. And that was the ta-dah moment - I was determined to sculpt my own digital creations.

What did you study at University?

I didn’t go straight into tech straight away. I actually started studying Medicine but dropped out after 6 months. Shortly after that, I started my Computer Engineering Degree.

Can you give an overview of your career progression at DueDil so far?

I joined DueDil as a Full Stack Developer and quickly transitioned to Data Engineering.  From there, I became the team lead for the Data team. After that, I moved over to Information Security; I now have a dual role as the Internal Auditor and the Data Protection Manager. I cover a variety of different areas: Data Engineering, Data Protection, Information Security, as in Auditing and Compliance, as well as some data strategy work here and there.

Why do you like engineering?

In my opinion, engineering is synonymous with innovation. The art of engineering, in my view, is bringing together novel or existing techniques and new domains. Innovation is the changing of how an existing problem is solved. Here, at DueDil, we do a lot of that. Check out our engineering blog to see how we approach tackling some interesting challenges.

What’s the most exciting project you’ve completed so far?

The most exciting project that I’ve completed is not very technical - I’ve been writing code for over a decade now. The reason I moved to compliance is that I wanted to learn something new. The most exciting project was related to the company’s preparation for the most recently introduced regulation, GDPR. I had to ensure that the company was ready and compliant with the regulations and be able to support it going forward.

What did you learn from this project?

Interestingly, my expertise before doing this project was around user modeling, predictions, and user analytics. This is useful for when you need to know as much as possible about someone, analyse someone’s behaviour to create a model for them and recommend certain things based on that. On the flip side, working on GDPR made me more conscious about how companies track you, what they know about you, what they can do with that data and how they can profit off the back of it. As a result, I am way more reserved online now.

What are the top three things you like about working at DueDil?

First of all, I like the flexibility that it offers, in terms of career development and the ways in which I produce my work. That’s how you get the most out of people’s creativity! DueDil allows me to do what I am most interested in. I feel empowered to make a difference in various areas of the business whilst gaining more knowledge and experience.

Secondly, it is great to have a flexible working policy that allows you to work from home or work remotely from abroad. Autonomy is also an important aspect to me; DueDil supports people in working as autonomously as possible and encourages everyone to take ownership.

Management is the third aspect I like about DueDil. My former manager is the best manager I’ve ever had! Leo was great in supporting me, providing access to otherwise closed doors, coaching and mentoring. His empathy and work ethic are top-notch.  

Can you tell us something that’s not on your LinkedIn profile?  

I like trekking. Kilimanjaro was the best and the most challenging hike for me.  At the time, it felt like the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life, both mentally and physically.

DueDil is currently hiring for a number of positions across the business – check out our Careers page to find out more.