March 16, 2020
Working on a project that’s pushing boundaries
By: Ebtihal Okok

Ebtihal Okok

By way of introduction I’m an Application Development Advanced Analyst. In other words, I’m a full stack developer who builds applications from A-to-Z. I’m also the Lead Developer for the British Triathlon Federation (BTF) Athlete Genome; Accenture’s innovation project with our partner British Triathlon.

I’ve been working for Accenture in Newcastle for two years now. After completing my BA and Master’s degree I was aiming high when it came to my career, and given Accenture’s great reputation, I applied for a software engineering role, got accepted and I’m so glad I did!

I started-out as a backend developer on BTF Athlete Genome project back in October 2018 (which was pretty much at the beginning). To be honest, I didn’t have much knowledge of the technology we were using, everything was almost new to me, which resulted in a lot of self-learning. I do remember lots of early mornings and late nights spent getting up-to-speed, but I was lucky to have a supportive team on the project, who helped me and answered my “endless questions”!

Once the backend was finished, I moved to work on the frontend of the application, and once the first release was live everybody on the team rolled-off, but I stayed to manage the maintenance of the App - so you could say at that point, I was the last one standing.

To give you a bit more background, we now have over 150 BTF athletes using the Athlete Genome. It’s an online application that measures an athlete’s training performance against their psychological data. Once an athlete has finished a workout, they record an audio message to say how they felt the session went. We then take that audio and, using machine learning, we analyse the sentiment within it. We then create a hyper-personalised view of the impact of cognitive state on performance, giving the athletes and their coaches the ability to make insightful decisions based on this interaction.

We built the Athlete Genome using a number of cutting-edge technologies including different AWS (Amazon Web Services) serverless services, SciKit-Learn Machine Learning, ReactJs, IBM Watson, Python, Node.js, and others. So far, we’ve launched two releases of the application and are currently working on the third release, where we are collaborating with a top sports phycologist to enhance the sentiment analysis and, Machine Learning to give more meaningful outputs for the athletes, their coaches and their sport phycologists to better understand the interaction between performance and their cognitive state.

To be honest, I feel so lucky to be part of such a remarkable project, which is the first of its kind and has not been done anywhere else before. I’ve been exposed to the full development life-cycle, we’ve won “Project of The Year” award at the Dynamo Awards and, the project was selected by our CEO, Julie Sweet, as one of six projects from across the globe to showcase our inspiring work that’s pushing the boundaries. It’s also my first time working with AWS and I’ve realised just how much I love working with this so, I’ve gained the ‘AWS Cloud Practitioner’ certification and I’m planning to go for the ‘Solution Architecture Associate’ certification soon.

Ebithal Okok and team at dinner

I’ve also enjoyed working in an Agile way and adopting our new FORM methodology by using design thinking to come up with the application we have live today. This process included all stakeholders: an Accenture MD (who is the project sponsor), the product owner, we the developers, UX and UI designers (including designers from our Liquid Studio and Fjord), as well as one of the British Triathletes and BTF coaches. We spent a week working in one room together and came up with the newly designed ‘Athlete Genome’. It was true teamwork. The layout of the Athlete Genome completely changed in the second release and is now much more user-friendly. Now that it’s live, we’re getting great feedback from our users.

Ebithal Okok and team in design thinking session

Away from work I enjoy creative designs (especially Interior Design and Fashion Design) I even owned a fashion boutique in the past. When I get the time (considering I have 3 kids!) design is my hobby, so I enjoy that my work in technology has that creative slant.

So yes, I’m a working mum and I won’t lie and say it’s easy because when I finish my work, I have another job with the children – cooking, homework etc. It’s challenging but I always like challenges! Also, as there is lots of flexibility within Accenture, I can work from home sometimes and attend appointments or sort kid’s stuff when I need to.

I took my children to the last Accenture ‘Bring Your Child to Work Day’ here in Newcastle and as they are different age groups, the younger ones played with robots and had some Scratch programming sessions which they enjoyed so much, while the older one joined a design thinking session, where they were tasked with finding a solution for an environmental problem and prototyping it - he enjoyed that a lot as well!

All in all, I’m really happy here at Accenture. I’m working toward my next AWS certifications (which Accenture are supporting me with), and I want to develop further in the cloud native area. I’m really looking forward to progressing my career here in the future.

Ebithal Okok on holiday

Could you deliver the technology of the future? We have exciting opportunities for talented technologists like Ebtihal at our Advanced Technology Centre and are recruiting in Newcastle, Scotland, Manchester, Leeds and Warwick. Find out more here.

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