Data Science

Why I joined Asana: Rishika Dhody, Data Scientist

Welcome to our monthly series, “Why I joined Asana”! Every month, we talk to Asanas across our teams and offices—from Dublin to Sydney—to get to know the people inside the company and learn why they chose to work here.

Rishika Dhody is a Data Scientist in our San Francisco office. As part of the data team, she works closely with our product, customer success, and sales teams and is instrumental in architecting and building our data infrastructure. 

At Asana, we rely on data to inform us on the impact we’re having on our customers. By understanding our company’s goals and proactively informing a direction with data, our product can help more teams do great things. Read more about Rishika and her journey to joining #teamasana.

How did you become interested in working at Asana? 

I initially became interested in Asana because it sparked my academic curiosity as a company dedicated to helping people work together effortlessly. During the interview process, I spoke to a lot of unassuming, considerate, and enthusiastic Asanas. I found that this group of people were all working together towards achieving a common and clear goal. This met my personal needs, which was to experience growth amongst a motivated team, and immediately piqued my interest in working at Asana.

What team are you currently on and what are some of the most interesting aspects of your role? 

As a data scientist on the data team, I partner with the product teams and help them gather, query, and interpret data to address customer needs and explore possible solutions. This involves working closely with user experience researchers, product managers, and engineers

The synergy between these three roles is one of the more interesting aspects of my role. Most decisions are born from a mix of a vision, some intuition, some data insight, and resource limits. Understanding and contributing to optimizing this synergy between teams is an ongoing process, which helps me grow both as a data scientist and as an effective teammate. 

What are you most excited for as you grow in your role at Asana? 

At Asana every data scientist gets the opportunity to work with different teams. At the beginning of every sprint we go through the top goals, priorities, and accomplishments of each data scientist. This exercise is so motivating because it exposes the various approaches and questions that data can help with. 

I also get excited about the diversity of opportunities available to me as a data scientist at Asana, allowing me to move towards my personal goal of understanding bias and motivation, while contributing to achieving the larger company mission. With every data scientist working with a different team, and bringing their unique perspectives and skill sets to the table, there are so many avenues from which this complex topic can be explored. 

What’s it like to use Asana the product everyday? 

Asana as a product has become my key to truly focusing everyday. It provides me with an overview of my work, helps me communicate with more clarity, and makes me feel engaged with the teams that I belong to.

Using the product everyday has also served as a daily demonstration of Asanas building a healthy work environment together. Most of our projects are public for everyone at the company to see. We encourage “likes” and comments to engage with one another on work, we hold each other accountable with due dates, and finally, we feel the joy of completing tasks at the end of the day. These seemingly small habits of accountability, appreciation, and diligence have contributed to my confidence in both the company and the product.

What was your journey to becoming a data scientist?

On completing my bachelors, I started my career as an application developer. I chose to work at an investment bank because I enjoyed economics. In time I realized that being an application developer might not allow for the balance of technical know-how and business context that I would find optimal. This led me to go back to college to get my masters degree. I developed a keen curiosity in behavioral economics and realized the importance of experiments and data. The desire to understand cognitive biases and human behavior in an industry setting led me to move from New York City to San Francisco and becoming a data scientist at Asana.

What principle or value have you carried with you throughout your career?

“Change is the only constant” has been a guiding principle in my life thus far. I recall hearing it first from one of my teachers in high school. Honestly, I am still a student of this principle. But the times that I do follow it, I deeply appreciate my present, try to learn as much as I can in the moment, and find it natural to let go when the moment of change arrives. 

This principle helped me accept that I might not stay in my first career forever, transition to being a part-time masters student with a full-time job, and more recently, make the decision to leave NYC. When I embrace change, I find my experiences to be more fulfilling. 

If you could give someone new to Asana one piece of advice, what would it be?

Be furiously curious! Despite a lifetime of learning, I somehow felt like I should know everything on my first day at Asana. This expectation was daunting and in my case was detrimental to learning. When I asked for help, one of the first pieces of advice I got was to ask questions, and boy, has that advice paid off.

Whether it was in the form of attending user research sessions, participating in a random 1:1 meeting at work, or responding to a conflicting viewpoint, curiosity has always helped me despite my fears. In general, there is so much that I can learn by inviting others to share their experiences and viewpoints with me, which I would miss out on if I was only focused on appearing knowledgeable. 

So, my advice to any new Asana would be to gain a better perspective in almost every situation by employing a lot of curiosity. 

Come work with Rishika and the rest of the data science team in San Francisco, New York, and Vancouver. We’re looking for curious  passionate teammates to help us grow. Check out all our open roles! 

Special thanks to Rishika Dhody

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