Matej Kovačič


1. Would you please shortly describe your previous career experiences as well as your current job position and your typical day at work?

As an undergraduate student I occasionally worked for marketing-research agencies. After obtaining my undergraduate diploma, I got a position as a young researcher at the Faculty of social Sciences. After concluding my doctoral thesis, I worked as a researcher at Public opinion and mass communication research centre. I was involved in various projects, like RIS (Research of Internet in Slovenia), Safe.si (Slovenian safer internet awareness node), Spletno oko (Hotline for reporting hate speech and child sexual abuse images on the internet). I was also a teaching assistant and later lecturer for various courses at Faculty of Social sciences. Then, I left the academic sector, and got a job at Commission for the prevention of corruption, where I worked as the head of Unit of analytics, intelligence, and information security.
 
Two years ago, I changed jobs and now I work at Jozef Stefan Institute, which is the largest research organisation in Slovenia.
 
I am working on several big data analysis and artificial intelligence projects. Our group would like to bring these methods, especially AI methods of text processing and analysis into the field of open data.
Therefore we are developing tools for anonymizing court decisions, automatic tagging and classification of documents, etc.
 
I am also working in the field of information security. I am particualy interested in mobile security and cryptography. I did some research on mobile network security in Slovenia a few years ago and now I am developing a sensor for monitoring GSM networks.

2. What was the main reason for you to enrol in the study programme of Social Informatics?

Social Informatics is a nice mix of social and natural sciences. Mostly, I was attracted by the interesting programme that integrates sociology, communication sciences, statistics and mathematics. In fact, I discovered during my studies that Statistics can be really appealing.

3. What would you say it is its advantage in comparison to other study programmes?

The study programme of Social informatics gives the social scientist an opportunity to look into more technical sciences (statistics, informatics).  And precisely this more mathematic-technical part of the study programme adds to a different, logic approach to thinking. On the other hand, the more natural science oriented student attains the knowledge with which one is able to see the statistical analytical processes in society through the eyes of a social scientist. Both aspects are covered, integrated and complemented which I believe is the biggest advantage of this study programme. 

4. What could be better, is there anything to add, any shortcomings?

Mainly, I missed more informatics-related knowledge. Some of those, which we have not covered during the studies, I had to learn later on my own. Speaking in concrete terms, I wish I had attained more knowledge about databases, Linux administration and information security. Also, some more sociological theory and low courses could have been useful.

5. What would you say to the perspective students – when to enter the study of Social Informatics and when not?

If prospective students cannot decide for either social or natural sciences, I would definitely recommend thinking about Social Informatics. Unfortunately, my experience shows that lately students are not encouraged enough to pursue an in-depth study and too often they can get away with a superficial approach of studying. Being a student, this might look fine, but later in life one realises that those study years were the years to attain as much knowledge as possible. As Social Informatics study programme usually have smaller number of students, this can be an opportunity to have a better approach to teachers, ask for additional explanations.  Thus, it is wise to study as much as possible during the study years as this is the best investment for our future.
Back to list of notificationsPublished: 18. April 2016 | Category: Careers