In this INSAID Spotlight interview, we feature Arjun Saran Das, a Project Manager at HSBC Ltd. His insatiable quest for knowledge and upskilling led him to enroll in the Global Certificate in Data Science program at INSAID.
Question 1: Which program & batch are you a part of at INSAID & tell us more about your current work profile?
Arjun: I am a part of the Global Certificate in Data Science program, June 2021 batch. Currently, I am working as a Project Manager at HSBC on a regulatory program to deliver system capabilities, business requirements towards pricing foreign currency loans for wholesale banking clients.
Question 2: Walk us through your career journey & what got you interested in Data Science & Machine Learning?
Arjun: I have been working in the Banking and Financial Services Industry for the past fourteen years with HSBC. During my stint, I have been in frontline sales, risk and control management, strategy, and more recently, project management as my current role.
About my interest in Data Science, we have been hearing these buzz words of Data Science and Machine Learning for a few years now, and I have always been intrigued in finding out what the big deal was, behind these terms. Some great minds even call this the ‘sexiest job of the century.’
When I did some self-research, I found out the enormous extent to which such terms or methodologies can go a long way in helping reduce manual work, detecting fraudulent transactions, traffic predictions, e-mail spam filtering, and so on & so forth. At my workplace, I will be keen to leverage the concepts I have learned at INSAID to make a good mark to further enhance my career.
Question 3: What tools and packages in Data Science & Machine Learning have you mastered at INSAID so far?
Arjun: I have majorly worked on the coding language of Python and its various packages like Numpy and Pandas for data processing, numerical analysis and calculations, Matplotlib and Seaborn for Data Visualization, and finally, Sci-kit for Machine Learning and its modeling.
I’m yet to explore other coding languages such as R or SAS, and other tools such as Tableau and Power BI. I have worked on two major environments of Jupyter and Google Collab.
Question 4: What challenges did you face when you started your Data Science journey and how did you overcome it?
Arjun: I am from a non-technical background and had no clue where to start my new career in Data Analytics,
INSAID helped me to learn from basic terms of Analytics to building my own project.
Question 5: Who is your favorite faculty at INSAID and what did you learn from them?
Arjun: I have only been taught by 2 faculty members eg. Deepesh Wadhwani for Terms 1 to 3 and Abhinav Kumar for Term 4 at present. Both have different styles of teaching which are effective in their own way and are more than willing to solve doubts which makes our work as students a lot easier.
A common theme emerged from their teaching methods, which is to provide sufficient time for all of us, mostly newcomers to Data Science, to absorb the concept of Data Science and then ask our questions and to provide practical examples from their respective careers.
Question 6: What is the goal of Data Science?
Arjun: The goal of Data Science is to analyze various problems in society, business, and the corporate world, in fact, in all walks of life, and try to come up with automated solutions to help humanity.
Question 7: How has Data Science evolved in the last few years?
Arjun: In my view, the word that best describes the evolution of Data Science is ‘disruptive’.
The nucleus of Data Science, viz. Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), and Deep Learning (DL) have become so attractive that it has got everyone thinking and curious.
From getting recommendations on Netflix to estimating distance and time taken to reach your destination via the Uber app, Data Science is all around us. There are more than 50% Data Science and Machine Learning-related job vacancies that have been present in the market right now.
This only shows the importance this field drives across sectors and industries and this is certainly here to stay for the next decade with even further disruptions. Very often we are asked whether we are sure of what area we want to be working in – for all the youngsters out there who have a flair for Computer Science and Statistics, Data Science is the most appropriate field for you.
Question 8: What current trends in Data Science are you most excited about?
Arjun: There are a lot of interesting things happening around Data Science, Machine Learning, and AI. One key stand-out is definitely the current trends seen in analyzing the COVID situation where past data is critical to assess where the virus or its variants are headed and which age groups could get infected. Given that I am from the BFSI industry, another remarkable area is the early fraud detections when it comes to monitoring transactions or tracking loan positions about possible defaults by customers.
It is certainly not an easy task for anyone or any Data Scientist to handle a high degree of varied data, but then given the tools and applications at one’s disposal, interpreting the data becomes all the more exciting in terms of developing the required metrics and figuring out the most appropriate output.
Question 9: Which Data Science blogs do you follow?
Arjun: There are no blogs I follow, about Data Science, but I ensure going through the valuable links shared by the INSAID team. Besides, I look up several videos and tutorials on YouTube to keep myself abreast of the latest developments in this field.
Question 10: What advice would you give to a beginner in Data Science?
Arjun: I would like to provide the following advice to anyone who is wanting to start a career in Data Science. These are as follows:
- Firstly, understand if it is truly your passion – It is important to do some research about Data Science and its coverage. You need to enjoy toying around with Data and to be able to interpret it wisely. Not everyone likes doing this!
- Secondly, ensure you are abreast of the fact that this path of Data Science is not going to be a ‘bed of roses’ and that you will need to work hard to grasp key aspects. You will need to dedicate months to learn concepts and critically, practice them. Besides, it doesn’t stop there – you will need to take out time to read up blogs and videos on the internet to be aware of the latest trends.
The classes at INSAID are brilliant, but your self-study is going to be more valuable, and the faster you accept this, the better it is for you. If Data Science is totally new to you like it is for me, it is best to have guidance in the form of online classes at INSAID.
Hope you enjoyed reading this interview. If you want to read more such interesting student stories, check out INSAID Spotlight.