How Neha became Data Scientist at Applied Materials

In the third episode of Weekly Success Stories, we feature Neha Kaushal, Data Scientist, Applied Materials India. In this interview, Neha shares her Data Science transition story, interview experience, and gives a word of advice for budding Data Scientists. 

Neha holds a postgraduate degree in chemical engineering from IIT Kharagpur and has worked as an Application Development Engineer in the past. Fascinated by Data Science and its applications, Neha decided to transition to a Data Scientist role in the semiconductor industry. 

Looking for a structured learning environment, Neha joined INSAID’s Global Certificate in Data Science & AI program in April 2020. Soon after completing her education with INSAID, she successfully transitioned to a Data Scientist role. At INSAID, Neha was also selected among the top 10 budding Data Science leaders

Read the excerpts from the interview below. 

Tell Us About Your Current Role and Background

Presently, I’m working as a Data Scientist with Applied Materials India. I work on improving the performance of semiconductor processing tools, which helps us to bring down the cost of integrated chips, and ultimately, make gadgets accessible for everyone. So, that’s what I do right now. And I am really excited to work on the Data Science skills that I have learned and use them for this purpose. 

In the past too, I was working in the semiconductor conductor industry, but for different roles. I was working as an Applications Engineer for about three years and then I made my mind to switch to a Data Scientist role in this field itself. 

Why Data Science?

When I was studying Data Science and the skills used in Data Science, I found people from various industries are working in Data Science, like sports, weather, climate, and agriculture to name a few. There are so many projects going on in Data Science, and that’s what excited me. 

I wanted to know how Data Science is used in my field, and what I can learn to transition to Data Science. That’s when I decided that I will move to a Data Science role within my own industry.  

Why Did You Join INSAID Data Science Program?

So, initially, I started researching and learning on my own. There were various materials available online, and I was trying to learn from them. But I was not able to follow a complete series and feel confident in any one part of Machine Learning or Data Science skill or any tool. And that’s what I liked about INSAID. 

They have a very organized and structured curriculum. So, it helped me to dive deep and learn all the algorithms and concepts deeply. 

I was able to work on my projects easily and complete the projects that were pending for too long. 

What Was the Selection Process at Your Company?

The selection process at Applied Materials was similar to other companies. The first step was resume screening followed by an interview call. I remember I got the interview call after a month of applying to that company. 

In the interview call, there were two technical rounds, in which I was asked questions on domain knowledge as well as Data Science tools and Machine Learning Algorithms. And then the third round was the HR round. So, after these four rounds in total, I got the selection confirmation call. 

What Data Science Interview Questions Were You Asked?

There were interview questions on domain knowledge, Data Science tools and projects, and current trends in the domain that I was working in. 

The very first question was which programming language I am comfortable in for writing scripts, and then there were some on-the-spot quiz questions to evaluate whether I’m at beginner, intermediate or advanced level in programming languages. So I told Python and then there were questions related to it. Then I was asked questions on Machine Learning Algorithms like what is random forest is, how it works, what is deep learning, and how it is being used in the semiconductor industry.  

Then there were questions about domain knowledge such as the processing of steps in the semiconductor industry. At last, I was asked questions on current trends, how my existing knowledge and skills can be used in the semiconductor industry, and how that can bring a change. 

How Did INSAID Data Science Program Help You?

INSAID’s program, as I said, is very structured and organized and that’s what I like the most about it. The program is divided semester-wise. So, after each semester, I was able to see what I have learned and complete the project on time. This helped me create my own simplified notes, which further helped me to prepare for interviews.

Another important thing was the resume-building workshop. It helped me to remove all the junk words from my resume and add keywords that actually help in passing through the resume screening process. 

And the third factor is the faculty. So, I have always felt encouraged by the faculty to apply for jobs. They have also helped to study and prepare for the interviews.

What Advice Would You Give to Data Science Beginners?

I would say it could be a little overwhelming in the beginning, because there is a lot to focus on, but we should not give up.  The most important thing is to be consistent, that is, practice a lot. With practice, you will be able to do a lot of good projects. And if you prepare those well, it will be very easy to crack any job or in fact, go into any other field. 

Another important thing that has helped me to apply for jobs is, first to go for the industry you have acquired experience in. This can help you get a job. So, first, go for the industry and then look for the job role, such as Data Scientist, Data Engineer, Machine Learning Engineer, or Data Analyst. 

Hope you found this article useful. If you have any Data Science related questions, feel free to comment below. We will get back to you.

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