Presenting to you the INSAID Spotlight Budding Data Science Leader interview series. This is a series of interviews of budding data science leaders, enrolled with INSAID in different courses. These students coming from diverse backgrounds and even different fields, have rich experience in their own domains. They have interesting views to share with the world, their experience in the industry, what brought them to the field of data science and many other such interesting aspects. These interviews will enrich the readers about the insights, trends and many other related points.
In a recent conversation, we spoke to Avinash Patel who is enrolled in the GCD program at INSAID.
Current Organisation: Accenture
Total Experience: 7.5 years
Batch: Global Certificate in Data Science (GCD) November 2018
Goal: To work towards automation and reduce manual work
Ankita: Avinash, if you could walk me through your career journey, what has been your educational background and the projects that you’ve worked on?
Avinash: Sure. I have completed my Bachelor of Engineering in Computer Science in 2011. After that, I joined a company that was an electronics based company. There I worked as a software developer, using Microsoft.NET. Right now, I am having 7.5 years of experience working in the .NET development. I have been working in the different domains like Banking, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Oil and Gas etc. Currently, I’m into cloud automation and working as a Senior Software Engineer in Accenture.
Ankita: Okay. What all tools and packages in data science and machine learning have you mastered so far?
Avinash: Right now, I have completed the basics of Python, Numpy and Panda, developing Exploratory Data Analysis (EDA). I have also worked on the algorithms like Logistic Regression, Linear Regression and Decision Tree. I have also worked on the dashboard using the Tableau and just started the advanced machine learning.
Ankita: Is there any favorite machine learning algorithm of yours and why?
Avinash: Logistic Regression algorithm is my pick. I’m studying it since my college days. But implemented it during one of the ongoing processes in my class. Decision Tree algorithm is also my choice.
Ankita: Were there any initial challenges that you faced when you entered the field of data science? If yes, how did you overcome them?
Avinash: There were not many initial challenges because I am from an IT background and have been practicing Python since the very beginning. I am well aware of all the programming rules and nuances of it. Some problem started when I was implementing the visual analysis, when I was doing the EDA. In my first term project, I was not aware how to present it. To solve this issue, I decided to work on the things which I know first; the reason being, in this field of data science, no one will give me their problem statement as this will be like spoon feeding. For this, I would have to build a question and a story, which was a little tricky. I resolved this situation and took IPL as my dataset to build questions and come up with a story. This choice was easy as I am a sports freak with great affinity for cricket. Hence, I implemented this dataset in my first term project. Once I completed my project, thereafter it was easy for me to take the data and analyze the things.
Ankita: How has the data science evolved over the last few years? What are the current trends in the data science that you are most excited about?
Avinash: Whether it is the regular emails we get regarding some kind of automation to be done; my current project in which I am developing an application for cloud automation or my other projects in the oil and gas sectors, there is a lot of clerical work to be done. I am interested in getting all the working automated, with the implementation of machine learning algorithms.
Next, it comes to my mind how wonderful it will be to have a self driving car. I am definitely following the developments that are being done in these two fields- automating clerical works and building a self driving car.
Ankita: Are there any current trends in data science and artificial intelligence that you see becoming very big in the coming years?
Avinash: As I told you, self-drive car would be one of the trends that will become very big in the future; will actually be a reality then. I am in Bangalore so, the daily commute to and fro office is a time taking exercise. A self driving car with artificial intelligence on the road would be a great thing to have in this case.
Ankita: Yes, this is one of the most practical applications of artificial intelligence. So, are there any top data science and AI influencers that you follow?
Avinash: I follow Andrew Ng and read the thoughts about the field he shared. In one of the sessions at INSAID, I also had a chance to interact with Dr. Kirk Borne. He also shared some great insights. Shailesh Kumar, the Chief Data Scientist at Jio is also my choice. I also watch their videos on YouTube.
Ankita: So, you told about Andrew Ng, Dr. Kirk Borne and Shailesh Kumar. Do you also check their Twitter handle for the posts they share, apart from their YouTube channel?
Avinash: Not really active on Twitter; just occasionally. I prefer watching the content they share on their YouTube channel.
Ankita: Okay. At INSAID, students are encouraged to maintain high quality GitHub profiles. Have you also built a GitHub profile? How do you think this will help you?
Avinash: Actually, I have just started building my GitHub portfolio. Whatever time I can take out from my busy professional life, I definitely utilize it in this direction. Building this profile will surely be helpful as sharing your work links will be much easier then.
Ankita: Avinash, my next question to you is- Crafting a great data science resume is a critical part of getting shortlisted for data science roles. Tell us some ways in which you have improved your resume as a part of Data Science Career LaunchPad.
Avinash: Together with the resume, LinkedIn and GitHub profiles were also improved and this was indeed a great thing. There was an internal interview at Accenture, the previous day and due to my LinkedIn, Tableau and GitHub links, the interview was good. The interviewers could actually see all my previous work. When I started preparing my LinkedIn profile, based on the guidance from INSAID, I started getting notifications that the recruiters hiring in data science and machine learning field are visiting my profile. My concise resume also speaks volume of my work and projects.
Ankita: My next question- INSAID’s mission is to groom data leaders of tomorrow; what do you understand by data leaders? And how are they different from data scientists?
Avinash: Data scientists analyze the data and create the models. Data leaders are involved in the planning of the projects, building some analytic systems and is involved in the end to end process that starts from data collection. They will also be managing a team of data scientists.
Ankita: Yes, that is a correct definition and differentiation. Data leader is concerned with the bigger picture and data scientist will work on the actionable points; a limited scope of work as compared to a data leader.
Avinash: Yes. Correct.
Ankita: Avinash, although you have told about the self-drive cars and other applications, I will still be interested in knowing about any industry specific application of data science and machine learning that might have been of interest to you, which you see as useful.
Avinash: Actually, as I told that I am working for a cloud automation team here in Accenture. Couple of weeks ago, I was discussing with one of my assistant managers regarding an orchestrator workflow, to provision and decommission the servers. It also has some drawbacks if multiple works are processed. It gets stuck and the complete process has to be revisited. We discussed to capture the data that will help us recognize the errors and reduce them. Also, we discussed how to automate the complete workflow.
Ankita: What will be your advice to anyone who wants to start a career in data science and who is actually a fresher in this field?
Avinash: Data science is definitely here to stay and is one of the most rewarding career choices. Take the right path and stay updated to make the most of this field. You have to build your own standing and create your own way to achieve success.
Ankita: I would now want you to share your experience you had with INSAID so far. Anything that you wish to say about the course, about us or anything else.
Avinash: Just going through the videos, right before the start of the course won’t be of much help; a structured format will help. INSAID has provided this to us. We started with a language- Python and also did statistics. Post that, we took up visualization, followed by machine learning basics and Tableau. There was a clear picture on what has to be done and in what particular time. So that was the first point that I would give a credit to INSAID. The classes are also very interactive. Our questions and queries have been answered in real-time of posting them. INSAID people also helped us in preparing our profiles through Career LaunchPad. So I’m totally happy with whatever we have got till date. INSAID’s structured curriculum and interactive classes have made data science within reach.
Ankita: Thank you for such nice words and a generous feedback. We at INSAID will surely ensure that you have a smooth sailing study experience with us. So, this brings us to the end of the interview. Thanks a lot for your time, Avinash.
Avinash: Thank you. Bye!!