Starting off her career with business roles, Pritha Saha performed multiple responsibilities in diverse roles that included extensive use of data. This made her realize her knack for it. So, to know more about data science and machine learning and incorporate it further in her career, she decided to go for a formal data science and machine learning course and, enrolled for the Global Certificate in Data Science & AI (GCDAI) program at INSAID.
In this interview, let’s see what interests her about data science the most and how has her learning experience been at INSAID.
Question 1: Which program & batch are you part of at INSAID & tell us more about your current work profile?
Pritha: I am part of the Global Certificate in Data Science & AI (GCDAI) program at INSAID. Presently I’m working as Senior Data Analyst at mCaffeine. It is a startup in the personal skincare space. My responsibilities include generating business Insights, which will help us in growth pertaining to certain verticals like customer retention, marketing, and product strategy. Apart from generating insights, I’m also leading data automation practices aimed at reducing the amount of manual work which goes into generating everyday reports and data gathering.
Question 2: Walk us through your career journey & what got you interested in Data Science & Machine Learning?
Pritha: After completing my Btech in computer science, I went ahead and did my MBA. Post MBA, I got into various business roles like sales, key account management, brand solutions, etc.
But in one particular stint in a startup, I actually wore many hats. I did a bit of category management, some part of product management, and also built some analytics practices. It was there that I discovered my penchant for data. And I really wanted to further my career in the same field.
A few months down the line, I also came to know about INSAID and I enrolled myself got its data science and machine learning course, because I thought that it would be great to know machine learning techniques in any organization. I think the ability to predict what has to happen is a great asset.
I am extremely thankful to INSAID and its way of teaching because it really helped me mold my thinking in a more data oriented fashion. And it is because of this entire journey that I am now in a very data centric role.
Question 3: What were some of the initial challenges when you got started on your Data Science journey and how did you overcome it?
Pritha: During the initial days of my data science and machine learning course, I faced the challenge of not knowing what resource to follow, what blogs to follow, because there are thousands of videos out there. It’s very difficult for a beginner to understand how to go about it.
And the second challenge was time management because I was already in an active job. And I think I needed to be really determined to allot time every day, so that the learning is consistent.
I overcame the first challenge by actually going to INSAID because INSAID followed a very structured approach. It has good faculty. So I think that really helped me as a beginner.
And, as far as time management is concerned, I think it only required determination and consistency through which I allotted time for daily study and practice, and mastered the subject.
Question 4: Who is your favorite faculty at INSAID and what did you learn from him the Most?
Pritha: So far, Deepesh has been my favorite faculty at INSAID. And I think the most important takeaway from his teaching is that any complex subject can actually be broken down into smaller modules and can be understood easily.
I think he has been the only faculty so far who has taught using pen and paper. And the way he used to teach, pick up analogies to explain very complex theories, makes me believe that there is nothing as a difficult subject. Deepesh is a teacher who can even make rocket science look like a very lucid subject to follow.
Question 5: What is the goal of Data Science?
Pritha: The primary goal of data science is to enable a data oriented thinking approach towards growing our business vertical or a function. It basically equips us with the right approach and tools to analyze data and predict future trends. So, in summary, the goal of data science is to help us in our decision making process backed with a solid foundation of data.
Question 6: Which are some of the blogs that you follow?
Pritha: I tend to follow a lot of blogs on Medium. Whenever I have doubts about a topic, I actually type it out in Google and I get recommendations. Based on Medium articles, I have also taken up an affiliate account so that I don’t miss out on things when I exhaust my free membership. It’s a great source for data science blogs. Twitter is also a good source to get to know current industry trends and get links to more learning material or videos.
Question 7: What is your advice to anyone wanting to start a career in Data Science?
Pritha: I feel that data science has become a much publicized buzzword these days. And it seems that everybody wants to start a career in data science. But I would advise any beginner to first assess professional needs before jumping into a data science and machine learning course.
In a data science and machine learning course, skill for coding is a necessity. But if you are in a field want to pursue your career in an industry that does not have much data science applications at the moment, then learning the subject will not be of much use.
So, if anyone has a vision of how data science can actually change the way you work in the organization then you can go for a formal data science and machine learning course. And for any beginner, my first advice would be to understand the business needs, the professional needs, and at least have a vision of how data science can shape up your professional goals.
The second step after that would be to understand what all tools or technologies you need to know to propel your career in that direction. And thirdly, I would say that do not follow random articles or videos on YouTube, they can very easily derail your learning journey. It is very important to learn this in a very structured way, understand the logic behind the algorithms and some of the basic mathematical concepts.
And, if you are very serious about a career in data science, please take help of good professional people and have an outline in mind about the kind of syllabus you’re going to follow. I think that is a must if you’re trying to start your career.
This was a conversation with one of our GCDAI students – Pritha Saha.
If you want to read more such interesting student interviews, check out INSAID Spotlight.