After 14 years of corporate experience, Shashank Singh left the rat race and is now the founder and director of his own startup. But, somehow his love for AI that started in his engineering days lingered on. So, during the pandemic when he finally got the time to pursue data science, machine learning and AI, he quickly enrolled for the Global Certificate in Data Science & AI (GCDAI) program at INSAID.
In this interview, let’s see what interests him in data science the most and how his experience has been at INSAID.
Question 1: Which program & batch are you part of at INSAID & tell us more about your current work profile?
Shashank: I am part of the Global Certificate in Data Science & AI (GCDAI) program, May 2020. My current work involves business development for my company, which is into advertising consultancy, outdoor hoarding advertising, LED Screen installations, and rentals.
Question 2: Walk us through your career journey & what got you interested in Data Science & Machine Learning?
Shashank: I am a computer engineer by profession with 14+ corporate experience in MNC’s like Zensar, Amdocs, Centurylink, and Accenture. In my last corporate role, I was working as a Project Manager in Accenture.
I had worked in Telecom/Financial and Digital domain with excellent Project management skills. About 4.5 years back, I started my start-up in the field of outdoor advertising, providing consultancy, installation, and rentals of LED hoardings/vehicles for all types of Outdoor advertising/Events, etc.
I had worked with vast amounts of real-time data for many telecom clients in the US, and I always had an interest in analyzing data and came out with potential issues and solutions.
With my start-up, I realized that small businesses need to utilize the available data to develop the correct strategy to grow their businesses and become profitable. I have a keen interest in maths and data analysis.
During my engineering days, I took Artificial Intelligence as one of the electives 18 yrs back, as I found the subject pretty impressive back then.
All the above points and looking at future growth potential, I decided to go ahead and explore Data Science and Artificial intelligence field in early 2019. But somehow, that time, it could not materialize.
But this year, with the start of the pandemic, the businesses across the board dipped, and I was able to take some time out to start this course. I am excited about the learnings I am doing and thoroughly enjoying it.
Question 3: What all tools and packages in Data Science & Machine Learning have you mastered in your Data Science & AI program at INSAID so far?
Shashank: So far, I have a pretty good understanding and command of Python, and its various packages like Pandas, Numpy, Scikit-Learn and Seaborn. I now have a good knowledge of EDA as well. The projects helped build my confidence.
In ML, I am comfortable with Linear Regression and Logistic Regression, Decision tree, and Random forest. Again, the project did help a lot.
Currently, we are having classes on Advanced ML algorithms, and theoretically, I am comfortable with PCA, K-Means, and KNN. I am looking forward to implementing it in the next project for better understanding.
Question 4: What are some initial challenges when you got started on your Data Science journey, and how did you overcome them?
Shashank: The biggest challenge I found is the vastness of the field. When the topic is current, understanding is clear, but the old issues become a bit hazy and confusing as we progress with new problems.
The approach I have taken is revising the topics as and when I get time, especially while doing any project. And, for specific and critical subtopics, I have gone through recordings and videos freely available on Youtube to reinforce my understanding.
Question 5: Who is your favorite faculty at INSAID, and what did you learn from him the Most?
Shashank: All the faculty of INSAID are excellent. Each one has its unique style, and I am enjoying learning from all of them. I have never missed a single class so far and am always looking forward to the next level. So definitely equal credits go to all of them for making the content attractive.
Question 6: What is the goal of Data Science?
Shashank: What I understood so far from my industry experience and my learnings in this course is that the potential of Data Science, ML & AI is tremendous. It can be used to solve any issue starting from a next-door shopkeeper’s small problems to the global issues that impact the human race. We just need patience, knowledge, the right mindset, and a willingness to implement things correctly.
Question 7: In your view, how has Data Science evolved in the last few years?
Shashank: I remember working on massive Oracle datasets/tables, running heavy SQL queries, and analyzing many related tables to find issues or resolve the problems for a telecom customer or find any pattern to help him be loyal to the Service provider.
I never thought 8 to 10 years down the line there would be a defined field for the same. It is now very vast and refined than the use cases I had worked on and has significantly evolved with the enormous amount of dynamic/real-time data flowing around from the last 4 to 6 years.
Question 8: What are the current trends in Data Science that you are most excited about?
Shashank: I am excited about two fields/domains because they have been my forte in the past and I do see a lot of potential for them in the future.
The first one is the Telecom domain, as mobiles have become new laptops/desktops with the potential of doing everything. Data Science has evolved and can be utilized to enhance the user experience, generate more profits for businesses, and make it a more real time experience with 5G just around the corner.
The second domain is in education. As of now, data science has not been explored as much in this domain but I strongly feel it has a tremendous amount of business use cases to better society and the next generation.
Question 9: Which are some of the blogs that you follow?
Question 10: What is your advice to anyone wanting to start a career in Data Science?
Shashank: Since I am also restarting my career and am new to Data Science, I always remind myself about practicing more, exploring more, and experimenting more. And I would like to pass on the same advice to all the data science aspirants.
Data Science is a vast field with, definitely, a lot of future scope. Like any other field, it will take patience, hard work, and a lot of practice to be good at it. Data Science is not just a skill to perform a task a certain way but a means through which you can go beyond set defined processes and indulge in experimenting.
This was a conversation with one of our GCD students – Shashank Singh.
Discover more such interesting student interviews at INSAID Spotlight.