We might not know where our interest lies till we experience it. And, this is the kind of situation Sudeep Mohan faced when he discovered his unwavering interest in data science – while managing purchases and inventory data in IIM’s on-campus retail store via a billing software. As the desire to know and learn more of data science skills lingered throughout a couple of years, he finally enrolled for the Global Certificate in Data Science & AI (GCDAI) program at INSAID.
In this interview, let’s check his thoughts on data science and how his learning experience has been at INSAID.
Question 1: Which program & batch are you part of at INSAID & tell us more about your current work profile?
Sudeep: I am a part of the Global Certificate in Data Science & AI (GCDAI) program, November 2019 batch. I am currently working as a Senior Consultant in PwC. My role involves performing financial analysis, commercial due diligence of business plans, and building economic models. I play the role of a financial expert in my team.
Question 2: Walk us through your career journey & what got you interested in Data Science & Machine Learning?
Sudeep: I have completed my Bachelor of Engineering in Computer Science and attained my Post-Graduate degree in Management from the Indian Institute of Management, Indore.
My interest in data science started during my MBA program. I was part of a club which managed a retail store outlet on the campus. Given my technical background in computer science, I also ordered the billing software system of the store.
So my work involved going through purchases and inventory data and preparing the necessary information required for reporting the financials. I did my job well and felt good about it.
A few months after my first job, post MBA, I worked in a hospital set-up where I was trying to generate insights from patient visits and working with an analytics firm to predict how many days after consultation a patient will get admitted. This helped in optimizing our call center executives’ time in following up with the patient.
My entire career post-MBA has been into excel and processing vast amounts of data into Manipal Healthcare or DXC (pricing analyst); hence when I was introduced to Python and data science skills, I quickly got into it and have been learning about it one way or another.
Question 3: What tools and packages in Data Science & Machine Learning have you mastered in your Data Science & AI program at INSAID so far?
Sudeep: I am proficient in preparing charts using Matplotlib and Seaborn. I have a relatively good understanding of most ML algorithms. My favorites are Linear/Logistic regression and decision trees given its wide range of applications and scope of customizing it to suit any dataset.
Question 4: What are some initial challenges when you got started on your Data Science journey, and how did you overcome them?
Sudeep: Though I learned the syntaxes of running the ML algorithms, I always found it challenging to get good results when applied outside academic problems.
I kept up my practice of programming. I figured out the mistakes I was making initially, from splitting the train and test dataset to preparing the dataset for the ML algorithms. I learned various methods of filling up for missing values instead of dropping them.
I also learned the data science skills of how to transform data columns to make them more meaningful to the target column, work with the feature importance outputs and get rid of multicollinearity in the dataset. Though there are PCA and other methods available to do these tasks, I still feel by doing the pre-processing manually it yields better results.
Question 5: Who is your favorite faculty at INSAID, and what did you learn from him the Most?
Sudeep: Deepesh has been my teacher at INSAID, and I had the excellent opportunity of having him as my teacher throughout all the ML courses. I like his approach of emphasizing the concept and giving short assignments that help us to strengthen our programming and data science skills and understanding of the ideas.
Question 6: What is the goal of Data Science?
Sudeep: I think data science aims to develop a scientific approach to look at and treat data. The word science is nicely combined with data letting anyone know that there is a scientific way to deal with data and generate insights, which can be reproduced consistently, making it invaluable whenever applied to real-world problems.
Question 7: In your view, how has Data Science evolved in the last few years?
Sudeep: Data science has evolved considerably and significantly more in the last 10 years than before that. We have come a long way from using statistics to prepare reports and generate information from the data to preparing the data in a useful format that can be used to build various products.
One of the most advanced applications of data is the development of autonomous cars. Autonomous cars use data from their surrounding environment to decide to drive, turn, or stop.
The fact that we are using the insights developed from processing data and by transforming it into an ambiguous form have almost automated the decision-making process is in itself an excellent achievement in data science.
Question 8: What are the current trends in Data Science that you are most excited about?
Sudeep: I am excited about the next step in data science, artificial intelligence, and want to see AI being used to its full potential, at least. Also, I am very keen to be part of this evolution and contribute to it.
Question 9: Which are some of the blogs that you follow?
Sudeep: I follow the Data Science Blog.
Question 10: What is your advice to anyone wanting to start a career in Data Science?
Sudeep: There was a time when the computer (and applications like Word, Excel) were meant only for computer science students. And, soon this changed. A computer is now so widely used that life without it is unimaginable (smartphones are also mini handheld computers).
Data science will be the next big thing. So, my advice will be, if there is time available, learn it or at least get familiar with data science skills because we are already using it directly or indirectly in our day to day life.
This was a conversation with one of our GCDAI students – Sudeep Mohan.
Discover more such wonderful student stories at INSAID Spotlight.