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 Ankita Kallurwar who is enrolled in the CDF program at INSAID.
Name: Ankita Kallurwar
Current Organisation: Peoplefy InfoSolutions Pvt. Ltd.
Total Experience: 4 years
Batch: Certificate in Data Science Foundation (CDF) February 2019
Interviewer: To start with, could you please brief me about your educational background and the career journey so far?
Ankita K: I’ll start from my educational background. I have completed my engineering in the field of Electronics and Communication and then completed MBA in the field of HR and Marketing, i.e. a dual specialization. I have an experience of four years in end to end recruitment and I am working in a consulting firm. I am on maternity break for the last two years. As of now, I am learning data science.
Interviewer: Given your experience as an MBA in HR and Marketing and four years of experience in end to end recruitment, how did you come into this Data Science and Machine Learning space? What brought you here?
Ankita K: As a recruiter, I used to work on Data Science profiles, for manager and VP level. At that point of time, statistics, machine learning everything attracted me a lot; all those specifications regarding data and its intricacies etc. Once I made up my mind to make a career in this field, I thought of getting training from an institute so that I can enhance my knowledge through a guided source. The idea of working on data, generating insights and applying those for the benefit of the businesses and clients has also maintained my interest in the field.
Interviewer: Were there any initial challenges that you faced when you entered the field of Data Science? If yes, how did you overcome them?
Ankita K: Being a non-programmer or non-coder, things were not easy for me. But frankly speaking, INSAID helped me a lot to overcome my fear of getting into coding, by providing me help material like videos, links and cheat sheets etc. All the faculty members really helped me a lot to get started in this field, without any prior coding or programming experience. Watching videos, listening to podcasts and reading blogs also helped me to build knowledge in this field. Now, I can confidently say that coding is not hard; it just requires some time and a lot of practice.
I need to practice more to get into coding. Initially, it was quite overwhelming, being from HR background, and I wasn’t sure if I did right by opting for Data Science as a career choice. But after a lot of practice and maintaining a proper schedule, I know I am in the right spot.
Interviewer: Now, what according to you is the goal of Data Science?
Ankita K: The goal of Data Science is to help companies make better decisions to succeed in their field. It is also to extract big business-focused insights from the data and use this understanding to identify new business opportunities. Putting whole of unstructured data to some useful purpose and generating value out of it, is what Data Science aims at.
Interviewer: What are some of the tools and packages that you have mastered so far? Also, which is your favorite machine learning algorithm?
Ankita K: My current focus is to gain knowledge about everything and anything as I’m new to this field. I will tell you about what I am learning. There are various packages like Pandas and Matplotlib and libraries like NumPy and Sci-kit Learn. Each of these have some or the other advantages. No two packages or libraries can be compared, owing to their different scope of work.
Similarly, machine learning also has various packages and algorithms like Linear Regression and Logistic Regression. There are several machine learning algorithms and packages, which we use for different purposes like predictions, how accurate is our model, etc. Apart from this, I am also reading blogs and following the top influencers of the field to keep my learning curve moving.
Interviewer: Right. So, as you mentioned that you are reading blogs and following the influencers, would you like to name them?
Ankita K: I am following Yann LeCun, the Chief Scientist at Facebook. With respect to blogs, I read Machine Learning Mastery. The reason why I follow this blog is that it is an ideal resource for the ones beginning their machine learning journey. Also, I am following Algorithmia as it not only covers the basics but also advanced topics like what are the trends in the marketplace etc.
Interviewer: How has the Data Science evolved over the last few years?
Ankita K: Data Science has actually evolved a lot over the last few years. Not many people knew about Data Science a couple of years ago. But now, the field has developed so much that not just the Data Science professionals but students also are thinking to build their models etc. Until few years ago, not many organizations were serious about exploring the power of data and putting it to good use, but organizations and businesses are going the extra mile and spending huge amounts, just to draw the right insights from the data they have.
Along with generating insights, organizations have started investing in analytics to achieve increased targeted and focused approach for their businesses. Attracting the customers and retaining them, providing the accurate product recommendations etc. are just instances of to show what is at the top of mind of every organization in the changed scenario. Google Assistant, Siri and chatbots are the perfect examples of the extent of use of ML, AI and deep learning. So, this is what I think about the evolution of data science.
Interviewer: Okay! This brings me to my next question, what are the current trends in Data Science that you are most excited about?
Ankita K: According to me, AI is the buzzword among many trends that are visible. This AI trend isn’t anything new but as data is increasing, we can see more and more development in this field; whether it is the Google Assistant or Alexa or smart cars. Together with this, our social media feeds are also curated with the help of AI so that we receive the latest and what is our interest. Some more trends in this sphere are- Spotify or Netflix recommendation system, Google Maps used for traffic insights or knowing the routes, chatbots and self-driving cars etc.
IoT is yet another emerging trend of this field wherein everything is connected to the internet; whether it is AWS, working on cloud or controlling your home appliances from anywhere.
Interviewer: 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?
Ankita K: I do have a GitHub portfolio and it has all my work done to date. Anyone can see my work on the GitHub profile and know what all things I have done and are currently with me. This is more applicable to the recruiters who can see the practical display of all my projects at a single place.
Interviewer: INSAID’s mission is to Groom Data leaders of tomorrow. What do you understand by a Data leader and how is he different from a Data Scientist?
Ankita K: Data Scientists are the ones working on data to generate insights and applying those insights to get the predictions. Data Leaders are the ones who know how to model science and business. They are updated with the latest trends and the new things in the market. Managing a team is also in their work area. They know which technique will work for the business, which insight will be useful for the organization and things like that.
Interviewer: 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?
Ankita K: As I said earlier, coding isn’t tough; perseverance is the key to success in Data Science field and coding isn’t an exception to this. The more you practice, the easier it will be to get into this field and make your standing.
Interviewer: So, this brings me to the end of the interview. Would you like to share anything about your journey at INSAID so far, any feedback, anything that you would like to share?
Ankita K: INSAID is one of the best institutes in this field. At the onset of it, I was apprehensive about choosing INSAID because of past experiences with some other institution. INSAID did not make tall claims but guided me all through, how to make a choice and what will be the right thing for me to do. The faculty members are so good and extremely knowledgeable and the study material provided by INSAID is super helpful. Everything at INSAID, like Career Launchpad etc. is so student-centered. All the sessions are interactive and knowledgeable. This student first approach was very useful for me and it will be to everyone.
Interviewer: Thank you so much for your generous words and genuine feedback. I’ll surely pass that down to our teams who are working hard. It was nice talking to you.
Ankita K: Same here. Bye!