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, which 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 Bhaskar Bharat who is enrolled in the GCD program at INSAID.
Name: Bhaskar Bharat
Current Organisation: Self-employed
Total Experience: 4.7 years
Batch: Global Certificate in Data Science (GCD) April 2019
Ankita: Bhaskar, to start with could you give a brief about your educational and professional background?
Bhaskar: I am a BTech. in Electronics and Communication Engineering from NIT, Delhi. I have worked with Balmer Lawrie & Co. Ltd. for 4 years and 2 months. It is a public sector enterprise in Kolkata, under the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.
I worked as an Assistant Manager of the IT team; mostly I was associated with the infrastructure team. In this organization, I was entrusted with the responsibility of project management; not much on the technical side, though. Due to my inclination towards the technical part, I tried to get involved with the technical team too.
I looked after the projects like exchange deployment and an email service project from Microsoft.
Beyond this, the organization also had a network team. I was responsible for designing, deployment, and maintenance of network infrastructure, as and when required. In 2017, we deployed checkpoint firewalls in 20 branches of the organization.
This was my professional background. I left Balmer Lawrie & Co. Ltd., a year ago. Currently, I’m running my family business and preparing for MBA.
Ankita: What got you interested in Data Science & Machine Learning?
Bhaskar: There are two or three factors that cumulatively got me interested in this field.
The very first interaction was through the business analytics task that was given to me in the last organization. In this task, as I told you, I had to derive insights from the data for the travel division. I worked with Microsoft’s Power BI and Tableau software. So with these two software, I tried to make some sense out of the data and thus, gather useful insights. So there I got interested in business analytics. This was a time when I knew only about business analytics. I did not know that this is a part of Data Science.
After this, I started reading more about these things.
It was through my personal experience of recommendation system on Amazon and YouTube, I learned that it is one of the applications of Data Science.
This further built my interest in the field of Data Science and Machine Learning. I started exploring this domain and my confidence to pursue this field came from my programming background. My familiarity with C++ nurtured my passion for this field.
Ankita: How are you able to juggle your time between your MBA preparations and INSAID studies? Do you maintain a proper schedule for it? How do you go about it?
Bhaskar: Before answering your question, I would like to tell you why I joined INSAID.
After leaving my organization, I was searching for an appropriate institute, which I could join to study Data Science and Machine Learning. I was not in touch with the technical aspect of the field, like programming, etc. after passing out from college and this was the only inhibition I had.
I joined a course in another institute but soon felt it was monotonous as it was more focused on the theoretical aspect. What I wanted was more of a programming and a practical part which would make me acquainted with the applications of Data Science and Machine Learning.
Luckily, I came to know about INSAID and went through its curriculum and knew this would be the right one for me. It had just the right blend of theory and practical, with more focus on the practical aspect; just as I needed.
It is a weekend course so I decided to give it a shot. This was the thought behind joining INSAID.
Simultaneously, I started preparing for my MBA. Things were a little bit difficult to manage at the start of it. But because the classes were on weekends and weekdays were free for me, I decided to keep weekdays for my MBA studies and also reading about Data Science and Machine Learning. Only giving time to study for this field on the weekend wasn’t going to help me out.
This I learned while working on the two projects I did through INSAID. When you are working on a project, apart from the classroom knowledge, you are also required to explore, build and analyze your own data-sets. My habit of reading beyond the classroom studies is also helping me a lot in these areas.
This is how I am trying to maintain a balance between two different types of studies that I am required to do.
Ankita: Balancing time is the key and if you have figured out how to do it, by maintaining a balanced schedule, nothing will be intimidating for you. Which tools and packages in Data Science and machine learning have you mastered so far?
Bhaskar: It is through INSAID that I have learned NumPy and Pandas and visualization packages like Matplotlib and Seaborn. Apart from this, Scikit-learn, Decision Trees and Regression are some of the packages that I have used in my projects and I am well-versed with. I won’t say that I have mastered them but yes I am learning more about them.
Ankita: Bhaskar, going by what you shared earlier also that being out of touch with the coding or programming part made your initial Data Science journey, a little tough. Would you want to add to it, any other initial challenges that you faced when you entered the Data Science field? How could you overcome them?
Bhaskar: I could overcome the initial inhibitions that I have already shared, through the starter kit provided by INSAID before the program start. Also, my background in C++ actually helped me because I was already aware of things like data structures and data types, arrays, etc.
Python is an advanced language, as compared to C++. So, all the functions, etc. that we defined in the latter are already inbuilt in Python. Getting hands-on with Python before the program start, helped me a lot and I gained confidence that I will be able to pull off the programming part.
It is a continuous journey and I will learn more as time progresses. But yes, now after ample practice, I am sure that I am definitely going to get through.
Ankita: What is the goal of Data Science?
Bhaskar: The goal of Data Science is to find patterns and derive insights from the data that can address the business problems.
Ankita: Are there any Data Science and AI Influencers you follow and the blogs that you read?
Bhaskar: Andrew Ng and Jeff Dean are the two influencers I follow and read everything they share.
Dr. Kirk Borne is another important name that I would like to take. Medium and Google.ai are the blogs that I read regularly.
Ankita: 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?
Bhaskar: Yes, I do have my Github profile and it has two projects that I completed over time. GitHub is an important tool, as just by sharing one link, I can showcase my work; the projects I did, tools I worked upon, etc.
Ankita: GitHub is a practical display of all your work that you have done so far. 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.
Bhaskar: I redrafted my resume after attending the Data Science Career Launchpad session by Nikhil. He gave us a very good presentation on the essential components of a resume. So, I have built a master resume, incorporating all the points shared in the INSAID’s session.
There are a couple of things that Nikhil shared with us. There should be a master resume. The resume should then be molded as per the specifications of a particular job or position that we are applying to. This will not be a master resume but a version of it.
Apart from this, the earlier version of my resume had a sort of vague objective, which I have molded, according to my experience and interest. I have also included my project from college days, in the resume. The link to my GitHub profile is also there in my resume now.
I have worked on my LinkedIn profile too and gave it a professional look.
INSAID’s session was extremely helpful in getting all these areas revamped for our benefit.
Ankita: 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?
Bhaskar: Data Scientists are the people who have the right kind of expertise and knowledge of the tools to work on data and derive useful insights.
Data Leader is a person who can balance between the two worlds- the technical knowledge and business acumen. Together with working on data, a Data Leader is also leading a team of Data Scientists and communicating the findings to the business stakeholders. He is a good storyteller and a master communicator.
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?
Bhaskar: I would start by saying that freshers or rather people who have an interest in this field, should start by reading more and more and gaining knowledge about Data Science, Machine Learning and AI.
This will clear your mind, whether you are actually interested in this field or are simply smitten by the attractive buzzwords floating around. Even after reading about the complexities, steps, etc. involved in the field, your interest remains intact, you should not worry about the programming. I say this because I found out that programming in Python is not difficult.
After reading, start doing statistics and working on projects because projects enhance your learning. This practical aspect of all the studies you did, will strengthen your base.
Preparing this way will make you believe in yourself. Leave the doubt aside and realize your passion for Data Science.
Ankita: A great piece of advice. This brings me to the end of the interview. If you would like to share anything about your journey at INSAID so far; any feedback that you would like to give?
Bhaskar: INSAID has provided me with a structure on how to progress in the field, a guided approach that is much needed when there is a lot of matter available on the web and we can easily lose track. INSAID has also provided a list of learning resources that will help me prepare beyond the classroom and enhance my knowledge base.
Ankita: Bhaskar, thanks a lot for your time. All the best!!
Bhaskar: Thanks, Ankita.