Why I abandoned my Ph.D dream for Data Science
I had it all figured out. I was going to do my B.Sc in Math, M.Sc in Math, and Ph.D in Math. One fine day, after I had completed my M.Sc, I met a friend for a causal chat over coffee, where she introduced me to the field of Data Science. That day marked the end of my math journey. Today, I'm a Data Scientist at Emotix, and I work on Natural Language Processing (NLP), on a product called Miko, which is an emotionally intelligent learning companion robot for kids. My job is to teach it human language. It is extremely fun and interesting, and I couldn't have asked for a more engaging career.
Why Data Science
Data Science influences our choices, enforces decisions, and predicts behaviour in the real world just by using numbers. This really piqued my interest. Once I saw how much math there was behind it all, there was no turning back. I loved playing with numbers all day long, but Data Science gave me what I could not find in math - purpose.
I started off by checking out blogs and videos, and eventually found myself browsing institutes offering Data Science courses. I reached out to a few and GreyAtom was one of them. Comparing a handful of course providers, I found GreyAtom's course to be really comprehensive and well laid out. Me being a math person and an overall fan of well-structured things, I made up my mind to proceed with GreyAtom, considering how structured their program was.
How was your shift from Math to Data Science?
Even though I knew that math was underlying Data Science and Machine Learning, I was not able to visualize how I would be contributing to the field. Secondly — and this was a big one — I did not know how to code. Added to this, there were the questions like: will I be able to actually land a job in Data Science; and will people hire me as a fresher this late in my career.
But once I joined the program, my mentors helped me map out personal journeys from math to Data Science. I was relieved at how easily the GLabs platform — GreyAtom's online learning platform — got me familiar with coding. And having been placed in a job within a year, I realise that I did not have to fret so much in the beginning.
Tell us about your recruitment journey
I was offered a chance to intern with a company, Emotix, while the course was still progressing; thanks to the proactive career services team. I was asked to complete a task on NLP by Emotix, but we had not begun that topic in our course at that point. I panicked and called my mentor. He provided me excellent material to get through, and I remember that I used to call him even late at night to get my doubts cleared. He was there for me throughout the journey, and I can't thank him enough for that. I landed the internship, and eventually converted it to a full-time position.
Tell us about your overall experience with GreyAtom
GreyAtom really brought the industry into the sessions. What I learnt at GreyAtom is still extremely relevant. I still use the same pipelines, processes and procedures that I learnt during my hackathons and projects at my job now. I would say that the transition from GreyAtom to my workplace was pretty seamless.
If you have a knack for problem solving/providing solutions, and if you feel motivated to do that for a living, pursue Data Science; whatever your current background.