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In a data driven world, data for long been christened as the new oil and of late a career in Data Science a professional gold mine. However much nascent and nebulous it may be, professionals can see a clear glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. Unraveling a new field and having a life time first mover advantage would certainly be a very rewarding and an enriching career.

Data Science is the Aladdin’s lamp as it is made out to be. In that mad rush of following it, some small tips might help on.the way. New initiators tend to spend lot of time on theory, whether it be math related or machine learning related (algorithms, derivations, etc.). Data Science is an applied field and only way to hone the skills is practicing it. If you don’t the application of your learning in the real there is likelihood of getting demotivated. Learn to be comfortable with partial knowledge too, as long as you can envision the big picture, you will naturally fill in the gaps as you progress.

Another trap that one starts coding too many algorithms from scratch. There is no denying the fact that it’s nice to implement a few just as a part of the learning process. In reality algorithms are becoming commodities. Mature machine learning libraries & cloud-based solutions are a real boon and you can abridge your productivity cycle considerably. Nearly all practitioners today actually never code algorithms from scratch. Understanding the landscape of modern machine learning algorithms and their strength and weaknesses can be the only starting point.

There is an inherent tendency amongst the bright to try the hardest first. Jumping into the deep end. They want to build the technology of the future: Self-Driving Cars, Advanced Robotics etc. Starting with fundamentals and mastering it is the only way forward. There is a tendency to underestimate the value of domain knowledge. Ironically, that is the main differentiator. It’s a domain delivery at the end of the day. Techies tend to neglect communication skills. Given the nature of the job – applied nature in a multi-stakeholder environment, communication can be the killer.


Sanjay Sahay

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