Data Science Diaries – Kashyap Krishnamurthy

Data Scientist at IBM (Data Science & Watson Cognitive Computing)

Experience – 3+ years in Data Science

Educational Qualifications –

  • Master of Science, Information Technology
  • Bachelor’s Degree, Computer Science
  • IBM Certified Specialist – Platform Analytics
  • Specialization – Python, IBM SPSS, IBM Watson Solutions

Kashyap recently spoke to Manipal Prolearn about his journey so far as a Data Scientist. The following are some excerpts from his interview:

Manipal Prolearn: Data Science is a relatively new career field. How did you learn about it?

Kashyap: Though it was new to me, Data Science has been around for a long time under different name tags. I was introduced to the field by my mentor at IBM, who encouraged me to explore this exciting area of work and that’s how I started my journey in Data Science.

Manipal Prolearn: Tell us more about your journey so far.

Kashyap: After having completed my education in computer science, I began my career in the field of IT Cloud Infrastructure. Shortly after, I found myself needing to gain more clarity on shaping my career. That is when I then requested Mr.Veerendra Para, a Senior Advisory IT Specialist at IBM India to mentor me. In the course of regular sessions, he introduced me to different areas of information technology. Data Science seemed futuristic and exciting to me. I took up stretch assignments to understand the subject better. Gradually, these assignments matured into an opportunity for a Data Science role in the IBM Innovation Lab.

The Innovation Lab was an ideal platform for me to deep dive into the world of data science. With the guidance of industry experts, I could tap into the wealth of data and cutting-edge technologies such as the Cognitive Computing of IBM Watson.
I was further given opportunities to present my work at the World-Wide Innovations platform. This opened the doors to more revolutionary, challenging and exciting projects, in which I am currently engaged.

Manipal Prolearn: How will you explain your job role to a non-industry person in one line?

Kashyap: That’s a good question!

“Have you seen how Amazon very smartly recommends related and attractive products? Well, I work on a similar technology!”

Manipal Prolearn: One book or movie that you think every data scientist should watch/read or could draw some inspiration from.

Kashyap: The movie ‘Social Network’, the vision and drive of Mark Zuckerberg was inspiring.

Manipal Prolearn: What are the three qualities or traits that are a must-have for data science professionals?

Kashyap: Comfort in quantitative analysis, an explorative frame of mind and good presentation skills.

Manipal Prolearn: What do you enjoy the most about being a data scientist?

There is an element of discovery present in every day work, so it is not monotonous to work as a data scientist. Furthermore, unearthing hidden patterns is satisfying and I find the ability to ‘predict’, very fascinating.

Manipal Prolearn: Name any industry leader who has been an inspiration to you, and why?

Kashyap: Elon Musk has been an inspiration. He is an absolute visionary, a stellar innovator, and a great entrepreneur.

Manipal Prolearn: If not a data scientist, what would be your alternative career path and why?

Kashyap: A pilot! I have an inveterate passion for aviation. I hope to be a hobby-flier someday.

Manipal Prolearn: What do you like to do in your spare time, when you are not deep diving into the data world?

Kashyap: In my spare time I enjoy travelling, and trekking in the high Himalayas is something I love!

Manipal Prolearn: Can you share a few activities that can help data science professionals hone their skills? Or something that you like to do to sharpen your analytical skills?

Kashyap: Kaggle is a one-stop destination. In a typical enterprise scenario, data science professionals work on specific data sets trying to meet domain-specific needs.

However, Kaggle lets them explore the various flavours of data science. A pet project at Kaggle is a must.

Manipal Prolearn: Share the biggest challenge you have faced so far in the field of data science.

Kashyap: The sky-high expectations to derive meaningful insights from poor data has been challenging to meet.

Manipal Prolearn: Which was the last book you read/last movie you watched and what did you like about it?

Kashyap: I recently read ‘The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari’, which is an amazing book. It inspires you to see life as a whole and explains how your disciplined routine can help reach your goals.

Manipal Prolearn: What changes do you expect to see in the ever-evolving data science world in the next few years?

Kashyap: I expect to see a lot of standardization in the way data is created, stored, and used in an enterprise. In today’s scenario, data preparation consumes the largest amount of time. If we have software designed and developed conscious to the needs of data analytics, the whole process will be streamlined. This streamlining will result in a good level of automation. Though some of the big players have already realised this, it isn’t widespread.

Having said that, ML/AI algorithms are constantly evolving; they continue to become more precise, accurate and cost-effective. Hence, existing models will have to be remodelled leveraging the new approaches. This will result in a mature life cycle that we see in software products today.

Secondly, I believe Natural Language Processing capabilities will make great strides. Roughly 80% of the data in the world is unstructured, hence better NLP capabilities will tap into an ocean of possibilities. Improvements in natural language-image-video processing will aid in the further evolution of today’s cognitive computing systems, which will further result in better human–system interaction.

Manipal Prolearn: If you had the choice to be one fictional character for a day, which one would it be and why?

Kashyap: I would like to be Jack Sparrow. His life is filled with adventure and he is extremely intelligent.

Manipal Prolearn: Once superpower you wish you had…

Kashyap: Time travel, hands down! I could list a thousand good things about it.

Manipal Prolearn: Describe yourself in three words.

Kashyap: Methodical, Meticulous and Determined.

Manipal Prolearn: What is your message to budding data scientists?

Kashyap: It is important to define short term goals and long term goals. Milestones that lead you towards these goals must be identified and you should take efforts to reach them.

Secondly, it is crucial to explore and keep pace with the rapidly evolving field of data science. To do so, there are active communities such as KDnuggets and Analytics Vidhya. Summits, webinars, and meetups are some of the other key sources.

Most important is to engage with industry leaders and pioneers. Inputs from them will definitely make a huge impact in your career.

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