Given the upheaval in job trends following the Covid-19 crisis and the flurry of job seekers looking to ensure they have the best chance going forward, we decided to get in touch with veterans from different fields like Data Science, Tech, and Management, to name a few.
So the question arises, who are they? What drew them to this field? What advice do they have for new professionals? Most importantly, how can you grow in your career to achieve similar heights?
Read on to find out!
Interview Log – Mr. Gurumoorthy Pattabiraman
We had a chance to connect with Mr. Gurumoorthy Pattabiraman, founder at Digital Tesseract which is a leading E-Learning & EduTech Company focusing on Data Science, Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning.
From his time as a student, Mr. Gurumoorthy Pattabiraman has been an entrepreneur. While fielding the usual concerns such as polynomials, he worked with European and American clients as an SEO Webmaster and as an SEM Consultant. Not only did he freelance, but he also took the opportunity to create his websites from scratch, built viewership, and, most surprisingly of all, to anyone who’s ever worked on getting a website off the ground, he even generated income!
While he worked on his academics- first his undergraduate degree in Mathematics from RKM Vivekananda College, Chennai, and then a postgraduate degree in Actuarial Economics from the Madras School of Economics, he also helped several clients with their SEO needs, Google Analytics, SEM requirements, etc.
Now, he heads Digital Tesseract– a company that focuses on AI and Machine Learning. He is also an Adjunct Faculty at GreatLearning & a Corporate Trainer.
Naukri Learning – What was your journey like, from the end of your academic career to where you are now?
Mr. Pattabiraman – Post my entrepreneurial journey, I was involved with quite a few start-ups, building up teams and honing my analytical skills using SAS, R, Python & PowerBI, SQL to name a few. I have handled a variety of clients projects both within and outside India (APAC, EMEA majorly).
Finally, in the year 2017, I decided to take my route from a senior management position in an enterprise organization to that of a freelancer and consultant.
It was then when I founded my brand new start-up called Digital Tesseract, a niche Edutech & E-Learning platform for people passionate about Data Science, ML & AI.
I now teach ML & AI to thousands of professionals and students every year, via corporate & college engagements.
Naukri Learning – So what does a day in the life of a Data Science trainer and entrepreneur look like?
Mr. Pattabiraman - My usual working days have the following three types of activities. I teach AI & ML (Online or offline), or I am busy with meetings (with clients & team members) , but I always try to take some time out to indulge myself by reading in-depth research (books, online resources) that help me solve complex problems of my clients.
Naukri Learning – Of the three activities you mentioned above, which do you feel most passionately about?
Mr. Pattabiraman – Of the three types of activities, the first one is what I love the most – Teaching. By teaching what you learn, you will have a firm grasp of every technique for a very long time ahead. Most of us do not have the luck of applying everything that we learn in our day-to-day work. However, teaching is only limited to what knowledge you want to share with your audience.
Naukri Learning – Would you say there’s a great deal of demand for your skills during a time like this? If so, how do you get in touch with the demand?
Mr. Pattabiraman – I am an ardent networker on LinkedIn with more than 15k connections and growing strong. This is the only reason I do not search for consulting projects or clients. Requirements always come to my inbox. I know this might sound a bit overconfident to a few, but I always believe in genuine networking on channels like LinkedIn will always pay off in the long run. Even for those who are working a job, LinkedIn is always a good place to meet like-minded people, share thoughts on work-related subjects.
Naukri Learning – What would you say is your motivation behind pursuing what was back then a fair niche field?
Mr. Pattabiraman - Main motivation to reach this point of my life is hard to pin down but I’d put it down to a few things -
- I always liked Mathematics & Statistics – How numbers played their roles in revealing simple truth and facts about the universality of life
- The passion to interact with people- learn from them, their successes, and failures. Always stay connected
- I always loved reading – Be it books or online blogs or articles. If there was innovation, I needed to know about it! This thirst for something new and unique always motivates us to become a better version of our current self
- Passion for teaching. I have always found teaching very interesting. Trying to break down every concept I learn into small parts and then slowly arranging them into the grand theory it conveys is actually one of my greatest passions
- Application first mentality – I always question each subject I learn as to how one can apply it in the practical World. This has helped me a lot in my journey.
Naukri Learning – To become a trainer and educator in Data Science and emerging tech like AI and ML requires deep subject matter knowledge and skills. What would you say are the most important skill sets someone like that would have to acquire?
Mr. Pattabiraman – Skills that I acquired to become what I am, are -
- Basic Mathematics and Statistics (which I had the privilege of learning from some of the great minds during my school/college days) is a must-know for all Data Science aspirants.
- Proficiency in Programming and Coding – I learned all the basics of core programming languages including C, C++ Java, HTML, and so on from my college days. This gave me a lot of logical reasoning skills and an application-oriented thought process for learning. Later on, I was easily able to learn newer languages like SAS, Python, R, and Juliaetc because of my initial efforts years ago.
- Econometrics & Statistical Modelling – Once again, my post-grad sharpened my analytical skills. To date, I am finding new models, new theorems, and research areas and I believe I have just scratched the tip of a very large iceberg.
- Business Problem Solving - What is the pinnacle of learning all these concepts and techniques? We ultimately are trying to solve a real business problem somebody has. I was able to catch on to this early on due to my freelance experience during college days. I believe it’s my strength in this skill that essentially bring clients and retain them.
- Networking – I learned from some of my peers and managers how important it was to network with the right people on channels like LinkedIn. While I’m not an expert I have ensured I properly network with people even at offline events, expos , and workshops.
We never know how or who might be able to get us the correct opportunity any given day!
Naukri Learning – Do you have any advice for young professionals, just starting on this path?
Mr. Pattabiraman – No matter if you’re a student or fresh graduate, I believe you have an excellent opportunity to start from scratch. You must ensure you do not skimp on the most important basics of Mathematics & Statistics needed to grow in this field. No skill is too small or obscure.
Naukri Learning – How would you suggest they go about building their skill set?
Mr. Pattabiraman – Take up an interesting book of your choice, explore relevant websites , or even a YouTube channel and start going through them. Make it a point to read at least one concept new every day.
You do not need to link everything together on day one. As you gain more knowledge, it will all seem to converge for you later in the years ahead.
Sow the seeds now and reap benefits later!
Naukri Learning – You mentioned that learning coding was something you’d done out of your own initiative. What can students who are not from tech or IT backgrounds do to close the gap?
Mr. Pattabiraman – Pick up one programming language (say Python) and start learning from scratch on how to use it, find out what are the strengths and weaknesses of it. Once again, pick up a website or a YouTube channel (python programming) to achieve the same.
Once, you have some proper understanding of how python works, then you can test out your analytical skills via simple online courses. Move upwards from basics. This will give you an idea of how easy it is for you to pick up things in the Data Science domain and whether or not it is your cup of tea in the first place.
Then once you have figured out your interest levels, take it up a notch and start competing on competitions like Kaggle.com or CodeChef. This will slowly help you gain more confidence and a deeper understanding of the paradigms of Data Science.
Naukri Learning – We’ve covered fresh graduates, essentially fresh slates. How could someone who is, say, mid-career, move towards Data Science?
Mr. Pattabiraman – If you are a working professional trying to learn Data Science for a career shift.
Here, you might need to evaluate your current scenario first. You might need to know if you would first like to be an individual contributor or a team manager, depending on your experience.
For individual contributors, you might need to then evaluate once again as there are different roles in data science.
- You could become a data engineer if you have knowledge about databases and how they work
- You could become a data analyst if you know python or a similar language for development.
- You could become a BI consultant (Tableau or PowerBI) if you are averse to programming but good at logical reasoning and analytical thinking
For team managers, you might probably need to learn how to embrace the newer technologies, theories, and architectures that keep evolving day to day in the landscape of things. Rather than starting to learn to code, you might require to learn how to adapt to processes and strategies in architectural designs for data science projects. This is more abstractive, requiring you to read a lot (from journals to tutorials). A subscription to Medium.com or similar websites might be a wise choice for starters.
Naukri Learning – You had mentioned that learners could take online courses to hone their skills and build their portfolio. Do you have any suggestions about the same?
Mr. Pattabiraman – When it comes to courses, it boils down to each person’s personal choice. I have seen some people being highly proactive and learning things on their own. Some start learning once they have the necessary pressure and deadlines at work, while a few others simply require proper guidance and coaching to learn the nuances of solving data science problems.
For such individuals, first, try a few basic data science courses online (free of course) and then decide if further online courses would help you better or you require a face to face interaction.
If you choose the former, websites like Datacamp have beautiful subscription options to keep learning forever.
This has to be decided based upon your budget, amount of time you can spend on weekends, and , last but not least, if you would like to add them as an impactful addition in your resume.
Naukri Learning – Any parting words of motivation or advice for our learners?
Mr. Pattabiraman – Lastly, I would like to conclude my points by saying this.
“Knowledge is improving a model’s accuracy from 70 to 99%. Wisdom is knowing that the model was better off at 70”.
Openness to learning, no matter how experienced we are, is the true path to success!
In case you have recently completed a professional course/certification and would like to share your feedback to help other fellow learners, submit a review of the course with us.