Telling the right story is key to a Data Scientist's Success
Technical ability is not the only important skill to have when becoming a Data Scientist. Data doesn't speak for itself, you have to bring your own perspective to it. Being able to present the right story is key to success.
We caught up with Duhita Khadepau, a Master of Data Science and Innovation (MDSi) alum and iLab Industry Partner, who has recently been announced as one of the top 5 analytics professionals in Australia 2020 by The Institute of Analytics Professionals of Australia (IAPA).
Duhita’s data science career to date has been relatively short, only becoming a data scientist 4.5 years ago. Duhita started her career as a data warehouse engineer, becoming well-versed in databases and SQL, which led to landing her first job in the data field back in India about 14 years ago.
Duhita did her bit in Data Engineering, Business Intelligence and Data Analyst in India before relocating to the US where she trained to be a Data Modeller. Since then, Duhita has had stints back in India with National Stock Exchange (NSE) and in Singapore, working with a range of banks and startups, before moving to Australia and taking a role with THE ICONIC, it was while working there that Duhita enrolled in the UTS Master of Data Science and Innovation (MDSI) program. Today Duhita works at Assignar as the Director - Analytics and Data Science, within the Operational Leadership team.
You’ve been ranked 5th in IAPA’s 2020 list of Analytics Leaders in Australia, what advice do you have for other aspiring analytics and data scientists?
Work hard, smart, know your stuff and be stellar at what you do and then sky's the limit. Don’t always worry about using smart technology or machine learning or artificial intelligence. Take a moment to think if you are actually solving a customer problem.
Don’t care about being perfect. Don’t spend too much time making a model, analysis or visualization perfect.
Speed and velocity is equally as important or else your data will lose value.
Tech skills are not the only skills you should know. You should be able to convert from geek speak to management talk seamlessly.
Communication for any data analyst or scientist is the key to success. No one is interested in the model, everyone is interested in the value it brings. Telling the right story is key to a Data Scientist’s success.
Can you tell us a bit about why you chose to undertake the Master of Data Science and Innovation (MDSi) degree and how it has helped you in your professional life?
When I moved to Australia and began working for THE ICONIC, I realised that I had skills in 3 Data Pillars. I had absolutely no knowledge about the 4th pillar, Data Science. I had just heard about terms like customer segmentation and sentiment analysis but never had a chance to get my hands dirty with those concepts. At that point THE ICONIC didn’t have any data scientists. So, I decided to look for a course that would give me some practical guidance on how I could use Data Science in the real world. I looked at the curriculum, met a few students and found that I was a great fit for the MDSi course. Once I got admitted then there was no stopping me. Within the first 6 months I became the first Data Scientist at THE ICONIC.
MDSi is a very practical course and every subject that I studied was special as I would go back to my workplace and implement those skills and knowledge that I gained during the course. I truly had fun in all my classes and loved the iLabs as I got to learn from the teams around me and the professors who were all ready to help and guide me throughout my journey.
Currently I work in another interesting fast paced company “ASSIGNAR”. I joined them as Head of Data and helped them set up their Data Infrastructure and my team and I are constantly working on building data products which bring all the aspects of data together from data engineering to reporting to machine learning.
Since graduating from MDSi you have become an iLabs project host at Assignar, what is it about iLabs that you like and brings value to a company like Assignar?
In order to give our MDSi students more real world experience, I initiated this iLabs partnership program not only at Assignar but in all my past companies. Along with other engineers, we help the students work on projects end-to-end where they start with unclean data and work their way to presenting it in front of the entire company. This helps test and build both their technical and soft skills.
Last year, there was one exceptional student who did so well that we also gave him an opportunity to present at SHIFT, our annual conference. And one of the students that I was mentoring last year is now a part-time Data Analyst at Assignar. So for Assignar, it's a great avenue to hire great talent and see if they are a good culture fit. We have a lot of ideas and hence we need an extra set of hands and fresh perspectives to look at our data. And the students come in with so much energy , passion and hunger to learn new things and make an impact which is a bonus for Assignar.
Want more information?
If you would like to find out more about developing specialist skills to analyse, visualise and communicate data to drive business outcomes, visit The Master of Data Science & Innovation hub for more information. You can also join us for our upcoming online information session on Thursday 29 October from 6:00pm.
Or if you are interested in becoming an iLab partner for the MDSi you can find out more information here.