What do you do?
I apply Machine Learning/AI models to the real world data to build intelligent, one-of-its-kind product features. I worked in the industry in India for 4 years post my undergrad in Computer Science helping startups provide smart recommendations, products and services to their customers by building ML solutions. Later, I decided to further hone my research skills in the space of Deep Learning and Natural Language Processing by pursuing MS in CS(Data Science Specialization) from the University of Southern California. At Information Science Institute, USC, I researched on DARPA projects aimed at simulating entire social network and understanding/predicting user actions on the platform. So, basically I apply algorithms to your data to understand your behavior and build solutions that can be of value to you as a user of the company I work for.
Why did you choose this field?
I chose the field of ML and Deep Leaning because I love data and these are the most common tools to make sense of the immense data we have. With the invention of smart technologies like Siri, by the time I completed my undergrad in CS, I was sure that the world of data is mysteriously interesting and I would love it as a career. I consciously didn't chose the normal path of a CS graduate to get into software development and strived hard to finally start my career with a role in the data intelligence space, a pre-cursor to Data Science.
What do you look at and think, "I wish younger me would have known this was possible"?
There was not a single course in my undergrad that even mentioned Machine Learning or Data Science. Even online resources were very limited. I wish younger me knew about getting access to and using scholarly research papers more.
Why do you love working in STEM?
Science is a beautiful land of wonderful findings. Working in the space of Machine Learning and Data Science help me satiate my inner curiosity every single day with possibilities of exploration and feature engineering in the algorithms I build as a part of my work.
STEM has the potential to change the world in all ways. I happy and content with every little contribution I am able to make through my ML community towards tech-research solving bigger societal problems.
Best advice for next generation?
I would say only one thing- follow your passion and fight on.Trust yourself and your abilities to know what's currently unknown in your field of interest. Always try to learn from the best minds in the industry/academia, find them, work with them and never stop learning. Nothing transcends true knowledge.
Inspo quote / fun fact / role model
Sometimes what you think matters doesn't even matter to an extent to really matter.
(It's by nobody famous but me)