What do you do?
I use machine learning and data analytics to predict the risk of Cybersecurity attacks and frauds within the Visa network. My day to day responsibilities combine the skills of Data Science, Data Engineering and Cybersecurity.
Why did you choose this field?
I was first introduced to this field while pursuing my Bachelors degree in Computer Engineering at College of Engineering Pune. Under the guidance of my professor, I completed my thesis project in this domain and it turned out to be very interesting; so much so that we went ahead and published research papers and got a lot of attention. Later when I completed my Masters in Computer Science degree from USC, I was fortunate to land a job in the same field and ever since I am digging deeper into this subject. Working in Cybersecurity, every day is a new challenge! You never know how attackers/hackers would compromise networks and do the unexpected. We need to be alert, aware, responsive and predict these activities to minimize the risk. Glad to be working in a field that is so demanding.
What do you look at and think, "I wish younger me would have known this was possible"?
I never knew that there were a lot of things beyond textbooks! I never knew there were online courses, networking groups, hackathons, etc. Had I known about it a couple of years back, I am sure I would have been an even better version of me.
Why do you love working in STEM?
Technology can help solve a lot of problems through innovation! During my undergrad days, I remember working on a project to develop an online driver drowsiness detection system that would buzz an alarm when it detected the driver as drowsy. This was one starting point that helped me realize the potential of technology and the field of Computer Science. As and when I got explored to various other domains, the ideas and imagination kept growing. Looking at least 10 years back, I am sure everyone would agree that technology has changed the world for the better. And it does not end here, we have more to go.
Best advice for next generation?
Always keep learning! Learn new technologies, relearn existing technologies and try your best to apply it in your work. You never know when and how that will be useful to you. In addition, keep building your professional network with people from your field. Try learning from them about how and what they do at their jobs. Never be discouraged, keep working to pursue your dreams.
Inspo quote / fun fact / role model
“In the joy of others, lies our own” - HDH Pramukh Swami Maharaj