Advitya Gemawat: Unparalleled opportunities and exposure
An aspiring Data Scientist, I am a UC San Diego student in Data Science with anticipated graduation in 2021. I came as a Structural Engineering major and came across the Data Science major during the summer before starting college. Apart from taking the recommended classes for deciding the major, I took several online courses from DataCamp related to Python, R and SQL for Data Science which sparked my interested in the field and work. I had also done a project about analyzing data of the Vienna General Hospital recorded in the 1850s that led to the discovery of ‘hand-washing’, which got my interest into Data Science even further and soon I could see myself working, collaborating and contributing in the field of Analytics.
METRIM DATA: In the winter quarter of my freshman year, I joined a start-up called ‘Metrim Data’ (under a start-up generator called AlchemyX) for a Data Science role. With our mission to make the web information more understandable, I have been involved with a variety of projects from finding trends in the #dillydilly movement and detecting ‘controversy’ in statements to finding complaints in people’s comments and developing functioning chatbots. I have been working with the start-up since March 2018 and have learnt loads of Analytics and Machine Learning-related skills in the process.
Since the beginning of my work, I have gotten the opportunity to interact, collaborate and learn with a closely-knit community of highly motivated individuals. I personally believe working in a start-up environment is one of the most enriching things to start out with, because there’s a great deal of technical and soft skills that can be learnt with the same. And I think joining Metrim has been one of the best decisions I have made in college.
FIDELITY INTERNATIONAL: In the summer after my freshman year, I was a Data Science Intern at Fidelity International. My work involved automating the extraction and topic-classification processes of very specific pieces of financial information in U.S. companies’ filings. I was involved in spearheading the construction of systems and pipelines that intensively involved Web Scraping, Information Retrieval, Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Multi-Class Text Classification to leverage the power of Data Science and provide better insights as part of Investment Research processes.
Interning with a large company like Fidelity really allowed me to develop a massive amount of varied skill sets and enabled me to approach complex projects with multiple requirements in a very systematic fashion, where I developed the confidence to lead the data pipeline engineering mechanisms and ensure that all the systems talk to each other in the entire process. With my work and perspectives in terms of collaborating with full-time employees and driving decisions to go about specific problems, I also got the opportunity to give a Data Science Talk in front of the project team, talking about my experiences here at UC San Diego and my perspectives on Data Science as a rapidly emerging field. The very notion that my work would be part of a real-life project that a multinational corporation would be moving into production to maintain its commitments and enhance its services to its consumers was a very satisfying feeling for me.
ON DATA SCIENCE & UC SAN DIEGO: I strongly believe that the beauty of a *phenomenon* like Data Science is that people are doing a basic form of it without even knowing it, as its applications are endless. Even as a Structural Engineering major while taking its first class, I had labs every week where we performed experiments in teams and one of my primary responsibilities was the collect the generated data and use excel for (what I know now) happens to be basic forms of Data Cleaning, Manipulation and Visualization. Especially as an undergraduate *Data Science* major specifically seeking a *Data Science* Internship with prior *Data Science*-related experiences to showcase, I have been reached out and shortlisted by companies as a sophomore for internship positions even when those companies would tend to have policies to only consider juniors and seniors. Apart from the major’s robust and specialized coursework that helped me a lot, I personally believe the college has amazing hands-on learning opportunities along with a wide range of companies coming on-campus for information and recruitment opportunities that made this all the more possible.
As an international student from India, coming to UC San Diego was my first time in the U.S.. I was 17 years old when I went 10,000 miles away from pretty much everyone I ever knew in my life, to a diametrically opposite end of the Earth. It wasn’t the easiest decision, but I believe it was definitely worth the unparalleled opportunities and exposure I have had here in this college!