Demystifying Data Science and its career opportunities: Takeaways from the Great Learning Masterclass


Much has been said about the great Indian tech skill gap and the urgent need to bridge it, with India being on course towards becoming an IT superpower. When it comes to the tech skilling landscape, data analysis is taking centre stage in India’s growth story as AI, ML, IoT, Deep Science and related technologies lead the potential for future innovation and growth. With nearly 97,000 vacancies, India is the second-biggest analytics jobs hub after the US, a recent study by skilling platform Great Learning revealed. The figure is poised to more than double to two lakh by 2020. India now also accounts for one in ten advanced analytics job openings in the world. If ever there was a gold rush for data scientist jobs, India would be at the heart of it.

These statistics set the stage for the Data Science Masterclass by Great Learning presented by Prashant Ramappa, Principal, Data Science of AT&T together with Saransh Sharma - AGM - Enterprise - Great Learning at TechSparks 2019.

Drawing from his own career narrative and the role of upskilling in his journey to becoming Principal at AT&T’s Data Science and predictive analytics team, Prashant began by underscoring the importance of continuous learning with a quote by global training specialist Brian Tracy, who said, ‘Continuous learning is the minimum requirement for success.’ “Given the current dynamic, Prashant added, “to stay relevant and competitive, it's important to equip yourself with every kind of learning, not just the kind that keeps you on pace and prevents you from falling behind, but also the kind that adds knowledge and skills to your repertoire that you did not have before.”

Talking about the top skills for 2019, Prashant explained how cloud computing, UX design, mobile application development, Natural Language Progression (NLP), AI, Data Science and Scientific Computing were leading the skill demand, and how there were overlaps with the skill profiles.

Expanding on the importance of Data Science among these skills sets, Prashant went on to talk about how India was on a progressive trend when it came to adopting these emerging technologies.

“Organisations from almost all industries are hiring data science experts in India to help them garner insights from big data. There has been a sharp increase in the demand for highly-skilled professionals and the companies are on a constant lookout for talented persons who can fill the gap,” he added. “However, there seems to be a lot of questions regarding this profession. Discussion forums, articles and blogs are full of queries where aspirants, professionals and general folk want to know more about what goes into being a data scientist.”

With Data Science now being integrated with industries across all sectors, data experts are expected to have a broader set of skills as employers expected more cohesive specialisation and collaboration. He added that apart from a working knowledge of maths and statistics, the key skills crucial for a data scientist’s role included a thorough knowledge of Python, an in-depth knowledge of Hadoop and a working knowledge of Tableau, Bower BI, MongoDB, Spark, Hadoop, RStudio were also key skill sets in the Data Science skill matrix.

Prashant also explained how analytical reasoning straddled all roles of Data Science regardless of whether it was a strategy-lead business-facing role or a tech-led role of a Data Scientist or Engineer, covering all competencies from business leadership and context to programming, and project and database management.

Career paths in Data Science

Prashant also helped demystify the different roles and career paths within Data Science for the audience by elaborating on the five most common career paths available to help the audience understand the nuances within the field, and tailor their Data Science skilling accordingly. The five most common paths are:

  1. Data Engineer
  2. Data Analyst
  3. Data Scientist
  4. AI & Deep Learning
  5. Strategy Roles in Analytics

How to get there: Great Learning’s Data Science and Analytics program

Having begun with a mechanical engineering degree and a 15-year-plus career in data warehousing, Prashant’s search for a career upgrade led him to the PGBABI course with Great Learning, which he chose over an MBA, a choice he claims was instrumental in helping him reach his current role.

Building on what Prashant said, Saransh Sharma of Great Learning introduced the team, and spoke about how it runs India’s number one analytics programme and expanded on their other key metrics including their 700+ mentor list, their 250+ client list, their 50+ top-tier faculty pool and the distinction of having upskilled over 13000+ working professionals successfully. He also spoke about their prestigious international academia affiliations which included Great Lakes Institute of Management, The University of Texas at Austin, Stanford Graduate School of Business and Purdue University.

Expanding on their comprehensive Data Science and Analytics programme, formerly known as Business Analytics & Business Intelligence, PGP-BABI, Saransh explained how it helps working professionals learn even without having any prior coding knowledge with a combination of offline, online and blended in-class approach. He also spoke about how the course subjects were covered in a practical and hands-on manner with real-world case studies to enable participants to succeed in Business and Data Strategist roles using Data Analytics. The PGP-DSBA has been ranked No.1 in India by AIM for the last four years. UT Austin McCombs' MS in Business Analytics is ranked No.2 in the world by QS World University Rankings 2018.

Saransh Sharma also shared key insights from Great Learning's experience of running India's largest fresher on-boarding programme. He further added the exponential rise in lateral talent development requirements for organisations and the resultant business outcomes that organisations are able to achieve.

After briefly addressing a few audience questions, Saransh wrapped up the masterclass with an invitation to visit their website and connect with the team offline to learn more.

YourStory's annual extravaganza TechSparks brings together the best and the brightest from the startup ecosystem, corporate world, policymakers and, of course, the investor community. Over the past decade, TechSparks has grown to become India's most loved tech and startup platform for knowledge sharing and networking. A big thank you for all your support over the years and a big shoutout to our sponsors.


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