We love Fellows with diverse academic backgrounds that go beyond what companies traditionally think of when hiring Data Scientists. Abhishek was a Fellow in our Winter 2015 cohort in Washington, DC who landed a job as a Data Scientist at Samsung SDS.
Tell us about your background. How did it set you up to be a great Data Scientist?
I have a PhD in electrical and computer engineering from Lehigh University. I already had a good background in probability, statistics, and mathematical optimization that helped me in understanding the essence of data science. I was part of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department and I was working on making the Internet more secure, by developing theoretical frameworks for timing attacks on anonymous networks such as TOR.
One of the key contributions of my PhD work was that I was able to find the closed form characterization of maximum achievable anonymity in a simple Chaum Mix (the basic building blocks of an anonymous network).
One important thing that I learnt from my PhD work was how to do research. This process consists of following four parts:
- Find out an interesting problem to work on.
- Formulate the problem in a concrete mathematical framework.
- Find out the mathematical tools required to solve the problem.
- Convince your adviser and the world that you solved an important problem worth publishing in a reputed conference or journal.
This whole process allowed me to work on an unstructured problem. I had to keep my eyes open to find the problem in the domain I was working on. This whole process helped me to become a better data scientist by just changing the role a little bit. Now I keep an open eye for finding any interesting patterns in the data. Anything that is unexpected is interesting.