Parag: “It’s Possible For Anyone To Launch a Data Science Career” – LEAD Stories

Nov 26, 2019

With over 20 years of IT experience in solution architecture, management and data – we’re caught up with Parag Rane to learn more from his experience as an IT veteran.

Dubbed as a integral leader and with his spirit of continuos learning, we wanted to share his story with you.

Where do you currently work at?

“My journey into this world started with my Master’s thesis studying and implementing statistical, heuristic analysis to a treatment plant and building an application to achieve optimal coefficients for the working of a treatment plant.”

“It launched me into the world of applied engineering and software design and development.”

“I am currently on a sabbatical after having worked for twenty years in various roles and capacities. I mostly worked at technology companies starting as a programmer and then moved into other senior roles such as architect, project manager, delivery and operations manager, portfolio and program management for data governance, quality and business intelligence”

Sounds like a lot. What keeps you busy when you’re not working?

“When I am not working, you can find me painting, travelling, reading, hiking, playing the drums, attending music concerts or theatrical performances.”

How does a day in your work life look like? 

We would imagine back-to-back meetings being in the fast-lane working with technology.

“Well, it’s lots of meetings sprinkled with lots of email communications, conversations with my colleagues around the projects and programs we are working on, and sometimes if time permits table tennis or badminton matches at the company.”

How did IT & technology changed through your time working with it?

“When I started working, it was the dot.com boom years and things moved fast, or so we thought.”

“Nowadays, technology and services that we have come to depend on have progressed so far that “IT and technology” no longer matter as gating factors (constraints) for any company to get going.”

“If you have an idea (e.g. startup) it is so much easier to prototype and launch things. The human factors and skills have become far more important and are often highlighted in their importance even during the hiring process, not to mention the daily corporate existence.”

What’s something interesting you could share from the security field?

“Being on the security company’s payroll, we all learned to be vigilant in the digital world and often heard stories regarding how the cyber world is fraught with risks and how our companies helped mitigate those risks.”

“Again, the human factor is the weakest link in the security setup and should not be underestimated.”

“What I remember is having to take training around security, compliance at a greater frequency than most companies would mandate for their employees. Ah, those fun days of mandatory training!”

What made you join Data Science 360?

When you attended the class, most of us recognized you as an industry veteran. We admire your tenacity and desire to continue upskilling yourself. Tell us more about that.

Data Science 360, helped me gain a better understanding of the practices used for data analysis, mining, exploration, visualization.”


“The class exposed me to new methods and ways of doing things (we had already done our fair share of it using different tools and techniques).”

“The power of going back to learn new ways of doing the same or similar things is that we gain deeper insights into the past and extract new meanings from our specific domains while branching out further into new applications for the understanding.”

Your key takeaways from the data science program?

“I think it is possible for anyone to learn and launch their career in Data Science.  There are many roles one can aspire for, depending on their interests.”

“I felt the data science program exposes one to the possibilities and provides a realistic glimpse into what it would entail. Sort of like a mentor on steroids!”

“The program gives a wonderful overview of the data science landscape and a framework to work within your mind and know where each piece fits.”

“Overall, I would call it a good launchpad to learn data science and allows for deeper dive into each specific subject area, especially in machine learning, AI, data crunching, modelling and visualization.”

“Even though the material is very comprehensive and all-encompassing, Dr Lau and his team somehow managed to make it accessible and relevant with specific and actual use cases and solutions for them.”

Read more: Learn more about Data Science 360

What are your plans to take what you’ve learnt, e.g. Python programming further?

One of the goals set by the instuctor during the data science course is to leave participants with actionable learnings that they can use in the workplace. How are you planning to make use of what you’ve learnt?

“I now know how my team would work, what they would be doing and how long it would take them to achieve their goals. This gives me a good understanding of the workload, ability to estimate efforts and manage costs as a program and portfolio manager for any data science initiative.”

“Being in a managerial role, it’s important to understand the technical work carried out by your team. That was my personal goal to learn from the program.”

In what ways do you think Python will be useful for data science?

“What I learned from the program gives me confidence that Python can be used very effectively (cost and efforts-wise) for even structured data analysis, mining in conjunction with other data analysis and visualization tools.

Automating tasks, workflows, data integration and analysis, business intelligence is just some of the very areas that jump right to my mind.  I know there are many more, especially in the security landscape where it would be beneficial from application and infrastructure management. Possibly, building in-house tools with it to do the same.”

Read More: Should you pick up Python as a second language?

What do you think the data/IT industry will look like in the future?

“It will be an increasing and speedier amalgamation of technologies and disciplines and the lines of expertise will be increasingly blurred. We have some new ways of thinking (even philosophically speaking, there are many but just to name one, e.g. blockchain – and how the trust works) that will be impacting data and IT withing any domain (healthcare, fintech, manufacturing, education etc).”

Your advice for individuals looking to enter the industry? 

We try encouraging people to pick up new skills. And one good reason is because the ‘shelf-life’ of our skills are getting shorter. Blame it on the fast-moving technological world, but what as a industry vet, what is your advice for other people?

“Firstly, have a curious mind. In the beginning it may be difficult to find joy in your work, but stick to it for some time at least and as you learn more, know more, experience more – the knowledge growth will be exponential. It’s then you’ll begin to enjoy that journey you’ve started.”

“Secondly, we’ll never get it all done or know everything. That is actually the exciting part of launching yourself into the career of data science and technology. The promise of such a career is a constant evolution, learning and satisfaction of applying what you learn at a fast pace.”

Take Action: Learn data science and build a portfolio in 6 weeks.

What makes a good data scientist?

“A data scientist is a jack of all trades and master of some. One who has a holistic view towards data and brings to bear different disciplines in the practice of leveraging various data science tools and techniques, no matter the domain the data belongs to – with a goal to gain valuable insights that will impact a business.”

“A good data scientist must also be a good story-teller because the insights have to be communicated effectively for them to take root and have an impact, propel to action.”

If you could send a message to yourself 10 years ago, what would you tell the younger Parag? 

“Stay hungry, stay curious and let go of perfection…enjoy the journey.”

We hope this interview with Parag gave you good insights and open up some areas for thoughts. What are the challenges you face in your journey of picking up data science?

Let us know in the comment section below.

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