Archana, what is your background?
I’m from India, currently living in California, the US. I started my career as a business analyst for insurance and wealth management applications. During that phase, I got an opportunity to work on data warehouse projects. Then, I started loving to work with data. Later, I had to take a long break from my career to take care of my kids and support my family. I always wanted to continue to work. So, I decided to get on track again and update myself with the new technology. It was about 1.5 years back that I started self-learning from various online resources and by attending free courses and webinars. This time, I had a clear goal to work towards data analysis and visualization, so I focused on tools like Microsoft Power BI, Tableau, SQL, and Python. I had never done coding before and took it as a challenge to learn Python. Online platforms like freeCodeCamp and DataCamp were very useful.
During this learning phase, I came to know about Omdena through my friend, and I was very interested in joining. Finally, I’ve become a part of the Omdena community.
What is your achievement?
Getting into the data science field was far from my imagination when I started exploring data analysis, but eventually, I took the courage to start learning about it. The best thing I did was to join a course by Omdena School and learn the concepts and then apply them to real data. And from then on, the journey began. I moved from being a junior ML engineer to a lead ML engineer just with my first Omdena project: Using AI to Find Correlation Between Symptoms, Triggers, and Morbidity for Hashimoto’s Disease. That was my most significant achievement after so many years!
Some of the projects Archana took part in:
Omdena team of 50 AI changemakers worked in close collaboration with the GoFintel project, to undertake the challenge of engineering a model to correlate data from financial, criminal, and other records to identify, prevent, and counter the financing of terrorism.
- Modeling Food Web and Forecasting Population for Endangered Wildlife Species
- Facilitating access to financial services for underserved populations in Africa
Build your portfolio with real-world projects from Omdena
How did the Omdena experience help in your work career?
Omdena experience has shown me the path towards achieving my goal, which is to start a new career in the field of my interest. I was very reluctant, in the beginning, to join the core challenges as I needed more experience in the data science field. But my friend had highly encouraged and pushed me to give it a try. I joined Omdena school first to learn the concepts and then joined the core challenge; this boosted my confidence, and I loved the collaborative learning experience. I will continue to be a part of Omdena and contribute as much as possible.
The other great experience I had in Omdena was the chance to work in the healthcare domain. While thinking about shifting my career to data analysis and data science, I was more interested in getting into the healthcare domain. The data in healthcare is huge and available in various forms. Actually, it will be challenging to understand the data without any prior experience. So right from my first Omdena school course and the core challenges, I have been focusing on healthcare projects, and the experience has been amazing. In addition, I got my first job offer as a market research analyst!
How did it change your worldview, and what was the biggest obstacle you overcame?
I overcame my biggest obstacle, which was my self-doubt; being a stay-at-home mom for so long and not having a chance to interact with other people from the professional network.
I had a fear somewhere that I might not be able to face people again and be able to do what others were doing. But I realized that learning from others, listening to them, and sharing ideas will be a great experience. This was the best part of Omdena, and it really helped me to see myself as a more confident person, and to realize that my learning journey would continue. I am now able to guide others and help those who want to try something new and shift or advance their careers.
Would you like to share any additional thoughts for future Omdena collaborators?
I would like to share the following thoughts with them:
- Never shy away from asking for help and learning from others. This way, we can always guide each other and work best as a community. I first learned this from my LinkedIn community during my data analysis learning.
- Never be reluctant to try something new. You won’t learn unless you do it practically.