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      August 29, 2022

      Career Journey to be Data Scientist

      First Data Science exposure:

      Although during college days in India, I had heard about Cloud computing and Artificial Intelligence, but I barely knew the way ahead. Before I put my mind into those terminologies, I was recruited by an IT company. Being Systems Engineer, I worked on IT Software, but I didn’t have an idea about Machine learning applications.

      However, back then (about 8 years), it was unclear to me about a sustainable journey ahead for me. Therefore, I applied for the Masters “Embedded Systems” in Germany. Since my background was Electronics and Communication engineering, I didn’t even consider applying for master’s in data science.

      However, after coming to Germany as a Student, although it was 180-degree cultural shift, I was exposed to possibilities in Machine learning/Data Science initially via online courses. Then I was motivated by this interesting topic to an extent that I cleared almost all subjects within the first year of master’s degree and focused mostly into learning/applying Data Science via Research project (Classifying human actions from Microsoft Kinect data) at the Technical University of Chemnitz, Internship and Master thesis about Clustering automotive data in a company in Brunswick.

      Job @ first sight:

      On the way back from a job interview in Munich, I met a Continental employee in the train and shared with him about my interest and experience in machine learning field. Fortunately, he valued my enthusiasm and instantly started technical round on ICE (Inter City Express) train. About a week later, I had a job interview. There was no job opening at Continental yet, but I was able to work for a service provider for Continental.

      Fortunately in 2018, there was an opening for Data Engineer position for which I went through the Continental interview process. Then my exciting journey as internal employee at Continental began: Working cross-functionally at Tires, I contributed to many business decisions and automation for which I applied data science concepts and programming. During the pandemic, I moved to Group Function as Data Scientist with which I learnt and applied Machine learning and Natural Language Processing techniques (NLP).

      Often I joke about myself “I was in selling (tires) business for first 2 years and now for more than 2 years in buying (raw material) business”. Thanks to Continental for such a wide opportunity.

      Continental opportunities to learn data science:

      Conti, being an employer to nearly 200k employees across the globe, has a vision to be data-driven company and gave many opportunities to upskill their employees via programs such as

      1. Online learning platforms such as LinkedIn learning, Coursera and aCloudGuru
      2. Software academy initiatives with which we get exposed to Amazon Web Services learning resources
      3. Enterprise Skills Initiative with which we can take Microsoft Certifications for free
      4. Quali-guide, internal experts who guide employees to bridge the skill gap

      Additionally, while I was working for Tires, my manager had sent me for R Studio conference in California, USA. This was an amazing exposure to meet celebrities like Hadley Wickham (https://hadley.nz/) who contribute extensively to data science.

      Culture @ Conti:

      Despite being 150+ years legacy company and a Fortune500 company, there is no racism and barely any hierarchy in the company. Also, there are many opportunities provided to connect/engage with Employee’s family/friends such as

      1. Hannover marathons
      2. Sommerfest (Summer party)
      3. Employee Assistance Programs, assists employees with personal/work related challenges

      Tips for budding Data Science enthusiasts:

      I aspire to lead Data Science projects and I’m also excited to share my experience via ambassador program, meanwhile I urge you to participate in

      1. Data Science meetups in your surroundings, this is a great way to connect/grow community
      2. Workshops or even Conferences to meet experts in the field
      3. Hackathons (https://www.continental.com/en/career/information-and-contact/events/fiction2science/)
      4. Kaggle competitions (https://www.kaggle.com/ ), real world data challenges with exciting opportunity to win prize or at least learn from others

      I thank Continental for the opportunity to share my experience. Please feel free to reach me at https://www.linkedin.com/in/abhishekhp/ for further discussions.

      This article was written by our employee.

      Abhishek Honnavalli Puttaiah

      Data Scientist

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