Meet Yogesh Khanzode from Medline Industries

Presenting to you the INSAID Spotlight Budding Data Science Leader interview series. This is a series of interviews of budding data science leaders, enrolled with INSAID in different courses. These students coming from diverse backgrounds and even different fields, have rich experience in their own domains. They have interesting views to share with the world, their experience in the industry, what brought them to the field of data science and many other such interesting aspects. These interviews will enrich the readers about the insights, trends and many other related points.

In a recent conversation, we spoke to Yogesh Khanzode who is enrolled in the GCD program at INSAID.

Name: Yogesh Khanzode
Current Organisation: Medline Industries India
Total Experience: 21.4 years
Batch: Global Certificate in Data Science (GCD) February 2019

Yogesh Khanzode INSAID data science student

So, Yogesh, to start with, could you give me a brief about your educational background and professional experience?

Yogesh: I have a Master’s degree in Production Engineering. On the professional front, I am a seasoned engineering IT professional. My professional journey started from Mahindra, an automotive company, where I got the job through campus placement. But I left the job soon, to pursue my Master’s from the College of Engineering, Pune. The reason I shifted to do my Master’s was that I wanted to do something in automation and get into the field of Computer-Aided Design and Engineering (CAE).

Post my Master’s degree, I worked for several big names like Rolta India Limited, L&T and this proved my decision to pursue higher studies was a correct one. During this phase of my professional life, I got an opportunity to work with MNC clients and pick up some on-site assignments. This was my professional scenario till 2004 and it was around eight years that I worked in the engineering design and analysis area.

After that, I moved to the services sector. I wanted to have an experience of working in a product-based company so I joined Whirlpool, the leading American consumer electronics MNC that produces homecare products and home appliances. I continued with the design role here. During the long period of 14 years there, I worked on various assignments, initiatives and projects. I transitioned from my mechanical engineering background to IT background in this tenure. After some time, I started leading the IT project deliverables.

So, this is when I had a clear vision of Data Science and Data Analytics.

Currently, I’m in the data analytics field. I lead a team of data engineers and data analytics for a US company, Medline. It has got its technology center and officer center in Pune. In this company, I’m leading the Project Management Office (PMO) Data Analytics for my company, Medline.

I would definitely say that a transition did happen; how did I switch to data analytics. And, I can say that INSAID was a part of this transition and I can say this with pride.

Ankita: Was this transition the reason you chose to be in the Data Science or Data Science happened before it?

Yogesh: When I transitioned my career from the core mechanical background to engineering IT projects, it was initially only the software and engineering projects based on engineering tools, management of engineering, IT tools and overseeing the derivative of the traditional IT projects etc. When we started a team for data analytics for the company, I started overseeing this project and got interested in it as this being the futuristic area.

I got engrossed in this field and started getting an in-depth knowledge. In this process, I was overwhelmed by a lot of information on the internet. Also, the word of mouth fetched me multiple things but nothing concrete came up. This was a time when I thought I should take some focused approach and I attended Manav’s webinar. This session helped me take the decision to join the course as the approach presented in the webinar left me thinking that this course will keep me focused and instead of losing my way, I will tread the right path.

Ankita: Perfect!! What you did was a practical way to follow your passion. This is exactly how you overcome your challenges, the initial ones, which you face while transitioning to a new field. Right?

Yogesh: Yes, that’s right. If you do a research today or talk to people, you will get different answers and are tonnes of information available. But a structured way to get into this Data Science field or transition from your current profile is getting the right guidance.

Even when I was leading a project in this domain, I still felt like if I do not take structured training or for follow a focused guideline or discipline, I will not be able to sustain in this field for long. I should pull up the sleeves to do something unique and in a more disciplined way. So that’s how it is; I am on the verge of completing my INSAID course and do plan to proceed further in this industry.

Ankita: My next question to you Yogesh will be- are there any tools and packages in Data Science and machine learning that you have mastered so far?

Yogesh: As a part of my training at INSAID, I learned Tableau, Python and machine learning fundamentals. I am leading a team of Tableau developers and I have done this in the past too. So, I would say Tableau is one of the primary tools I use and have mastered as of now.

Ankita: Is there any favorite machine learning algorithm of yours?

Yogesh: Logistic regression is my favorite one. Going forward, I would also like to experiment with other algorithms as well, such as Decision Tree, Random Forest and XGBoost. Also, I would like to say build a robust prediction model for my functional area, which is project management office, so that I can predict the project status; will there be a cost overrun or a schedule slippage.

Ankita: Could you shed some light on the objectives of Data Science; how has it evolved over the last few years and what trends do you see currently, the ones that actually have the potential of becoming big in the future?

Yogesh: I am in this field for a while now; whether it is my transition to a tech company or my active social membership of the community, I believe I can surely speak on this. For instance, imagine how we used to navigate our way, a few years ago, through a fixed map, which wasn’t even accurate. But today, Google Maps has saved the day for us.

With its help, we can now get accurate predictions related to arrival time. We also get an alternate route, if there is a traffic on the usual route. All these predictions save our time. IoT, Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain are the top three trends, as per me, which are going to grow in the future.

Ankita: Yogesh, which Data Science and AI influencers do you follow and blogs that you read?

Yogesh: You know, I should say thanks to INSAID for sharing insightful information regarding the field. I read Medium blog and follow Andrew NG across social media challenges. I make sure I spend around five hours a week to read the information they share. By doing this, I see a value in it; I get to know the current trends, apart from getting to read really good articles in this space.

Ankita: At INSAID, students are encouraged to maintain high-quality GitHub profiles. Have you also built a GitHub profile? How do you think this will help you?

Yogesh: I built my GitHub profile, immediately I completed my first project. This was actually built during my course at INSAID. I have put my knowledge and learning in a consolidated way in my GitHub profile. This is your place to capture your learning and keep it at a centralized location for future reference.

Ankita: Crafting a great Data Science resume is critical part of getting shortlisted for Data Science roles. Tell us some ways in which you have improved your resume as part of Data Science Career Launchpad.

Yogesh: I did attend the Career Launchpad session and followed the tips to build my resume and LinkedIn profile. The session was extremely helpful as it guided us on how to structure the profile and what key content to put in it. As a result of attending this session and working on my profile, I now have a profile ready to make a career advancement in this space.

Ankita: As a last question, I would like to ask your advice for the freshers who wish to make a career in this field. As you are an experienced professional in this field, I would want you to share something that can be useful for a person wanting to start a career in Data Science.

Yogesh: I would like to share my secret with the freshers, which is to follow a structured learning approach and have a true aptitude towards Data Science. Make sure you follow blogs and leaders in this space. One of the most important things that they should not miss working on, is their communication skills. Articulation of your knowledge is extremely important. You may be a technically sound person, but this never translates to ignoring the communication and collaboration skills. You must know how to collaborate with the people, especially the cross-functional teams. Possessing great knowledge and soft skills are concurrently important to set your foot in this field.

Ankita: So, Yogesh, this brings me to the end of the interview. Anything that you would want to share about your journey at INSAID or any feedback that you would like to give to us.

Yogesh: I’m happy and I feel that I made the right decision to join INSAID. This has given a path, a direction to develop my career in this field. I would like to take this opportunity to wish all the best to the entire INSAID team and also because they came up with this wonderful program.

Ankita: Thank you so much Yogesh and wishing the same for you. May you achieve even greater heights. It was really nice talking to you. Have a nice day! Thank You!!

Yogesh: Thank you!!!

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