Sunil Ayyappan

Senior Technical Program Manager (AI), LinkedIn

From:   San Francisco, CA
Course:   Data Science Career Track
Before Springboard:   Technical Program Manager, Citi
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The idea of a real data scientist monitoring your progress week by week made the course more effective.

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What were you doing before Springboard?

I have completed my master’s in computers and I was working for Citi as a technical program manager. Overall, I had 16 years of experience in programming, managing, and leadership. I became interested in data science when I read about how Netflix has customized their artwork based on the taste of the member. A member who watches many movies featuring Uma Thurman would likely respond positively to the artwork for Pulp Fiction that contains Uma. Meanwhile, a fan of John Travolta may be more interested in watching Pulp Fiction if the artwork features John. That's the power of data and machine learning. It slowly gets into your mind without you knowing it and that's why I wanted to learn data science.

Why did you choose to learn with Springboard?

Mentorship, which is what separated Springboard from its competitors. The idea of a real data scientist monitoring your progress week by week made the course more effective. My mentor helped me in focusing on the right things from the start and I knew from the beginning what I wanted to get out of this course.

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Doing everything per the curriculum will not get you the job. You need to learn, prepare, practice, and repeat until you get the job you want.

What was your learning experience like?

Overall, the experience was awesome. The overall curriculum was excellent. Even though most of its materials can be found online, the way it was sequenced really did matter. A mini-project at the end of every chapter made it more effective for revising and the capstone project really gave us a glimpse of what was expected out of a data scientist. The mentor was great. We had weekly calls and I set up the agenda well before the call, which really makes the call more effective and lets him focus on where I need help.

What was the most challenging part?

I didn't face any challenge. I completed the course in two months and I believe that's the record time so far.

What was your capstone project?

I did a capstone project on the Indian Premier League to predict who home wins in IPL 2018 and helping out the team select the playing XI. I also did a Twitter sentiment analysis on the game day.

What are you up to now?

I currently work as a senior technical program manager (artificial intelligence) for LinkedIn.

What advice do you have for those considering online learning?

Doing everything per the curriculum will not get you the job. You need to learn, prepare, practice, and repeat until you get the job you want. Be prepared for a long process and do not give up until you achieve what you wanted.

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