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Artificial Intelligence and Data Science are going to be the biggest
game-changers for the human race since the invention of the printing press and
the internet. When I see product recommendations on shopping websites,
customized advertisement on social media, accurate TV shows and movie
recommendation in streaming websites, I am astonished by the huge amount of
data and what the algorithms could achieve in helping individuals or
organizations to make better decisions and elevating the existing processes.
Apart from these data science has been extensively used in sports, healthcare,
elections, marketing etc. The use of data science is destined to become even
more extensive, wide-ranging and far-reaching. I feel enthusiastic and excited
about the use of computer science and statistics to predict and arrive at
better decisions and its impact on society. I want to contribute to this
evolution and have an influence, thus I would like to pursue a Master’s degree
in Data Science.

My father’s office had a computer and I used to go there to mostly play
games. During my high school years, my dad suggested me to learn something
instead of playing games. I started with HTML and thus my journey in Computer
Science began. The logic and creativity required to be a good programmer
intrigued me, and I discovered I had a passion for it. I secured a merit seat
in Sir M Visvesvaraya Institute of Technology majoring in Computer Science
& Engineering and it has brought me to where I am today. During my
undergraduate studies, I explored many fascinating subjects, especially
programming in C & C++, Data Structures, Design and Analysis of Algorithms,
Graph Theory, Database Management Systems. I mastered Java, Python and SQL,
along with my other undergraduate courses.

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During my third year at college, I had the chance to build an
interactive database system for the college medical center. The college
organizes an annual blood drive. With the help and guidance of the faculty
members of the Computer Science department, we built an interactive database
whose function was to keep track of valid donors among thousands of students
and organize the donor data based on availability and proximity of the donor.
It was possible to keep track of potential donors and contact them through an
SMS system, without being invasive. This experience provided an insight into
how working with data in an effective manner is necessary to gain the right
answers to solve different problems.

My first major project was done in the final semester of undergraduate
study. We were a team of three and our project was “Libra – Lightweight data skew
mitigation in MapReduce”. The project was based on a research paper which
suggested an efficient and lightweight algorithm to prevent data skew in
distributed computing models like MapReduce by sampling 20% of the dataset to
determine the type and skewness of the data. The algorithm has negligible
overhead and can speed up the execution of some popular applications by up to a
factor of 4.1. We implemented the algorithm using Java, Hadoop-MapReduce. We
used English dictionary dataset and developed a word count program using
MapReduce to demonstrate the algorithm at work. Our project was appreciated by
senior professors and external reviewers.

After acquiring my undergraduate degree, I joined Mindtree Ltd as a
Software Engineer and I was designated to work at Cisco Systems, Inc. as a
partner employee. This provided me with the opportunity to work on the latest
cutting-edge technologies and with exceptionally talented teams. My first
project involved writing python libraries to automate the testing of visual voicemails
for various IP phones of Cisco. This immensely improved my expertise in python
and taught me how to write python libraries. During the project, I got an
opportunity to participate in Cisco Hackathon and achieved 2nd runner-up place
for developing a tool in python that automated test suite management and
reduced process turnaround time by 15%. My second project involved developing a
tool using Python, Flask, matplotlib, AngualarJS and MySQL to automate the
firmware upgrade testing of Cisco servers which involved upgrading the firmware
of servers, track and collect the test statistics and generate upgrade reports.

While at Cisco, I attended a demo during a conference on cybersecurity
where they demonstrated the application of machine learning in cybersecurity
and using anomaly detection to discern unusual user activity and to detect
malicious encrypted packets by analyzing the TCP/IP header information which
fascinated me and motivated me to start acquiring skills to become a data
scientist. I started studying Andrew Ng’s machine learning course and also
completed University of Michigan’s Introduction to Data Science in Python
course in Coursera which helped me acquire knowledge on numpy, pandas,
collecting data, data cleaning and performing analysis of the data using
various datasets. I also worked on my own mini project which performs sentiment
analysis on tweets of celebrities which involved collecting celebrity details
by crawling IMDb using beautifulsoup4, connecting to Twitter’s API using tweepy
and finding polarity of a tweets using textblob and nltk.

Data Science is playing a more and more important role in decision
making, future marketing and business which encourages me to finalize my future
focus of learning and on my career goal of becoming a data scientist. With this
goal in mind, I decided to study in a school that provides technical skills,
professional skills, hands-on experience, networking and internship
opportunities needed to be successful in a business setting. After thorough
research, I have decided to pursue Master of Science in Data Science at Northeastern
University. I am determined to gain in-depth knowledge of Statistical Analysis
& Modeling, a rigorous understanding of Machine Learning Algorithms for
building predictive models and data visualization from the program.

I am hardworking, a quick learner and have sound knowledge of Computer
Science fundamentals, Java and Python. The guidance of remarkable faculty from
the College of Computer and Information Science and Department of Electrical
and Computer Engineering in the College of Engineering would enable me to build
on my interests, offering me the foundation on which to conduct ground-breaking
projects. I believe I would make an excellent contribution to the program at
your esteemed university and eventually be a successful data scientist. I am
aware that the path ahead demands dedication and focused effort which I will
put in to shine at your university and hope that I will be regarded as a
prospective student. I truly look forward to an exciting and fulfilling time at
Northeastern University.

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