By - Swapneel Panda, Board Infinity Alumni

My Career Background

Up to my 12th grade, I was pretty good at studies.

I was scoring 90%, my parents had high expectations from me and everyone was happy.

When I appeared for my engineering entrance exam, I got good grades which allowed me to apply for the #1 college in Orissa. I was about to lock in for the computer science degree, but 2 of my uncles (who work in the Civil background) advised me against it.

You know how some older people are, they just don’t trust technology.

Similarly, my relatives were a bit skeptical about the tech industry and told me to go for a core field like Mechanical instead, which would always be evergreen.

There’s also another factor that in Orissa, we don’t get a lot of government jobs in the tech sector… Most of the government jobs are usually in core engineering branches like electrical, mechanical, civil, etc.

To be honest, I was never into it.

I just didn’t see myself working as an engineer on some bridge drawings or working on a site wearing a safety helmet. I had always imagined myself working for a big tech firm.

I had always imagined myself working for a big tech firm, going into a corporate building, working on my laptop, being in a professional corporate environment, stuff like that.

Due to peer pressure from my family, I finally joined the mechanical stream. Looking back, I think I should’ve listened to my heart instead.

I didn’t score good marks in my first semester, and my parents were extremely surprised. But I knew the reason, I just wasn’t interested in learning about the mechanical field, it just didn’t feel like my cup of tea.

One day it just hit me, I had already taken the admission, I had to spend 4 years in this field anyway, so there was no point sulking about it now. I decided that in my coming semesters, I would give my 100%.

So, I just went on with my course, completed my 4 years in college with good grades. I even managed to secure a job at Tech Mahindra.

Turing Point

I worked at Tech Mahindra for about 6-7 months and even received a few performance incentives within that period. I was good at my job, my team was happy, my boss was happy, but I just wasn’t.

I knew that something needed to change!

One fine day, I was scrolling through Instagram and I stumbled across Board Infinity’s page. This is where I first read about Data Science.

I went through their website, blog, social media… Everything I could possibly find on the internet. After researching for about a month & receiving 2-3 counselling calls… I had the feeling that they were a legitimate company and I could trust them.

Meanwhile, I was also doing more research in the field of Data Science.

I spoke to a few of my elder sisters, and coincidentally one of them was working as a Data Scientist in Mumbai. I hopped on a phone call with her and she gave me a detailed explanation of what actually data science is.

I was hooked. The timing just couldn’t have been more perfect. I knew that I needed to dive deeper into this field.

Now, I had a greater challenge in front of me: I had to convince my parents that I wanted to quit my job to pursue a completely different field.

You know how most Indian parents are, they are just very skeptical about technology and online classes in general. My parents thought the same when I told them about Board Infinity.

My father was 100% sure that he was going to get scammed for the money. He would rather pay and send me for an offline course than for an online course, he was that skeptical.

But I just didn’t want to go for an offline course because there are so many factors involved there... Like going into a new environment, settling in, etc. In that scenario, it would be harder for me to give my 200% to learn a completely new subject.

Finally, after a lot of convincing, I managed to get my parents on board with the idea of leaving my current job to take a data science course. I even promised my dad that I would return the money to him (by taking up a job) in case we did get scammed.

Gladly, we didn’t.

My Learning Experience

Now, another challenge that I had to face was the questions from all my relatives.

I just made up my mind that this is something that I will have to listen to for the next 6 months and I had to overcome these obstacles if I wanted to reach my goals. I had to prove something to my parents, relatives, and I knew that I had to study hard. I couldn’t let their comments affect my mindset or my career growth.

I was fully prepared to give my 200% in learning about data science & securing a good job in the field.

I knew that I couldn’t just rely on Board Infinity to get me a job. They would give me multiple placement offers, but I would be the one who actually had to crack the interview… Nobody will do it for me. I knew that.

On January 18th, we had our first introductory lecture. I still remember the date because it was that amazing for me.

Through this lecture, Coach Rahim Baig managed to increase my interest in data science even further. After that class, I was just completely satisfied and sure that I had taken the right decision.

During this lecture, he said that data science is a combination of business skills, coding skills and mathematical skills. This gave me some relief because I already had good mathematical skills and a good sense of business. The only thing left was the coding part, which I had absolutely 0 knowledge about.

Finally, the classes started and I was excited to start learning coding and data science.

To my surprise, they started teaching us Excel on the first day. I was very confused. I had not invested my time and money to learn Excel, I could’ve done that through YouTube.

But according to the coach, it was a part of strengthening our foundations for the future modules of the course. Kind of like when you learn the alphabets (a, b, c, d) -- We had to start by perfecting the fundamentals of Excel.

After 3 months, we had finished about 4 modules (Excel, Tableau, SQL and Math), and this is when we first started learning about coding in Python.

How I learned Coding

When we started learning Python, I was at the edge of my nerves. I saw the interface and was just taken aback because I hadn’t seen anything like that before.

I had performed well in the previous modules, but none of that involved coding. Most of the other students in my batch came from a computer science background and this made me very under motivated and anxious in my ability to learn how to code.

I just thought I wouldn’t really be able to cope up with my other batch mates. I was wrong.

The way our coach (Priyank Thakur) started teaching us from scratch and explaining each and everything in detail. It really boosted my confidence to another level. I took the necessary resources from him and practiced for a week or two straight until I got the confidence that I could code.

After a few lectures, we finished Python and received our assignments. I would say this was the defining moment for me.

A lot of my batch mates were already discussing the answers, and I hadn’t even started… I was about 5 days late because I was busy perfecting the fundamentals of coding.

I started solving the assignments by myself. Whenever I had a doubt, I would reach out to the coach or student support directly.

The amazing thing is, whenever I messaged Priyank Thakur sir, he would get back to me within 30 minutes with the answers to my questions.

The student support was also just amazing.

Irrespective of the time that I messaged, whether it was 12 AM or 6 AM… My program manager would always give me a reply.

Because of such high-quality student support… You also get a boost that if these guys are putting so much effort into your career growth so why shouldn’t you?

After this, we also had a Python exam which was being conducted in 3 slots.

In the first slot, I scored about 20/40. In the second slot, I scored 22/40. I was getting worried, I had to score well, so I sought out some help from my program manager and coach… They gave me some more learning resources and encouraged me to keep practicing.

In the third slot, I managed to score 35/40 and that was a moment of relief for me.

After this, we moved on to the machine learning part of the course where Sonal Ghanshani ma’am was just brilliant. She provided us with resources that we could refer to and also taught us very well. Due to her, I was able to perform well in machine learning too.

Then we had a hackathon and I just loved that experience as well.

Right now, we have another hackathon coming up and I’m diligently preparing for that.

Throughout this entire 6 month journey, I’m truly grateful to all the people from the Board Infinity team who believed in me and kept pushing me… Even when I didn’t believe in myself.

I didn’t know anything about coding, but now I can build machine learning models, code in Python, etc. I even have 10-12 datasets that I can upload to my LinkedIn, Kaggle or GitHub.

My Placement Process

Even after I’ve reached a stage where I’m performing well, members from the Board Infinity team keep contacting me to help me stay on track and perform consistently. They keep reminding me to maintain my Kaggle, GitHub and LinkedIn to secure a good placement.

All of this consistent support is what keeps boosting me up to push even further.

I’m really looking forward to the placement sessions, mock interviews, soft skills sessions, etc. I sat for multiple interviews and with the support from Board Infinity team and coaches I got placed at ConvertCart as a Business Analyst.

One last thing…

I didn’t expect that I would get this much amount of support from a private institution. Especially with the whole online learning format. I had read their reviews online, but it was hard to believe that they were providing this much amount of support to students… Until I actually experienced it myself.

I would definitely recommend all my friends to join Board Infinity if they’re looking to learn Data Science.


Connect With Me

That was my journey in the field of data science. If you would like to connect with me to discuss about Board Infinity Learning Path. You can fill this form. "Connect with Board Infinity Alumni"

Watch Career Pe Charcha

Watch episode featuring me here - https://www.instagram.com/tv/CJdb_tnBcdF/

You can also watch fellow learner experiences on Career Pe Charcha live series on Board Infinity's Instagram Page.