Interview with Abhishek Thakur
Chief Data Scientist
World’s First 4x Kaggle Grand Master, Author, YouTuber
Stavanger, Rogaland, Norway
Q1. Please share your inspirational journey?
My journey started from NIT Surat in India, where I did my bachelors in electronics engineering. During the bachelors, I was lucky enough to get an internship under Dr. Nasir Rajpoot in University of Warwick, England. This was my first exposure to machine learning. I was always interested in computer science and decided to do MSc in computer science.
I joined University of Bonn, Germany and started my masters with focus on image processing and I worked at Fraunhofer Institute as a student and my job was related to OCR and microcontrollers. It was in Fraunhofer that I got interested in machine learning and data science.
You can also learn more about my journey in a video that I have made: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z15TKkAPNUM
Q2. What did attract you towards Data Science?
The attraction and my inclination towards data science and machine learning started because of my friends who worked with me at Fraunhofer. They were working with natural language processing and neural networks. I found their work very fascinating and started learning machine learning on my own. I found a website called Kaggle which helped me a lot in learning machine learning and data science.
Q3. You did engineering in Electronics. What kind of hurdles did you face to become one of the world’s greatest Data Scientist?
First of all, calling me one of the world’s greatest data scientists would be an exaggeration. I consider myself a student. There is a lot to learn and accomplish and I am not there yet. There were many hurdles. First and foremost was no knowledge of computer science. I didn’t know coding or let’s say I was very bad at it. It was difficult for me to grasp the concepts of computer science but with time and hard-work it started to look easy.
Q4. You are the world’s first Kaggle Quadruple Grand Master. How have you achieved this Milestone?
If I had to answer this question in one word, I would say, perseverance. A never-ever-give-up attitude and learning from the solutions of best data scientists helped me a lot.
Q5. How do you motivate yourself every morning?
I don’t have any kind of regime. I am excited by the fact that everyday is an opportunity to learn something new and share it with the world.
Q6. Recently you launched your book “Approaching (Almost) Any Machine Learning Problem”. Please Share something about it and how it is different?
Approaching (Almost) Any Machine Learning Problem is not a traditional book. It is a code heavy book that dives into applied machine learning and data science with good coding practises. The book starts from setting up an environment for working and goes deep into feature engineering for categorical and numerical features. I talk about hyperparameter optimization and feature selection.
I also talk about how one should arrange their machine learning projects. And not only that, I dive a little bit into image based problems and natural language processing and close the book with how one can create reproducible models and distribute their code. There are many things in the book you won’t find in traditional books. The best way to get the most out of the book is to code-along. I also made the book much cheaper so that many people can afford it. If you don’t like coding, you shouldn’t buy the book.
Abhishek Thakur Book can be bought from Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Approaching-Almost-Machine-Learning-Problem/dp/8269211508
Q7. You are a role model of every young Data Science aspirant. Who is your source of Motivation?
I’m thankful to the kindness of the community if they feel this way. My major source of motivation is to learn something new everyday. That’s the only thing that keeps me going. Once the learning stops, things get boring.
Q8. You are running a YouTube channel on Data Science and Machine Learning. What is your main purpose before making any new video?
Main purpose and motivation of any new video is to teach the world what I have found to be useful. My channel focuses on applied machine learning and data science and is code-heavy. I faced a lot of problems when I started with machine learning and data science and I wish there were more tutorials on applied parts of machine learning. So, I make tutorials which are applied and I hope people will find it useful. You can find my YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/AbhishekThakurAbhi
Get more about Abhishek Thakur @
Abhishek Thakur YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBPRJjIWfyNG4X-CRbnv78A
My Journey: How I Became The First 4x Grand Master on Kaggle: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z15TKkAPNUM