Principal Data Scientist, Kaggle Grandmaster
Polymath, Corporate and Faculty Training Programs
Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
Q1. Please share your inspirational journey with us?
I excelled in academics, sports and extracurricular activities during my school and engineering days. I was a national level athlete and represented my state twice in National Games. Post my engineering my career revolved around Quantitative Finance .Back then my dream was to become a CFA charter holder. My interest in Finance drove me to complete an executive specialization in “Financial Engineering and Risk Management” from Columbia University with top honors.
I am a great fan of Professor Jonah Berger’s work which piqued my interest in the field of marketing. Around the time, the steam of Data Science was slowly picking up and I was curious to know about the applications of Data Science in the field of marketing which drove me to complete my micromasters in Marketing Analytics from University of California, Berkeley.
I am a strong advocate of Neurodiversity and always had a strong inclination towards psychology and Life Sciences. My curiosity led me to complete a number of specializations in psychology and also an executive specialization in Life Sciences from Harvard University. I was fortunate to collaborate with several highly skilled and renowned scientists to work on projects in the interface of Genomics and Data Science.
Q2. Tell us about your morning routine?
My morning routine starts with a high intense workout followed by journaling the list of things to do for the entire day. Post that I spend around 30 minutes practising mindfulness meditation. I spend an hour daily learning new things which is not related to my work. I do not access any social media during the first three hours of my day.
Q3. How Data Science is useful for Life Science?
Data Science has huge applications in life science and the advancements in the computational power has propelled research and progress in several promising areas. Neuromarketing is an evolving field where unconscious responses to marketing stimuli is measured from fMRI and other imaging techniques. Genomic data science opens up new possibilities for personalized medicine and has a potential to reshape drug discovery.
Q4. What is your goal and mission in Life?
I am a strong advocate of Neurodiversity and my life mission is to advocate for a safe workplace for autistic people. In India, there is a lack of understanding of autism as a spectrum disorder . Particularly there is no awareness of the fact that people on the higher end of autistic spectrum are humans who are neurologically different and they do not possess any intellectual disability.Neurodiversity is a competitive advantage and companies can benefit immensely by hiring from the Neurodiverse talent pool. Data Science has huge potential to solve many of the problems revolving autistic community. This drove me to organize NeuroAI which is India’s first ever symposium in the interface of Neuroscience and Data Science.
Q5. How do you see Online Data Science courses for new students? Is it enough to become a good Data Scientist?
While choosing the right data science course can get them started quickly, it’s the application of course content in the form of projects which will help in the job search journey. Since the job market for data science is crowded, I would recommend everyone to build and develop skills which will help them stand out from the crowd.
Q6. You are a Data Scientist, Organizer, Speaker. How do you play multiple roles simultaneously in your life?
I am blessed with high energy levels and over a period of time I have mastered some exceptional strategies to channel my energy into right activities and also effectively manage time. I lead 8 communities across two cities Bangalore and Mysuru ( TensorFlow User Group(TFUG Mysuru) , Google Developer Group (GDG Mysuru) , Women TechMakers Ambassador for Mysuru , Women in Data Science Ambassador (Mysuru) , Women in Machine Learning and Data Science (WiMLDS – Bangalore and Mysore) , Lean in Bangalore AI circle and AIMed Ambassador. I am so happy to see many of the communities I lead have grown to become the biggest chapters in India.
Q7. What is Kaggle?
Kaggle is one stop playground for data scientists where you will find competitions catering to all skill levels. Data Scientists can explore and run ML code with Kaggle Notebooks hosted on cloud and also explore, analyze and share high quality data.
Get more about Usha Rengaraju @
Youtube Channel : https://www.youtube.com/c/usharengaraju/videos?view_as=subscriber
Twitter : https://twitter.com/URengaraju
Mysore WiMLDS : https://www.meetup.com/Mysore-Women-in-Machine-Learning-and-Data-Science/