FROM A SMALL CITY IN INDIA TO BIG VIDEO DATA SCIENCE

By Jyotika Singh, Data Scientist - May 02, 2018

In my role as data scientist at ICX Media, I’m applying a lifelong love of math, science and learning to something that can be seen in the innovations we enable for storytellers.

jyotika_data_scienceI grew up in a small city in India called Chandigarh. Where I’m from, most women were homemakers, and unfortunately, not often by choice. When I think about how far I’ve come, how I’ve gotten from my hometown all the way to the exciting world of data science here in the U.S., I realize how important it was to have the support of the people around me. This is why I want to make sure the younger generation of girls back home and elsewhere realize they, too, can excel and explore opportunities far beyond where they are today.

I knew from an early age that I could do whatever I set my mind to, and, unlike some young women, I would have full support from my family – not something all women in India or even here in the U.S. can say. My father, a doctor, was very pro-education. And my mother – she had a degree in science herself – was almost like a personal tutor to me, guiding me through my school coursework and exams. Yet, rather than simply help me pass a test, she recognized that my advancement required true understanding of the concepts in math and science I found so fascinating.

Even my grandmother, a school principal, which was quite rare for a woman in her day, was always thrilled as I advanced in my studies. With parents and grandparents who encouraged me, when I was inspired by a challenging subject, I had the confidence to pursue learning more about it. A little encouragement goes a long way for a child.

Of course, it’s probably no surprise that, being a data scientist, my passion was always steeped in math and science. Those were my favorite subjects growing up, in part because I appreciated the logic they bring to the world. To me, the fact that it all made sense was not only intriguing, but fun. Everything happens for a reason in science.

So, why data science? Well, like a lot of other people involved in data, I didn’t always know I’d end up here. My interest in data began to sprout only while earning my master’s degree. My approach always has been to dabble in a variety of subject areas and discover what suits me best. Even when studying electrical engineering in my undergrad years I explored a variety of areas.

Today, my days are spent researching, prototyping, pulling data and writing code. But data is much more than code or algorithms; data speaks to us. There are hidden gems and nuggets of knowledge inside data, and I love that my job is to uncover them in research and problem solving that becomes something real – actual capabilities in the ICX app, actual insights that video creators use to perfect their craft. In my role as data scientist at ICX, I’m applying a lifelong love of math, science and learning to something that can be seen in the innovations we enable for storytellers.

I hope my own story might inspire younger women to find their own path – whether it be in STEM or something else. I spent time mentoring a high school student while at UCLA, and even sent my own video message back to my undergraduate university to inspire students there to continue pursuing their goals. My next goal? Well, I haven’t returned to India in four years. I’d love to go back and speak at my very first school and make sure young people there – especially the girls – realize they, too, can work to achieve their potential.

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