Career Muse talks to Gaurav Vohra, CEO Jigsaw Academy about his Data Science Career


Careermuse, is a career blog, initiated by Career Builder India for both recruiters and those seeking a career shakeup. In their section #KNOWTHEPROFESSION this week, they feature Jigsaw Academy CEO Gaurav Vohra, where he talks about what got him into the profession, his journey with Jigsaw, as well as lots of advise for those interested in a career in Data Analytics. Below is a reproduction of the article.

  1. What made you choose this profession?

I have always been passionate about numbers and anything to do with data analysis. I was fortunate to be in the industry in its nascent stages and it gave me the opportunity to see that there could be an easier way to learn analytics, that analytics can be simplified and taught in a fun way. That’s what got me to start Jigsaw Academy with my colleague Sarita.

  1. Are there any certifications or soft skills required to excel in your profession?

There were no certifications in analytics when I started off. Even now there are no globally recognised certifications. In terms of soft skills you need quantitative aptitude and the ability to think logically. These are the two most important things. The other thing is being able to communicate clearly as the data scientist has to be able to communicate the insights effectively to the stakeholders.

  1. Being at this position, certainly you are enjoying your professional life. Can you share that Eureka moment when you realized that you were born for this.

I guess I was always interested in numbers, the kind of guy who could spend hours playing book cricket. When I joined Capital One in my first job, I was surprised to see how much emphasis they put on analytics and how they would do several tests a day to support their business strategy. I guess that’s when I realized this was my kind of field as it appealed to the intrinsic quantitative aptitude I had.

  1. Is there an organized career path to bea Data Scientist (or similar profile)?

Not really. NASSCOM is trying to come up with a proper definition of what a data scientist is, what are the different roles in data science and the exact roles and responsibilities based on their eligibility criteria and what are the skills a person should have for each of their roles. We, as Jigsaw Academy, are also involved in that initiative with NASSCOM. However, what I would advise is firstly pick up statistical skills, the backbone of most analytic techniques, then pick up a knowledge of analytics techniques, different data mining techniques and algorithms, then a knowledge of analytics tools. Once you have picked up all this then focus on specific domains like, retail analytics, finance or HR. Most analytics professionals are also picking up Big Data skills as it allows them to deal with larger more varied sets of data.

  1. What difficult times have you experienced in this journey. What is your piece of advice for new comers?

We are pioneers in the field of analytics training and as we focus on an online delivery platform, we did face the challenge of convincing the public that e learning can be as, if not more effective than traditional learning.  For new comers, I would say that while analytics may seem tough at the start as you may think it’s all about quants, basically it boils down to logical thinking and so if you are an analytic thinker, you can make that step towards a career in analytics and succeed well.

  1. What are the excess perks you enjoy?

As a Data Scientist, you get to work from data from different sectors. You have the option of working across industries and even in a particular industry you can work on Finance data, HR data or Retail data. The variety ensures that you don’t get bored. Analytics is like detective work and you use data to fit pieces of a  puzzle together. And once you fit the jigsaw together you have insights that no one in the organization has, so often data scientists are the ones who know the business most intimately. It’s a very powerful feeling to know you have the information that can potentially transform the entire business.

  1. How did your social circle contribute to your success?

Having spent 10+ years in this industry and being that we got into analytics just when analytics was talking off in India, it definitely has. A lot of people we worked with are now heading analytics organizations in India. This network has definitely helped us in identifying potential opportunities for our students and also making sure our content stays industry relevant.

  1. What does your profession/hobby mean to you?

It’s wonderful to come to work every day and do something that you find interesting and that you believe is making a difference. Data analytics and Big Data skills are in big demand by organizations everywhere and to know that Jigsaw is training hundreds of people every month in these skills and making them ready to hit the ground running in any analytics role feels good.

  1.  Do you have a role model or mentor? What inspired you to be in this profession or what keeps you motivated?

I don’t really have a role model but my passion for numbers certainly keeps me motivated and what got me to stay in the analytics industry. We are working towards closing the analytics talent gap and do our part to give people the skills they need to become data analysts.

About Gaurav Vohra:

Gaurav Vohra has over 10 years of experience in the field of analytics and has worked across multiple verticals including financial services, retail, FMCG, telecom, pharmaceuticals and leisure industries. Gaurav started his career in analytics with Capital One and over the last decade has worked with clients such as JC Penney, Gap, Wal-mart, IRI, 7-11, IMS health and ICICI Lombard.

In 2010 Gaurav Vohra & Sarita Digumarti founded Jigsaw Academy, The online school of analytics . They have since built a vibrant, energetic, creative and fun team. Together they plan and plot, share experiences and learn from each other, while giving Jigsaw students the very best in terms of content, technology, learning environment and career support.

Interested in a career in Data Science?
To learn more about Jigsaw’s Data Science with SAS course – click here.
To learn more about Jigsaw’s Data Science with R course – click here.
To Learn more about Jigsaw’s Big Data Course – Click here

Related Articles:

Jigsaw’s Sarita Digumarti featured in Deccan Chronicle
Jigsaw Academy CEO Gaurav Vohra on CNBC Awaaz
Jigsaw Featured in DNA- Sarita Digumarti, Co-Founder of Jigsaw Writes About Analytics Careers in 2014

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