Swarnamouli Majumdar has followed a somewhat unique career trajectory that has taken her from the midwest to the northeast United States and from automobile engines to autonomous vehicles to the stock exchange, demonstrating the flexibility and range of applied data science careers across industry verticals.
“I have been working in the IT industry across consulting, automotive, and now financial domains for almost eight years now. My career path has been a mix of education coupled with hand-on industry enrichment. I have always been excited by the vast realm of data science and predictive analytics, and, post my M.S in Applied Data Science, moving into this exciting domain has been very smooth and a life-changing experience,” she said.
Majumdar joined Cummins Engine in Columbus, Indiana, immediately after graduating with her master’s degree in May 2018. Working in the Engineering and IT Department, she focused on data analysis and predictive maintenance. The holistic experience added to the IT background she had before entering the School of Informatics and Computing at IUPUI. “I learned a lot about the automotive industry and every step was a wonderful learning experience for me,” Majumdar said. In mid-June 2020, she received an offer to join the Aptiv autonomous mobility team at Motional as Senior Engineer Data Analytics, taking on predictive analytics and metrics evaluation as part of the engineering team. The move to Boston and the new role taught her a lot. “I was part of a very dynamic team and worked across the globe with stakeholders and across cultures,” she said.
In August 2021, Majumdar made a career move into the Fintech industry, joining State Street as an Assistant Vice President in Product Analytics and Business Intelligence, working on one of the largest trading platforms in the financial assets industry. State Street Corporation is an American financial services and bank holding company headquartered in Boston with operations worldwide and is the second oldest continually operating United States bank.
“The impact of data science is huge,” Majumdar said. “Every single industry has its own ‘data science’ need. Data is the atom in every company; data science just is the word for all the marvelous, exciting analyses that can be generated with the data at hand. Every company today, ranging from aviation to manufacturing, government to consulting, is in need of talented data science professionals. By ‘data science’ professionals, I mean business analysts, data analysts, data engineers, business intelligence analysts, business intelligence specialists, data scientists, machine learning engineers, product analysts, and any role which involves intricate wrangling of data and generating insights.”
Majumdar said earning her M.S. in Applied Data Science was one of the best decisions she made. She pointed to the hands-on nature of classes and that her knowledge improved as she interacted with students from different backgrounds. She also noted how professors were very knowledgeable in their domains and made sure students were prepared for success. “It is not only the campus, the courses, and the knowledge gained—it is the overall holistic education gained that helped me move forward in life.” She said one specific aspect was that the degree was intra-linked with other departments at IUPUI. For instance, she was able to take classes from the biostatistics department and computer science departments, along with informatics core courses.
And she especially liked how helpful faculty were with making sure students understood every concept and how to apply them. Professors would often stay after class when students approached them with questions.
Her advice to students is to invest time outside of textbooks. Majumdar herself was part of a team of students that took part in the National Institute of Standards and Technology-sponsored Tech to Protect Challenge in 2019. The team advanced through several competition levels over a year’s time, winning well over $120K and impressing industry representatives with their solution to AI-enabled hands-free technology for law enforcement.
She also recommends knowing basics the of statistics and machine learning, and understanding the granular level of concepts, not just learning programming languages but also programming basics that can be applied to any language/technology. Data science is an interdisciplinary domain, Majumdar said. “Find out which aspect of data science is most exciting and map your career goals to your skills and interests. Don’t give in to the myth that you have to become a data scientist or a machine learning engineer if you study data science. There is a plethora of roles—the mantra is to look into the roles and responsibilities and see if they are a good fit for you.”
Majumdar is now pursuing a doctoral program in Management Information Systems with a research focus on responsible AI and machine learning from the University of Massachusetts Lowell.