Shweta Gupta, VP – Technology at Digital Vidya: FinTech is revolutionary, to say the least. Technology has entirely changed the Banking and Finance industry. The use of technology in the BFSI industry is not limited to online transactions, stock trading and mobile banking. It goes far beyond to Customer Segmentation, Fraud Detection, Risk Management, Personalised Services etc.
Generally, due to the nature of the industry, we don’t consider the great work startups are doing, because our eyes are mostly fixed with the giants in the financial sector. I caught up with Mohit Bansal, Principal Data Scientist of CreditVidya and spoke at length about his work in the company. It was a refreshing conversation that extended my horizons of knowledge about Data Science and the BFSI Industry. Without further adieu, I invite you to read his wonderful revelations.
Mohit Bansal graduated from IIT Dhanbad and immediately joined Mu Sigma as a Trainee Decision Scientist. Currently, he works at CreditVidya (a FinTech Company) in the capacity of a Principal Data Scientist. Interestingly, Mohit was the first employee in CreditVidya’s Data Science department and they are a bunch of 20+ in the same department, today.
How did you get into Data Analytics? What interested you in learning Data Analytics?
Mohit Bansal: I was running my startup, Techaloo.com during my college days where we were covering various startups in Asia. After interacting with various founders and hearing about the power of Big data from them got me interested in the field of Data Analytics.
Then I started applying simple Data Science techniques in lab experiments, for example- understanding the impact of temperature, humidity and other factors on variation in speed of autonomous robot controlled by microcontrollers.
What was the first dataset you remember working with? What did you do with it?
Mohit Bansal: I started working for a US based client who was a major Yellow-pages Directory Company as my first project. We were trying to understand the drivers of NPS (Net Promoter Score) at various sales stages across the customer lifecycle.
We used text mining, topic modelling, clustering and classification techniques to understand the driving factors for NPS ratings.
Was there a specific “aha” moment when you realized the power of data?
Mohit Bansal: The specific moment was when for a leading Telecom client, we were able to save millions of dollars in call-centre opex by identifying whether caller will call back or not.
What is your typical day-in-a-life in your current job? Where do you spend most of your time?
Mohit Bansal: I start my day with daily action items’ meetings, brainstorming sessions, product performance discussions and mentoring team in both technical and business aspects.
How do you stay updated on the latest trends in Data Analytics? Which are the Data Analytics resources (i.e. blogs/websites/apps) you visit regularly?
Mohit Bansal: I follow online resources like KDnuggets, Medium, Hunch, Flowing Data.
Share the names of 3 people that you follow in the field of Data Science.
Mohit Bansal: I follow Andrew NG, Hinton, Peter Norvig and a few more.
Team, Skills and Tools
Which are your favourite Data Analytics Tools that you use to perform your job, and what are the other tools used widely in your team?
Mohit Bansal: We are a technology agnostic company, but the major tools used in our team include R, Python, Spark, Neo4j, Scala, TensorFlow, Keras.
What are the different roles and skills within your data team?
Mohit Bansal: We are a mix of AI Scientists, Data Scientists, Data Engineers and ML Engineers, which brings some diverse skill sets required to deal with unstructured data at a scale where we are dealing with TBs of data per day.
Help describe some examples of the kind of problems your team is solving in this year?
Mohit Bansal: We are focussed on making credit accessible for the unserved and underserved population of India. We are currently building on following products to determine underwriting risk of an individual (borrower):
- TrustScore – CreditVidya Risk Score
- Ability Identification
- Fraud Detection
How do you measure the performance of your team?
Mohit Bansal: We measure performance based on following metrics:
- Team Skills
Advice to Aspiring Data Scientists
According to you, what are the top skills, both technical and soft-skills that are needed for Data Analysts and Data Scientists?
Mohit Bansal: Apart from typical requirements like data understanding, data cleaning & data analysis etc., I would like to highlight the following important aspects
- Visualization Skills
- Design Thinking
- Ability to explain results to the business
How much focus should aspiring data practitioners do in working with messy, noisy data? What are the other areas that they must build their expertise in?
Mohit Bansal: Nowadays budding Data Practitioners directly jump towards data modelling phase and try to conclude the output with bare minimum time devoted towards data understanding and data cleaning. Without significant time devoted to data understanding and cleaning part, no matter which models one implements – one will be committing “first-degree sin” of Data Science.
What is your advice for newbies, Data Science students or practitioners who are looking at building a career in Data Analytics industry?
Mohit Bansal: I’d say:
- Master at least one of the languages R or Python
- Master the basics of statistics
- Keep participating in online competitions and build your profile
- Don’t stop reading and exploring Data Science and related fields
What are the changing trends that you foresee in the field of Data Science and what do you recommend the current crop of data analysts do to keep pace?
Mohit Bansal: Data Science has been evolved from being a Mathematics/ Statistical field to Computer Science field. I will recommend the current crop of Data Scientists to keep learning the widely used programming languages like Java, Scala etc.
Would you like to share few words about the work we are doing at Digital Vidya in developing Data Analytics Talent for the industry?
We see a talent gap in supply & demand of Data Scientists in the industry which makes it tough for organizations to utilize data stored in their data warehouse. Digital Vidya is doing an amazing job by organizing training programs as well as webinars which is equally valuable for trainees as well as companies.The testimonials written by attendees summarizes the quality of training Digital Vidya provides. Keep it up, you are helping to build an industry!!!
To know more about Mohit Bansal, you can check out his LinkedIn.
Are you inspired by the opportunity of Data Science? Start your journey by attending our upcoming orientation session on Data Science for Career & Business Growth. It’s online and Free :).