Aatash has over 6 years of experience in the investment banking and equity analytics industry. He started his career with ICICI Bank and then went on to work with global investment banks Lehman Brothers and Nomura Securities as a Vice-President analyzing equity investments for clients across the globe. He is a post-graduate in management from IIM Lucknow and is also a BE in Electronics Engineering from Mumbai University.
Aatash is passionate about combining education with technology to create a new paradigm of learning which is relevant, timely, cost-effective and focused on fulfilling the end goal of education, which is meeting the needs of the employers.
[dropcap size=”2″]AIM[/dropcap]Analytics India Magazine: Can you brief us about the course curriculum and pedagogy of analytics education at your institute?
[dropcap size=”2″]AS[/dropcap]Aatash Shah: At Edvancer, when we were creating our analytics courses, we spoke with a number of people in the top management of various analytics firms to get their feedback. Apart from the constant refrain of a shortage of talent in analytics, one common thread that came out was that they were only able to find people with skills in silos such as those with either theoretical statistics knowledge or data management or programming skills or people with some domain knowledge. However they actually don’t want people with siloed skills but those who come with a blend of all these skillsets to solve business problems, because analytics essentially is about helping businesses better themselves through the scientific analysis of data. They also mentioned their general dis-satisfaction with the training provided at the various analytics training institutes available.
We thus joined hands with veterans in the analytics industry to create a fundamental course in business analytics which would train people on how to solve business problems by combining analytical techniques and tools. We call this course the Certified Business Analytics Professional course (know more here www.edvancer.in/course/cbap ). We essentially want people to come out from this course with a combination of the above skillsets even if they have no prior background in the same. This course makes them employable in an analytics role as they understand how to put to use those skillsets in real-world business.
Our course curriculum focuses initially on building the requisite skills in terms of the analytics tool and then moves on to training the participants in analytics techniques and their application using the tool. This entire training is provided through the use of numerous examples which will help them relate to the concepts and over 15 real-world case studies where they learn how to apply the techniques and tools. At the end of the course we have the participants work on a comprehensive analytics case-study which works like a simulation of an analytics project. This helps them combine the knowledge gained from the course into a real-life scenario.
Our delivery of this 60 hours course is through a virtual classroom online setup where the participants get the feel and interaction of a live classroom environment without moving from the comfort of their home. They can even attend these live, instructor led classes from wherever they are located, on any device.
We also provide the course in a self-paced format where those who don’t want to stick to any specific times or class schedules can easily view the recorded videos and class sessions at their own time. They also have access to the course material and instructors for any doubts.
AIM: How is your institute different from other players in India providing analytics training and education?
AS: Analytics is a very vast and technology intensive field covering numerous tools, techniques both basic and highly advanced, algorithms specific to uses and industries etc. For someone new to analytics it does not make sense to learn everything at one go at a very high cost given that the role and work which they will eventually do in the first few years may not utilize more than 20% of what they have learnt. For instance there are institutes which teach everything from basic statistics right up to advanced machine learning, data mining, text mining, big data tools etc. in just one short course itself at a high cost. We don’t believe in such a time and money wasting philosophy.
We believe that on the contrary the aspirant would be better off indulging in continuous modular learning where they add skills as they move along their career path and are able to use those skills. We believe that providing the students course options specific to the needs of their immediate career goals will go a long way in keeping their costs and time commitments low, enabling a much higher return on investment (ROI) for them. In future as their career advances they can take up higher level courses thus ensuring that returns keep pace with investment.
Thus for instance our Certified Business Analytics Professional course focuses on developing those skillsets which an individual new to the analytics industry will require in the first 2-3 years of his analytics career and then enabling him/her to get a job in the analytics industry. This enables us to keep the fees affordable for the individual and the time commitment low. We will soon offer a number of other courses in R programming, advanced analytics, machine learning, text analytics and industry specific techniques which are targeted at those who have spent some time in their analytics careers and want to upgrade their skills. (know more here www.edvancer.in )
The other differentiating aspect is the delivery mode. We have two modes of delivery, the virtual classroom and online self-paced whereas many other institutes especially the universities offer just a classroom based course. We also have a comprehensive learning management system with a discussion forum which can be accessed from any internet enabled device allowing any-time, any-where learning. We provide all our students life-time access to the course material on our learning management system and free access to the analytics tool for 90 days.
Our instructors are all highly experienced professionals from the industry and we only work with those who have spent a good amount of time in the industry so that they can transfer their practical knowledge to the participants.
We also provide mentoring to the participants from the top management of few major analytics firms so that they can start off their careers on a strong footing.
AIM: What are the major obstacles facing education on data and analytics in India?
AS: Analytics is still quite new across the world and especially in India and given the plethora of buzzwords there is also a lot of confusion in the minds of aspirants regarding the kind of course they should take up, the relevance of their background and past experience to analytics and the future potential and employment opportunities available. This is the first obstacle where there is a need to devote time and resources to educate or counsel aspirants about analytics itself and provide them a preview of their careers.
The second obstacle is to convince analytics professionals to devote their time and energy towards training and content development. Any analytics professional interested in training/content creation can get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
AIM: Is there any placement support which is provided or in case you have any work opportunities / live projects or cases / internships?
AS: We offer complete placement support to those who successfully complete our courses right from helping them create their resumé, prepare for interviews and help them find opportunities suitable to their background. We have an excellent network within the analytics industry which we leverage to enable placements for our students.
AIM: What kind of background do your course participants have?
AS: Our fundamental course is targeted towards those interested in starting a career in the analytics industry. To this end we have a complete cross-section of participants from freshers to those with 15-20 years of experience, from IIT graduates to those from tier 2 institutes, from people with experience in IT to even doctors looking to work in healthcare and pharma analytics. A large chunk of our participants come with between 3-7 years of experience in the IT industry as business analysts, software engineers etc.
AIM: What is your projection of the growth of analytics education in the future?
AS: Analytics is just at the start of a boom, in a way very similar to what we saw in the IT industry in the late 1990s. Just like in the IT industry, a large chunk of the analytics jobs will be created in India. There is a significant shortage of professionals in analytics across the world and India has the raw talent with a large number of STEM graduates. With projections of over 250,000 analytics jobs to be created in India by 2015 and many more beyond that, the need for education and training in analytics is only set to grow. While universities and colleges in India are just starting to get their act together, a large part of the training demand will be met through short-term certificate courses like ours.
AIM: What according to you are the most important rising trends in analytics today?
AS: A big part of the explosion in data which has led to the rise of analytics has come from unstructured data in the form of text, social network updates and activities, mobile data etc, what many call as Big Data. The skills, ability and technology to analyse this data and bring out important insights are still nascent and demand for such professionals and technology will see a rapid rise.
Another rising trend would be real-time analytics. The ability to analyse data in real-time and use the analysis to immediately make a business impact will be a game changer in many industries.
AIM: Anything else you wish to add?
AS: To aspiring analytics professionals I would like to say that analytics is used across industries and hence is open to different backgrounds. However there are a few pre-requisites which they need to meet:
- Logical and structured thinking
- Comfort with numbers and learning maths/stats
- Curiosity to know more
- Good communication skills