Draw My Life

Statement of Purpose for Master of Data Science

Born in the digital era, I have always been fascinated by technology and its augmentation via the internet. My first exposure to a data-driven platform was on my thirteenth birthday when I joined Facebook. Unaware of its driving force, I was intrigued by the instances when I would see Facebook adverting the goods that I just hunted on Flipkart. As a kid, I believed the answers lied within the programming that these websites were built on. To my aid, we had computer science as a part of the curriculum in middle school. We had weekly sittings with a variety of concentrations ranging from programming in Q-Basic to designing in Photoshop and I relished each one of them. A few weeks into basic utilities, we propelled towards comprehensive programming and I created my first website using HTML basics. This was the moment, I discerned that I like software development and would love to explore its underlying technicalities.

As determined, I opted for a Bachelor in Technology with specialisation in Information Technology at SRM University, an institution with a global repute. I scrutinised a variety of programming courses in C, C++, Java, and Python. Having a bias for web applications, I learnt professional web development and hosted a website on the internet to share academic materials like notes and projects. Additionally, for my minor project, we designed a web portal to report items lost and/or found on the college campus which was praised for the need of such platform and earned us an A+ grade for the associated credits. We used frameworks like bootstrap and animate.css for designing a minimalist yet appealing interface and the database was set up locally using MySQL with backend scripting in PHP. Besides being an academic fulfilment, working on a team project taught me the skill of collaborating with others.

In sophomore year, I launched a technology blog wherein I solely handle the development of content and the code. It wasn't just an online journal but a venture that trained me for organisational affairs like setting up the commercial domain, search engine optimisation, affiliate marketing, copyright policy, etc. This fun project helped me grab an internship in content marketing for a cybersecurity firm in New Delhi. I was assigned to create daily infographics and blogs centred around data leaks in organisations. Commended for my expertise in technical writing, I was directed to assist the Associate Vice President in constituting the organisation’s White Paper. In pursuit of creating content for data monitoring and cyber intelligence reporting, I was stunned by the potential that a mere database holds. This motivated me to go for a four-course specialisation in cybersecurity from University System Of Georgia offered via Coursera wherein I studied confidentiality and integrity issues associated with smartphones, IoT devices, and human behaviour in critical organisations which store classified information such as financial reports, health records and other private credentials. Being the first corporate experience, it offered a boost to my morale resulting in polished communication skills.

As a hobbyist web developer, I design systems and applications that input critical data about the users. Furthermore, introduced to the cybersecurity sector, I was exposed to latent threats this information could pose if the system is compromised. Now, I had an understanding of how a software works and why it needs to be guarded. To establish a system with automated reporting for breaches, I required a sound perception of text mining. To traverse through data analytics, I took a variety of elective courses such as Big Data, Statistics for IT, Probability, R Programming, Cloud Computing, etc in addition to core courses for B.Tech.

In 2018, I was selected for an internship at the National University of Singapore (NUS). The internship localised on Big Data Analytics wherein we mined over eleven lakh movie reviews using a wide variety of machine learning models. I was considerably aware of the concepts of big data and computational analytics but working under Dr. Tan Wee Kek, Senior Lecturer at NUS, offered in-depth knowledge and a great understanding of artificial neural networks. The very idea of training machines to behave like a human brain via deep learning techniques triggered my interest in Data Science as a specialisation in my career. It was a magnificent opportunity to work with someone remarkably skilled and experiencing new cultures was a cherry on the cake.

To up-skill my capabilities, I also underwent a Hadoop System Administration training wherein I learned to set up and configure nodes both locally and on cloud services. We studied the administration of voluminous data using Hadoop, Cloudera, and services like Ambari and Spark. I executed a range of projects using SQL and HiveQL on a virtual environment which offered a profound experience of web scraping and data acquisition.

Although academics have been my priority, I have volunteered in organising a variety of workshops and contests with Coding Blocks as their campus ambassador in my college. My roles also included structuring campus-specific promotional strategies, counselling fellow students, reaching out to the right audience, digital marketing, design and distribution of freebies like T-Shirts and badges.

Intrigued by the use of deep learning in stocks, I chose my major project in the same domain. With Bitcoin hitting an all-time high bid in 2017, I felt cryptocurrency is an under-looked domain to deploy Artificial Intelligence to. Bewildered by the blockchain technology, I required a scholarly opinion of its functioning and its association with traditional means of exchange which was made possible by a comprehensive research under Mr. Murugaanandam, Assistant Professor at SRM, during the final semester in engineering. Having accomplished that, the project aimed at forecasting the price of Bitcoin for the upcoming day. With disappointing predictions from the use of statistical models, I inferred that the finance sector is highly dynamic in nature and demanded the use of sophisticated means. Thus, I followed a sequential analysis using Long Short Term Memory (LSTM) network wherein the model was able to learn from the historical pricing and output significant values. Unlike prior attempts, LSTM produced encouraging results and the algorithm was run iteratively, thereby lessening the training error in each iteration. All in all, the model was able to trace the overall pricing trend. The project was awarded an Outstanding grade for its uniqueness and successful implementation. Over a course of three reviews within the university and one with an external examiner, the entire panel was impressed with my technical soundness of cryptocurrency and algorithms. I saw each review as an opportunity to improve my presentation skills. In fact, the process of pitching an idea and dealing with unprecedented queries from the examiners was indeed a thrilling experience.

An individual’s academic appetite can only be satiated through a relentless pursuit of knowledge. I believe that graduate studies would help me advance in that direction. It presents an opportunity to acquire extensive knowledge and become the vanguard of cutting edge research. My education has had a strong focus on intense and complex calculations – this has proved immensely useful when working in the field of analytics. Having gained considerable domain knowledge by working with one of the biggest tech brands, attaining further deep knowledge about data analytics is the next logical step towards my career growth. The multifaceted exposure I gained during my field experience added volumes to my interest in pursuing a Master’s in Data Science. I wish to effectively contribute to the development of this field, providing innovative technical solutions to real life problems and thus advancing the society.

Australia is amongst the most favourable places for students because of its great, prestigious and high ranked universities. Overall, international students account for almost a quarter of enrolments, and at some universities they constitute close to half of the student body. It holds a proud international reputation for high quality education standards and recognised for excellence across the entire education sector. Australia is a very welcoming, healthy and safe country offering high-quality education that will open doors for the future and benefit my career over the long term. And is regularly placed highly in polls measuring quality of life, due to its environment, cultural opportunities and level of social care. It offers one of the highest standards for quality of life in the world. Over the years, Australia has become a global centre of innovation, research and development bolstering its position as a global hub for business and industry. It certainly is a world leader in skills development for employment. The degrees offered by Australian universities are recognised globally and provide an ideal launching pad for a global career.

Monash University has been consistently ranked not only among Australia’s top universities but in the top one per cent of world universities and its engineering and technology department is one of the best in the Australia. The renowned faculty – and their globally acclaimed innovative teaching, excellent research facilities, wide range of student services and the courses offered at your university are very much likely to produce excellent results for me in the fields of my interest.

I am eager to gain exposure to a diverse and international group of classmates, as well as their insight on the industries in which they have worked. The curriculum structure at Monash, which includes courses such as statistical machine learning, cluster computing and big data handling amongst others would be relevant for my learning requirements and will provide me the level and quality of education I need to widen the scope of my knowledge and skills. I shall be gratified to build a promising and secured future under your supreme guidance.

I am confident that enrolling myself for a Master’s Program in Data Science at Monash, I am giving myself an edge over a lot of other students primarily because the environment provided by the university for its students is very wholesome, disciplined and enriching. With state of the art infrastructure I am sure it will help me along with my studies to reach greater heights. If I get admitted it will give me an opportunity to receive worthy education in an excellent environment. In summary, given my penchant for number crunching and analysis I find a career in Data Science a natural choice for my career growth in the future. To make a successful transition in the data science arena, I find Monash’s Master’s program as a perfect fit.

After completion of my master’s program, I expect to have acquired substantial analytical and management expertise. Therefore, I honestly feel to master the current data analytical concepts in the rich and flexible environment of a top University in Australia. In the short term, I seek to work as a data scientist for a reputed technology firm. This will enable me to understand various challenges the enterprises face, so that I am able to implement effective and efficient solutions. In the longer run, I see myself moving into a position of responsibility and authority, and innovating high tech, creative solutions to industry challenges.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Warm Regards,
Simran Singh Gulati