Finding the right balance in your career is difficult for anyone. Even more so if you’re attempting to move from one field to another. For women, this is made even harder if they need to take a break from their jobs for the sake of their family. The deck is stacked against them, and re-entering the workforce becomes a fairly daunting prospect. At Jigsaw, we’ve had numerous female students who have faced these exact challenges, and faced them head-on with resounding success. One such woman is Kinnera Shastry, a student from our recent PGPDM batch in Hyderabad, and we’re very proud to have been a small part of her fascinating analytics journey.
“I completed my B.Sc. in Computer Science and Statistics back in 2000, so there my introduction to data, in some form, began then,” she told us. “Once I’d completed my MBA, I ended up directly in an analytics-related environment, working in GE’s Analytics Centre of Excellence. My job there was more centred around business analysis and involved a lot of statistics, but essentially I was in a data-centric environment pretty much from the first day of my career.” After almost a decade of working in similar environments, it was during a stint at a startup in Bengaluru that Kinnera began to make the transition to a role that would allow her to work with analytics in greater depth. “I was working in a Business Intelligence role, but I soon realised that learning essential tools like R, Python etc (which were becoming more prominent at the time) would benefit me, and help drive my career forward,” she said. “Data was becoming a big deal, and I wanted to be a part of that movement.”
Soon after this, a move to Nielsen proved to be something of a turning point for her. “I was beginning to develop a deeper understanding of the theoretical concepts in analytics to go with the knowledge of how to use the tools,” she said. But in the middle of the next couple of job changes, Kinnera had to take a break for her family, something most working women are faced with. “It’s definitely an uphill task trying to get back into the groove after a long break,” she told us. “As a mother, your responsibilities increase dramatically, and you need to make sure you balance everything perfectly.”
“As a mother, your responsibilities increase dramatically, and you need to make sure you balance everything perfectly.”
Kinnera was certainly able to find that balance, and she puts a lot of that down to continuing to add to her skill-set even when she wasn’t working 9 to 5. “Upskilling is one of the most important things in the present-day professional environment, whether you’re working or on a break,” she said. “It ensured that the skills I had to offer wouldn’t be obsolete when I did end up going back to work, and that gave me a tremendous amount of confidence when trying to re-enter the workforce.” And that’s where PGPDM entered the picture, and proved to be exactly the course that Kinnera was on the lookout for.
“The content provided by Jigsaw stood out right away. It included a lot of practical work, which is quite simply the best way to grasp any new analytics concepts you’re trying to learn,” she told us. “The classroom setting was ideal for someone like me, who prefers a more structured learning approach, and the faculty were naturally very helpful with any doubts or questions we had. I also really loved the fact that I could build a strong network of like-minded data scientists. That goes a long way in providing you with fresh perspectives, which you can carry forward with you.”
“The PGPDM content provided by Jigsaw stood out right away. It included a lot of practical work, which is quite simply the best way to grasp any new analytics concepts you’re trying to learn,”
While still in the process of completing the course, Kinnera landed a job with Google, as the Quality Lead for the Trust and Safety team – a wing of the company tasked with combating abuse on Google’s numerous online platforms. “Data is central to most of what we do here, such as checking the quality of the process being used to deal with abusive content online. And I can safely say that all the exposure to analytics I’ve had in my career so far goes a long way towards helping me do my job better here.”
We also got some of her thoughts on where women stand in the analytics world today. “I feel that women are still quite underrepresented in the field. That is improving, but we still have a long way to go. Of course, there are various reasons for this, but it’s something that we need to try and change.”