Communicating well as a data scientist

Mr Syed Zaheen feels the ability to work as a team and present findings is crucial, but so is communicating well as a data scientist. PHOTO (LEFT): SPH MEDIA/FRENCHESCAR LIM

If curiosity is a skill highly sought after at the workplace, Mr Syed Zaheen will probably outshine many of his peers.

During his National Service years, he tried his hand at building apps. In his free time, he watched YouTube videos on topics ranging from psychology and maths to philosophy.

At university, Mr Syed’s priority was to take time to explore his interests, however diverse they may be. It was why he applied for the NTU-University Scholars Programme (NTU-USP) which offers interdisciplinary courses across the sciences, engineering, humanities and social sciences, with opportunities for various overseas programmes.

While the quantitative nature of his major in Data Science and Artificial Intelligence might seem at odds with the interdisciplinary NTU-USP curriculum, Mr Syed believes they complement each other.

For example, as part of his modules, he got to dabble in ethnographic fieldwork on heritage conservation and sustainability. One of his overseas trips brought him to Ipoh where he presented findings about preserving the town’s heritage as a former mining settlement that was dependent on Chinese immigrant labour.

“The ability to work as a team and present findings is always crucial but communicating well as a data scientist is just as important,” he explains.

Mr Syed recently completed an internship as a software developer and will be exploring his options in data science and research.

His advice to new undergraduates is this: “Take your time to explore your interests, then just choose a starting point in terms of what your goals are. It’s not possible to know until you try it out.”

Source: The Straits Times | Scholars' Choice © SPH Media Limited. Permission required for reproduction.

Published Feb 17, 2023