Interview with Aatash Shah – Founder & CEO of Edvancer Analytics

  1. Can you please tell us the vision of your firm?

Edvancer has been started with the aim of providing short-term career and skill oriented courses to freshers and working professional who want to upskill or re-skill themselves. We also provide these courses to those who want to re-skill or up-skill themselves and change their career path. We provide such courses and training online so that anyone from anywhere can learn anytime he or she wants. Our vision is to be the online skills university for the world.

2. What is your professional background and how did you decide to start Edvancer?

Before starting Edvancer, I was an investment banker for 6 years working with Nomura & Lehman in India and prior to that I graduated from IIM Lucknow in 2006. I also hold a Bachelor’s degree in engineering from Mumbai University.

The whole idea behind starting Edvancer in end 2013 was to disrupt the higher education sector in India which is plagued by outdated, irrelevant curriculum, theoretical pedagogy and a heavy focus on rote learning. The curriculum taught in most universities today is so outdated that it is not relevant for any industry. This is forcing corporates to set up their own training facilities and invest heavily in getting the hires trained again. We are the ones who bridge the gap between the outdated theoretical curricula taught by the universities and the cutting-edge, practical skills which employers need.

3. What analytics areas does your firm cover in terms of training?

We deliver courses where students are able to gain the skills necessary to work as a Business Analytics Professional where they learn predictive analytics or Hadoop & Big Data Expert where they learn Hadoop, Mapreduce, Hive, Pig etc. or learn the skills of programming in SAS, R or SQL. We also provide advanced courses in Text Mining and Risk Analytics.

  1. What courses are the most popular ones?

Our course Certified Business Analytics Professional with SAS & R and Certified Hadoop & Big Data Expert are the most popular.

  1. What kind of students generally enroll for your courses?

We have both freshers and working professionals as our students. Freshers are generally engineering or MBA grads while working professionals come with a range of experience in terms of their profile or number of years of work. On an average the typical working professional student would have 5 years of experience. A larger proportion of them would be from the IT industry.

  1. Are you seeing lot of traction with respect to big data courses? Cloud based analytics courses?

The need for data scientists is increasing on a daily basis. Along with data scientists the need for business managers who understand analytics is even greater. McKinsey & Co. estimates a shortage of 150,000 skilled analytics professionals in the US by 2018 and a shortage of millions of managers who understand analytics. Over 200,000 data analytics jobs are likely to get created in India in the next 1-2 years.

In keeping with this need, we are seeing tremendous demand for getting trained in analytics & big data skills from people from all walks of life. Quite often we actually have to counsel people that given their background or age this may not be the right area for them to move towards.

  1. What are the latest technology trends in analytics, which every data scientist should be aware of?

Machine learning, Python, Spark, Text analytics are technologies and areas which are seeing a lot of interest across the world lately. These trends are likely to only grow over the next 3-4 years and data scientists of the future will need to be well versed with these technologies. In keeping with the trend we have already launched a course on Text Analytics and will be launching courses on Machine Learning with Python and Spark over the next 3 months.

  1. What is your advice to graduate students who want to make a career in analytics/ data science?

Quite often we have students come up to us looking to learn data science without any clue of what it is about, what it involves and just a single minded focus of getting a job in data science given all the hype around it but without any passion for it. In such cases we need to counsel them to understand their suitability for data science, guide them on what it involves and then ask them to see if they are actually interested in this field.

My advice to graduates would be to first read up about this field, see if they are actually interested and are passionate about working with data and analysing data day in and day out before they jump in. Only those who have the passion for this area will actually succeed in getting a job and becoming a great data scientist. Also to get a job a course is not the only thing they need to do. They have to demonstrate the skills gained from the courses by working on projects, taking part in data-thons and hackathons to showcase their skills. That is the way to attract employers to them.

  1. What are the Edvancer courses that graduate students should consider in order to kick-start their career in data science?

For anyone looking to start their career in data science, we would ask them to look at our Certified Business Analytics Professional with SAS & R and Certified Hadoop & Big Data Expert courses as they are comprehensive in their coverage, yet start from the basics.

  1. What have you learnt from “starting-up your venture” which every entrepreneur should keep in mind?

Entrepreneurship is not for the faint hearted. On a daily basis you will go through several highs and lows and you have to be able to maintain an even keel through them. As long as you are focused on your goal, are clear in your mind on how to reach there and continue working diligently towards the goal you will be able to overcome obstacles. Focus on hiring good, motivated, passionate people and your job will be much easier.

  1. What kind of career path can economics graduates take as compared to computer science students?

Economics graduates can look at getting into SAS, R, statistical modeling & predictive analytics using statistics while computer science graduates can look towards Big Data, Hadoop and Spark or Machine Learning & Python.

  1. Edvancer seems to be leading analytics training institute in terms of quality of their content. What new courses pertaining to analytics, would you be introducing in 2017?

We have our hands full developing new courses this year. Over the course of the next 12 months we will be launching courses in Data Analysis using Excel, VBA & SQL, Machine Learning using Python, Spark, Data Visualisation using Tableau, Marketing Analytics and Financial Analytics. We have also tied up with Wiley to offer the Wiley-Edvancer Certification in Big Data starting July.