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Empowering Women in Data Analytics: The Journey of Himani Bali from BITS Dubai to Amazon

Empowering Women in Data Analytics: The Journey of Himani Bali from BITS Dubai to Amazon

Himani Bali, a Bachelor of Engineering (BE) in Computer Science graduate from BITS Pilani (Dubai, 20). She currently holds the position of an Analyst at Amazon in the UAE. Previously, she served as a Cloud Solution Executive at CKR IT Consulting. During college, she also worked as a Content Writer for the Center for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship. She served as the Vice-chairperson for BITSMUN and acted as a Judge (Panel Member) for the CIIED x ACM Hackathon.

Describe your inspiration for pursuing a path in Data Analysis after graduating from BITS Dubai.

My path or choice of diving right into analytics certainly originated from University. Since 2016, I have always been passionate about data; this passion grew deeper in my second year as we had more DBMS, i.e., Database Management-related courses to study along with labs and assignments. I also ensured that I took up impactful projects based on R and Python - so that I have a better understanding of the industrial use cases.

Do you recall any faculty member/members who motivated you to pursue Data Analysis after graduation?

I would certainly like to thank Dr Raja Muthalagu and Dr. Nilesh Goel for allowing me to pursue such projects and provide direction. I would also like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to Dr. Vijaykumar and Dr. Sujala for proactively teaching us the importance of OOPS, DBMS, IR, and many more subjects. My certifications after graduation helped me quickly grasp concepts, which helped us dive further into different use cases for various industries and update my knowledge about the latest trends. The best part about choosing CSE is that you always keep learning and applying something new! This helped me secure many job applications and stand out from various candidates.

Tell us about some of your work as a Data Analyst at Amazon. What skills/values have you learned at BITS that helped you excel in your work?

As a data analyst at Amazon, I work on many things. Firstly, understand business processes and issues and aim for continuous improvement/enhancement by defining key KPIs or metrics. In terms of technical skillset, we focus a lot on database creation, database migration, querying, and automating via ETL, i.e., Extract, Transform, and Load jobs. The basis of these is taught in 2nd year back in University, especially in DBMS and through electives like IR. We also lay a lot of emphasis on dashboard creation via Tableau or Quicksight. Familiarity with AWS Cloud tools is also of utmost importance since most companies have migrated from on-prem to the cloud; these systems, combined with automation skills - i.e., via Python or other languages- help you create cleaner, neater data frames and automate repetitive processes. I have also jumped into data science use cases for projects that helped us solve critical issues related to forecasting and prediction.

Handling multiple responsibilities tends to take a toll on a person. What do you do apart from taxing work to de-stress?

Recently, I’ve realized that health is wealth! And family is everything. In my free time, I try to spend time with my family, visit the gym, swim, and do much more! I also have a passion for content writing and painting, which I pursue as a hobby. Volunteering is very important, and one realizes the value of philanthropy and giving back as one grows older. I make sure to donate to any cause of concern, such as Aid for Gaza; I have also taken part in initiatives such as “Amazon Goes Gold,” where we contribute to helping kids with cancer.

Reflecting on your time at BITS Pilani, are there any specific experiences that have played a pivotal role in shaping your identity as a woman in engineering?

BITS Pilani Dubai Campus was indeed an unforgettable experience of 4 years. When I look back right now, I cherish every moment. As for me, the most impactful lesson would be that we grow and evolve no matter what happens in life. Whether we want to take setbacks as a learning curve or a discouragement is in our hands. I still remember that my CGPA was barely 6.5 in my first year, and I struggled with these marks. I wondered what the point of so many classes and a lot of mugging up was. During the vacation, I did a quick internship as a content writer and website developer; that’s when I fell in love with the vast scope of CS. You could do anything from your computer, and I decided to take control in my hand from then onwards. I didn’t just spend countless hours on my subjects; I started researching them, doing projects based on my favorite topics, and actively asking questions in class. This made the whole learning experience more fun and interactive and far less monotonous. When you find passion in what you study or do, you’ll reach heights you couldn’t even have imagined, and hence began my journey.

What advice would you give to budding data science enthusiasts in BITS Dubai that would help them make their mark in the professional space after graduation?

My advice to all BITSians, budding analysts, and scientists out there would be to have fun, explore, and experiment as much as possible! Play around with your data, do industry-relevant certifications, showcase your projects on GitHub, and take each day as a new learning experience. When everything fails, your hard work sets you apart from the rest; make sure to actively take feedback from your teachers and try to do as many assignments and projects under them as possible. Platforms like Udemy and Udacity and tools like ChatGPT have made the learning and debugging process much easier, using every tool, every site, and learning platform at every chance you get. Don’t fear failure; we learn daily, and no one can know everything! We get there step by step, one day at a time.