Statement of Purpose for Masters in Computer Science
In my sophomore year at college, I read a book titled "Small is Beautiful" by economist E. F Schumacher. It examines our use of natural resources and predicts the course of modern economic system. I became inquisitive about statistical data analysis and its potential to help us understand social and economic phenomena. It drove me to take up relevant courses to better understand the science behind it. In this process, I discovered and learned scientific tools and models that allow us to evaluate our decisions using quantitative evidence. As my career progressed,so did my interest to build systems that extract knowledge and insights. However, to build the systems that I wish to, I need more technical expertise and significant research skills. Data Science as my topic of higher education is thus, the logical culmination of my explorations into Economics, Statistics, and Programming. To this end, I now seek admission to the Master of Science program in Computer Science, with a focus on Data Science.
Undergrad was the time I explored the spectrum of opportunities available to me. Excellent marks in the entrance exam, along with 95.9% in my high school helped me secure an admission in BITS Pilani, the best private university in India. My foray into data science started with a Data Mining project where I found out the frequent set of accidents that co-occur using Hash tree and FP growth algorithms. I enjoyed working on this project and went on to build an associative rule mining algorithm to find the best combination of Heroes (characters in the game) in DOTA 2, a strategy game I adore. At the same time, solving Image Processing assignments using MATLAB, using various data structures and algorithms to improve my program efficiency in these projects, I steadily enhanced my programming abilities.
Moreover, through my coursework in Econometrics, I equipped myself with statistical tools and models frequently used in Economics and Machine Learning. In addition, as a part of a field research project, I studied the behavioral constraints of rural people that hold them from adopting proper sanitation and hygiene in India. This helped me understand the significance of qualitative data analysis along with quantitative data, including the challenges that surface when integrating them into a model.
Internship at XYZ company was my first exposure to a professional environment. I was part of the test and automation team that worked on a major release. During my time there, I was introduced to Java, Cassandra, Selenium and above all how to work as a part of a team. After graduation, I joined XYZ, a cloud service provider company in India. By building multithreaded mobile applications using WebSockets, I learned about databases, mobile architecture and parallel computing. What piqued my interest the most, however, was working on NLP in a text-processing application.
To work in a field closer to Natural Language Processing, I joined the R&D team of ABC company. Initially, my research was on extracting entities from large and open datasets like YAGO and DBpedia. Over time, the need for custom Knowledge Bases specific to business arose in order to support our chatbot platform. While working on a virtual assistant for a global retail giant, I faced the familiar problem of not having a well-defined corpus to train our model. To combat this, I crawled through retail community forums and used text processing techniques to clean and make the data usable. Additionally, I worked on Sentiment Analysis, built a Question-Answering system using DeepPavlov, implemented various clustering and classification algorithms and provided analytics for all our projects to find metrics that improve our solutions. Migrating our framework from Flask to Django and MongoDB enhanced my knowledge and understanding of database systems, operating systems, and OOP. I joined this team in its nascent stages and grew with it. We had limited resources,thus our roles and responsibilities overlapped and constantly dealt with uncertainty. But, this challenging environment helped me develop invaluable skills. Constant self-learning, application of new ideas and exposure to business implications of my decisions turned me into a competent developer.
I do not have a formal education in Computer Science besides the introductory programming course in my first semester, but I have always focused and worked on developing technical and problem-solving skills to compensate for it. These skills, however, are not a replacement for the comprehensive, structured and interactive experience that I will receive in a masters program at a university. After having considerable experience in NLP and Software Engineering through my work, I am now ready to delve further into subjects that cover the necessary breadth and apply them to larger and more complex problems.
It is my interest in Data Science that has lead me to select xxxxxx University as my destination for higher education. Presence of research Labs like X and Y labs that aims to build robust information retrieval and inference systems using multimodal data attests to the fact that it is one of the best institutions to pursue my interests. It would also provide me opportunities to collaborate with students and faculty and seek their guidance. I sincerely believe that I have the abilities, experience, and grit to excel in this program and will be honored if given an opportunity.