First steps to deeper work in Deep Learning & AI Ethics!

Folks, this is a personal update and thank you note rolled into one. I apologise in advance for the @ mentions, and also apologise if I missed anyone.

PS: I didn’t win an Oscar or Nobel, sorry if this reads like I did! I didn’t even hit the end goal, just a milestone… but it’s a good juncture to honor those who made it possible.

TLDR: there is no tldr, journeys matter. :slightly_smiling_face:

Last year I moved to the US for family reasons, leaving behind (amongst other things) a job I loved in a space I loved (tech4good/civictechplatforms). As I spent time figuring out where to devote my abilities and energies in my new setting, it became clear I had to wear all my hats together - tech, society, business, and do so in the field that will have serious repercussions to the spaces I love. Except, I had no background in this field, knew no one who did, and didn’t know where to begin or whom to ask.

Enter: Fast.ai
I came across fast.ai purely by chance. I am not ruling out a benevolent universe helping.

So after Part 1, and some more digging around, I set 3 goals for 2019:

  1. Learn-Do-Learn Deep Learning
  2. Unpack AI Ethics
  3. Land a job at the sweet spot of Experience + G1 + G2

For Goals 1 & 2, I’m signed up for the long haul. Goal 3 was hit last week. :slight_smile:

I’m now Technical Program Manager at Intuit AI.

This journey has been hard and the only thing that kept me going was the kindness of strangers. Many of whom I met on this forum. I want to highlight the kindness of this community that isn’t in the form of tech answers (not that I’m not grateful for that, but then I’d have to @ mention pretty much everyone on the forum! :smiley:).

@jeremy’s approach to learning gave me the confidence to say “I can do this”. It was still hard, but I wanted to do it. This thread (and this too) share a lot of his advice that I found super useful. But here is one more that he shared at a diversity dinner. I said to him, “I find myself going into so many random rabbit holes that I can’t tell if I’m actually learning anything”. He replied and I paraphrase, “you’ll find the rabbit holes will connect at some point and it’ll all be useful then”. This was such a relief!! I suddenly had the freedom to explore and learn at my pace, in my style.

@rachel was kind enough to catch me at burnout and point out that each of those goals is a FULL-TIME job. So I course corrected and figured paying bills has to come first. :slight_smile:

I’m grateful to both of them for leading by example, and for creating fast.ai.

And my diversity fellows gang, the support there is something else.

@deena-b has been my go-to person for all things career-transition related. We’ve helped each other create plans and remain accountable to them via bi-weekly calls. Also chucking the agenda from time to time to just talk and decompress. :purple_heart:

@yang was literally my moms-study-group during part 1! Both of us have young kids so the only way we could join a study group was to create one for ourselves and meet in the afternoons. Eventually life took over our afternoons. :frowning:

@sparalic readily offered to give up her part 2 scholarship when the slots were limited and I could not attend… thankfully more slots opened up later and she didn’t have to!

@LornyFife always remembers me when she comes across any AI Ethics related event or opportunity and has been regularly sending them my way for months! @jamesd, @mcleavey and @sravya8 also helped with opportunities and advice.

I am so so grateful to all of them! And to everyone I’ve interacted with on this forum (sorry for not at-mentioning all of you). Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

If you’re interested in my journey or past work, the challenges I faced in shifting domains or getting hired in SV with a non-traditional resume, the mess that is tech hiring or anything else, hit me up with Qs here or via DM and I’ll answer (slowly). Oh also, I got hired via the Intuit return-to-work program, meant for those who’ve taken time off from full-time corporate careers for family reasons (like me) - hit me up if you’re interested in that.

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Congratulations Nalini! I was absolutely thrilled to see this, and I have a feeling that many of us, myself included, will take encouragement and inspiration from how your journey has gone so far. So thanks for sharing, and I’ll be excited to see how this new season, as well as subsequent ones, unfold for you!

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Congrats @nbharatula, such exciting news!! Someone on my soccer team actually did the Intuit return to work program two years ago & is full time there now (I’m not sure how many different tracks they have, but she’s also a math/data science person & is super friendly) - happy to connect you two if it would be useful. Good luck, and I’m so happy for you, very well deserved!

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This is awesome! Congratulations @nbharatula :smiley:

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@jamesd: thank you! I’ll be so happy if my journey helps others. Also happy to answer any questions folks might have, anytime.

@mcleavey: thank you! I think I know who you’re talking about! will dm. :slight_smile:

@init_27: thank you!

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@nbharatula A big congratulations to you!! I am so happy for you and I look forward to hear more great updates like this!!!

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Congrats @nbharatula!! You’ve done a great job at achieving your goals! :smile:

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Thank you, Rachel!

Thanks @sparalic!! Long time no see! :slight_smile:

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@nbharatula I know, I’ve been traveling internationally for work quite a bit. But we should plan something and get to get to celebrate!!

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