Priya: “Dataquest helped me to help others”

January 10, 2018

Priya Iyer decided to learn data science so that she could better help people. Her startup, Tulalens, operated for two years and raised $100k towards helping women in urban slums. Tulelens helped the women launch small businesses that sold iron-rich foods, and shared information on iron-deficiency anemia.

Priya and her partners realized that they could be more efficient if they took a more data-driven approach towards predicting which category women would fall into in terms of iron intake. She tried using Excel to handle the data, but it was cumbersome. Programming seemed to be the answer.

Codeacademy and Learn Python the Hard Way didn’t stick. “I don’t learn well when people just tell me what to do and I can’t ask questions.”

Dataquest gave her the foundation and the motivation she needed. “Even though I did a lot of stats in my masters, I didn’t really retain it until I used it on problems that I cared about. With Dataquest, I could apply the concepts to interesting data sets.”

Dataquest also made learning programming less intimidating, by breaking projects down to simple terms. “Programming seemed like a big hurdle—often when you read a StackOverflow answer, it doesn’t seem like English.”

Priya is now a Senior Analytics Lead at biotech company Genentech, and also freelances as a Data Science Consultant. At Genentech, she focuses on improving patient access to drugs. At least 20% of her time is spent using Python to combine data and perform predictive analytics (which is new for her team).

Dataquest continues to help her as she grows her skills—”I still refer back to the guided projects I’ve done. Being able to use Python to help benefit women was really motivating.”


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