Wondering what to expect from employers as a data science graduate? Karishma Chandrakumar shares her experience of her first year at Citi.
How do you get your foot in the door of the data science industry? For Karishma Chandrakumar, the graduate programme at Citi was her chosen path.
Chandrakumar is currently in her second year of the programme, having recently completed her master’s in big data management and analytics at Griffith College Dublin. During her rotations at Citi so far, she has gotten exposure to different departments from her base in the company’s Innovation Lab.
Here, she talks about the colleagues who helped calm her nerves when she first joined, and what she now does in a typical day at work.
‘I am more confident and have learned how to approach a problem better in order to solve it’
– KARISHMA CHANDRAKUMAR
With this programme, are you now working in your desired industry?
Yes, I currently work in the Innovation Lab at Citi and my team works with all the latest big data technologies and on various interesting data science projects. I have been lucky enough to involve myself closely with a few of them. It is a wonderful learning experience for a beginner like myself.
What drew you to Citi when you were seeking work as a graduate?
I read about the graduate role that Citi offered on the website and one thing that caught my attention was the two-year rotation. I thought that it is a very good opportunity to have at such an early stage, especially with Citi since it is a global organisation.
We get to be part of two different teams within these two years and in two different departments of the business. It is a great way to understand what you wish to pursue in the future. It’s great exposure to understand the business as a whole.
What expectations did you have before you began the programme?
As a ‘fresher’, I was very nervous to step into the corporate world. Having to work with so many people who have had years of experience in their field made me a tad bit jittery. But this soon changed because my manager and team were the most welcoming and understanding.
They helped me a lot with everything I needed. [They were] extremely accommodating and I was given enough time to learn any new technology that my team used in a project before I could start to deliver as a team member.
What duties and responsibilities were you given initially?
Initially, after learning more about the technology, I was involved in a mini project where I put to use the skills I developed on the job. Later on, I was given simple coding tasks in an ongoing project to get the feel of the application and the technologies used. This helped me enhance my skillsets. Citi encourages us graduates to learn every day.
Did the scope of your work change as the programme progressed?
The scope of my work did not change drastically. The only change was moving from one project to another. The main tasks within these were to develop some code.
Can you describe a typical day in your role?
My day starts with a daily checkpoint with my team. We discuss what we worked on the previous day, if we had any blockers, etc. We also decide as a team what each team member intends to work on for the day, after which we get on with our work. Any issues I may come across through the day, my team is very approachable and provides help immediately.
How do your responsibilities compare to more experienced employees’?
I am assigned tasks based on my experience. The senior members have more critical tasks to complete but make sure I am given a walkthrough of what they did so that I can attempt it at a later stage. And this opportunity, according to me, is key to growing in my career. They even take the time to help me with my task, if needed. Even at a time like this where everyone is working remotely, they make sure they are available all the time.
Do you feel more prepared for working life after entering this programme?
One year into the programme and I have learned a lot. I am definitely very excited to start my second year and can say that I am more confident and have learned how to approach a problem better in order to solve it. I’m looking forward to see how my career takes shape post-programme.
Why should someone apply to the graduate programme at Citi?
There are many reasons why someone should apply to Citi’s graduate programme. It’s a great atmosphere to work in; very kind and helpful team members, lots of benefits given to employees, encourages diverse working cultures, very enthusiastic and optimistic senior members. And Citi as an organisation takes very seriously the importance of being friendly to the environment and actively take steps towards it too. Overall, a great organisation to start your career.