Aparna Venkatesh - DUKE.ai Data Scientist
Aparna knew she had a gift for science and math, but she had no idea how far (literally and figuratively) it would take her, in finding her path to Dallas-based, DUKE.ai.
Originally from India, Aparna moved to the United States with her husband and their 5-month-old baby in tow. She was working as a technology team lead, up until the last day before moving halfway across the country. Her career, once she arrived in the U.S., was put on hold, to take care of her family while her husband went to work. Aparna admitted it was going to be an adjustment adapting to a new workforce in a new environment, especially since she didn’t have a work visa. “I knew I wanted to do something for myself, so I took classes to understand all the cultural and work differences here in the U.S.,” said Aparna.
Aparna earned a Master of Business Administration in Finance, but was surrounded by family and other loved ones who worked in IT. Even her husband – who also worked within the industry – encouraged her to explore the possibilities IT had to offer.
From there, Aparna enrolled in a 10-week Amazon Web Services (AWS) bootcamp to become a certified clout integration practitioner. Once she completed her certification, she landed an internship with Belfor, which she described as a very hands-on experience. “This (experience) felt very familiar like the time I had as a team lead back in India,” said Aparna.
Following Belfor, Aparna began working with DUKE.ai., a company that provides a proprietary, end-to-end, customizable SaaS solution to automated document processing workflows for such applications as load order entry, bookkeeping and accounting. She’s currently involved with coding projects there.
Aparna appreciated DUKE giving her ample time to learn assignments around Python, the company’s coding platform. Aparna also fully appreciates DUKE.ai’s CEO, Marcus Cooksey, for the opportunity provided to deep dive into something she’s passionate about. In addition to an employment position, Aparna acknowledges Marcus for offering her a mentor, to better understand her coding projects. Aparna’s mentor helped her learn DUKE’s processes, which added features to new and existing tools. This one-on-one time with her mentor gave Aparna the confidence she needed to excel in her role.
Aparna wanted to take the experience she’s had with working at DUKE, studying coding and pass on that knowledge to others. “I want to help other women be happy in this industry and I can start by sharing my experience,” explained Aparna. “I learned that working with DUKE’s cooperative program gave me the opportunity to have ownership in my projects, which means so much to my development,” added Aparna.
Her journey has come full-circle and she recognizes in addition to her coding responsibilities, Aparna wants to encourage other women to push themselves, explore and participate in programs like the ones DUKE offers.