What Learning to Code Taught Me

It’s not as easy as ABC or 123, but maybe 1010…

A few months ago, I had a phone call with a recruiter. It had taken me weeks to set this call up. It all began with a networking call, then an email reference to internal HR, then finally to the recruiter for the job that I was interested in. The job was as an Operations Analyst at a popular fashion retailer and I could not have been more excited. Despite my sticky palms, I hopped on the recruiting call, ready to discuss why I was most qualified for the position. After running through my resume with the recruiter, she mentioned that she was impressed with both my enthusiasm and experiences just coming out of college, however, the position required a working knowledge of SQL. At the time, I only had experience with R code, a coding language that I learned in my Quantitative Business Analytics courses. She said that this would not normally be a considerable problem, however there is a mandatory SQL test during the recruitment process that I would not be able to finish if I did not understand SQL. After thanking her for the call, I remember sitting in my room completely frustrated. I had just lost an incredible opportunity due to the fact that I did not have one simple skill. It was then and there that I knew I had to roll up my sleeves and take a crack at it. Challenge accepted.

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In simple terms, a coder is someone who writes specific instructions or a “program” for a computer to understand and process the submitted request in the form of a completed task. Different coding languages are used for different purposes and require a specific language for writing “instructions”. SQL is a particularly helpful language for managing data in a relational database management system, making it useful for data analytics roles. 

If you are a beginner, like myself, I recommend using Codecademy to get your feet wet! Codecademy is free to sign up and offers various different courses to learn coding languages, such as SQL, Python, R, and Java. After signing up for my SQL course on Codecademy, I decided to dive right into the first session. Each session is composed of a few parts, the main ones being lessons, informational articles, projects, and quizzes. I especially appreciated the variety in material the courses offer, which helps coders learn the language more than memorize it. I also really enjoyed the challenging projects within each session that tests your coding skills in a useful and practical manner. 

After earning my “Learn SQL” course with Codecademy this past November, I had a few takeaways that I thought were worth sharing. My first takeaway is that, although the phrase “learning to code” and other tech terminology may seem intimidating, coding can be learned by anyone no matter what skill level. If your ambition is there, there is no stopping what you can learn, especially given the incredible online resources at your disposal. If you put your mind to something you can just about teach yourself anything. Simply put, learning to code is just like learning a new language. It seems intimidating from the start, but the magic is in when you find out it really isn’t too complicated. You are just not versed in the conversation yet!

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Another noteworthy takeaway is that coding allows you to think in ways you never approached problems before. When you are in the process of learning to code, you are pushed to ask yourself difficult questions that may be frustrating in the beginning. Coding forces you to dive deeply into the “why” questions, which you must answer in order to write efficient and useful code. Learning to code orients your mind into breaking down complex issues into bit size pieces that you must understand in order to accomplish your goal. A life lesson almost more than a coding one. 

Lastly, learning to code helps you become more detail oriented in your thinking. When writing code, you must go through a step by step process of explaining to the computer what to do. But, once you get the basics down, it is just learning what more functions and short cuts are at your disposal. It is incredible learning about the possibilities of coding, organizing data, and the capabilities of modern technology. You just have to try it for yourself!

The future is only going to become more and more technologically integrated, making it worth understanding the fundamentals to fully appreciate the world’s sheer complexity. It is only when we uncover the basics that we begin to understand how far we have developed as a people, society, and world. Thank you internet. 

CEO Sit Down: MetaLogic Consulting with Rayan Goyal

A company providing creative machine learning and data science solutions for the world.

There is no question that machine learning and artificial intelligence have become a crucial component in business today. As companies collect more and more data, these tools have been deployed to help businesses derive meaningful insights and support business decisions. Having worked in the manufacturing sector, Rayan and Aditya quickly realized the need for sophisticated analytics in this industry and, after graduating from Babson College this past May, Rayan and Aditya started their own data science driven consulting firm MetaLogic Consulting. MetaLogic Consulting provides tailor-made, data driven solutions to manufacturing companies across the American Midwest and beyond. I had the privilege to sit down with one of the CEOs Rayan Goyal to learn more about how their company is making a serious impact driven by data.

Rayan, tell us about yourself!

Hey! I’m Rayan, and I am from Chennai, India. Growing up, I always had a passion for numbers and mathematics, which eventually led me to concentrate in Computational Finance and Data Analytics at Babson College. I also grew up in a very business-oriented environment, and so I have always wanted to start my own company. As soon as I graduated from Babson, my roommate Aditya Kaushika and I co-founded MetaLogic Consulting, which is a company that provides machine learning and data science solutions for primarily American manufacturing firms. 

What was the inspiration behind starting your consulting practice MetaLogic Consulting and what differentiates your company from other consulting firms?

After working for multiple manufacturing companies in the Midwest and in India, Aditya and I realized that there was a lack of sophisticated analytics being implemented in large corporations that you would expect to have top-level analytics. We realized that most data scientists tend to flock to the east or west coast, leaving this huge untapped market in the Midwest. So, we came up with the idea of creating a machine learning and data science consulting company that specifically targets manufacturing companies in the Midwest. 

To your second question, there are multiple factors that differentiate us from other consulting companies. As I mentioned before, we are targeting an industry and a market that tends to be ignored by large consulting firms. Also, we have an entire dedicated team that works on each project that we are hired for, which is very different from the “one consultant” approach that is standard in the industry. Furthermore, we not only provide end-to-end solutions, but we also tailor-make our services to unique customer requirements. 

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What is the mission and ethos of your company?

Broadly speaking, our mission is to help companies derive the most out of their data. You’d be surprised to know how many companies there are out there that collect a ton of data but don’t really do much with it. Our goal is to help them use this data in meaningful ways to grow, expand profits, and realize returns.

What is the greatest challenge that you have experienced in starting your new business?

I think that the biggest challenge that we encountered was that we had to repurpose our fundamental data science and machine learning knowledge to fit the different tools used by different companies. To be more specific, we had to re-learn, in a way, how to do what we do using the different softwares and environments that are used by various companies.

What makes machine learning and artificial intelligence so critical to business in today’s world?

At MetaLogic, we have always said that machine learning and artificial intelligence are no longer luxuries but are necessary to stay competitive in today’s business world. Let me give you a very simplified example to explain what I mean. Assume that you are a widget manufacturer that has only one machine. After using the machine for a year straight, it breaks down for two weeks. During these two weeks, you have an increase in costs (repairs and maintenance), a decrease in revenue (no inventory to sell), and a newly-developed perception of being unreliable. 

To prevent all these things from happening, your company could have used a machine learning algorithm that tracks your machine usage data and tells you when you need to repair it or how to use it optimally to prevent breakdowns. Now, this is a very simplified example, but the point is that as businesses and processes get more complex, there are countless opportunities for machine learning and data science to help improve efficiencies. This is especially true if companies want to stay ahead of the curve and be competitive. 

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What is one thing that you wish more people knew about data science?

I think that there is a preconceived notion that data science, and machine learning specifically, is a field that is very complicated and overwhelming. A lot of executives only think of autonomous cars or highly sophisticated concepts when they think of machine learning, which, in turn, makes them feel like it is not applicable to their business. But, in reality, data science can be applied to the simplest of tasks at almost every single company in the world that collects data. 

What about the future excites you?

I believe that the future is very exciting for data science as a whole. More companies are understanding the value in implementing machine learning and data science within their firms. This not only means a larger market for us but also leads to more deliberate and interesting decisions taken by companies across the board. 

Where to find MetaLogic:

Email: rayan.goyal@metalogicconsulting.com



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