Arpita Bangera

Data Scientist

How do you pronounce your name?

It’s pronounced ‘Arpi-THa’. Americans pronounce ‘t-a’ as ‘ta’. In India you don’t have to put an ‘h’ in the name, it is understood that you pronounce ‘ta’ like ‘tha’. I never correct anyone, I just go with the flow as it doesn’t really affect my life. I’m okay with any pronunciation.

What brought you to OODA Health?

I came to Utah to complete my Master’s Degree. I wanted to work for a company in healthcare. As I learned about OODA Health, I was impressed by how the business is taking the initiative to address all of the difficulties that we have in the healthcare system by trying to bridge the gap between payers, providers, and patients. I asked for an interview hoping to be a part of the solution.

What is your favorite part of your job?

I get to work with brilliant minds every day. I also appreciate that if I have an idea for a project, I can approach my manager and get approval to work on it. Many companies have restricted workflows. At OODA, if you can show the value your idea can bring you can work on it. When I talk to my colleagues or friends, they are jealous because I always talk about new technologies and projects that I have the chance to pursue.

What has the company done that you feel proud of?

They care for each employee, which is important to me. During the pandemic, I saw how everyone showed care for each other by checking in regularly. I also appreciate the lunch & learns and day-in-the-life presentations by co-workers. All those small things, when you look at them, it creates an impact.

Give us an example of a project you’ve worked on recently

I get new things to work on daily. In some companies, a data scientist works on machine learning and analysis. Other teams do data engineering and business intelligence. Here at OODA, we do all of it. A recent project I worked on was getting up Dash (a framework for building ML and data science web apps) which has all of the reports hosted for the company. That was a lot of fun. I worked closely with the SRE team to brainstorm which tool to use. They helped us get the architecture of Dash up and running on one of the EC2 instances and provided a seamless deployment process that required less configuration setup on our side. It feels like plug and play and the code is deployed. Our SRE team knows their stuff.

What is the best thing about working from home?

I am a night person. I have difficulties waking up, but I can’t sleep at night. The flexibility to work from home- as long as I’m accomplishing my work and attending required meetings, I can work anytime I want. Also, I don’t drive a car, so transportation is a bliss. It takes like two seconds to get from my bed to my desk. I save a lot of time. I also like to be at the office with other people to talk & collaborate. So, I miss the office as well.

What do you like to do outside of work?

I like to hike (see picture above). Utah is the right place for that- being surrounded by national parks. I have a list of places I want to go to once the pandemic is over. I have some national parks to visit and some beaches to see. First, I want to go to Yosemite. Then Redwood National Park. I also want to visit Miami and Key West too. Next summer I will get there.

What is your favorite National Park in Utah?

Zion, obviously. I did Angels Landing. It was a good feeling to reach the top. Looking back, I was so proud that I made it. It was breathtaking and scary at the top. I probably will never do that again, though. One time was enough. The St. George area is beautiful as well.

Do you remember your first cell phone?

Yes! It was a Nokia 3110, basically a black box. It wasn't a smartphone. It was a phone with buttons to receive calls, texts, and maybe play some basic games. I got it in 12th grade as a gift from my parents.

What advice would you give to someone looking to get into data science?

It is better to have statistical knowledge in data science. It will help you a lot. To know a programming language, any language is helpful. SQL will help a lot.

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