Great Learning’s Excelerate Program has bridged the gap between the right skills and the right job opportunities – Brahadeeswaran, Business Analyst at Genpact

Reading Time: 3 minutes

When you realise that the career you are in is going nowhere, you can either give up and leave it to the fate or take charge and make efforts transition into more demanded roles. Brahadeeswaran chose the latter when he realised that his career as a Software Quality Engineer was going to be obsolete in the coming years. This is when he joined Great Learning’s PG program in Business Analytics and Business Intelligence to transition into Analytics job roles. 

What is your professional background?

Being an Electrical Engineer, I started my career in the IT industry and worked with Cognizant for about three years as a Software Quality Engineer. Initially, I gained experience in both Manual and Automation Testing. After two years, I felt the job which I was was doing was monotonous, and I was aware that testing profiles would gradually become obsolete. That’s when I joined Great Learning’s PGP-BABI program to upskill and stay relevant for the next few years. I was advised by many Great Learning alumni to take up the BABI course, which would help me to do a better career transition towards the field of Analytics.

What did you like about the course structure and curriculum?

I liked the intensive curriculum that covers different tools and domains. I enjoyed the faculty interaction during the sessions and peer learning, where there was excellent scope for knowledge sharing. I started exploring various tools like Python, R, Tableau, SAS and had hands-on exercise with all assignments conducted during this program. Every concept followed discussion questions, a quiz, and an assignment. Guidance from the Great Lakes faculty Dr P. K. Viswanathan, Raghav Shyam, Vivek & Gurumoorthi helped to learn faster and better because of their style of teaching that involved extensive examples. I will be using tools like R, Python, SAS, and Tableau extensively at my current job. 

How was the Capstone Project helpful?

Even though I was an outsider to the world of Analytics, my capstone had changed everything. Our project guide Dr. D. Narayana helped us in approaching the problem correctly and guided us at every step. Initially, we were sceptical on how to proceed with our capstone project, but he exceptionally motivated us to go ahead with it. I gained skills while exploring a new concept called NLP (Natural language Processing). Since its a research project, we have published our project in a well-reputed Journal. Interviewers asked about my capstone project in every interview I attended, and it helped me in getting overall positive feedback. Even in my Genpact interview, the capstone played an essential part in getting me hired.

What helped you most in your career transition?

Great Learning’s PGP-BABI program helped to leverage my skills in Statistics, Machine Learning, and Data visualization. I was technically sound with different Machine learning concepts before giving my interviews. All the interaction with industry mentors and faculties helped me deal with real-time business problems and find solutions using Analytics. Great Learning’s Excelerate Program has bridged the gap between the right skill and the right job opportunities for my next role. I got selected at Genpact through Excelerate for a Business Analyst role and helped me to make a better transition.

What is your advice for the aspirants looking for Analytics role?

As long as you have your eyes on the goal, you don’t see obstacles. Goals lead to purpose in life. It is the starting point for success. It doesn’t matter where we are today; what matters is the direction we are heading in.

Consistent self-paced learning is required by practising more problems to a greater extent apart from academics. This course will make our statistical foundation secure and will provide a great experience. Learn it in a structured way and try to implement it into a few projects which will help you gain confidence before applying for jobs. If your fundamentals are strong with some hands-on project & relevant experience, that will help you crack interviews. I am from a Software Quality background, but I leveraged my skills in R, statistics, and machine learning concepts, which helped me to clinch my interview. The interview process was somewhat relevant to what I had studied in the program about statistics and machine learning fundamentals. You don’t require any coding experience or prior knowledge before you start. I did not have enough understanding of analytics myself. Still, after joining this program, I was delighted with the way the gurus taught and provided exposure to the world of Analytics.

Learn more about Great Learning’s PG program in Business Analytics and Business Intelligence.

How is design thinking helping professionals to excel?

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works. – Steve Jobs

Professionals and organizations often confuse design thinking to be associated only with the designers who implement design ideas to develop branding elements. But clearly, design thinking is not just that. Some of the leading global brands have implemented design thinking into their processes to achieve great results. Companies such as Apple, P&G, PepsiCo, and SAP have outperformed the S&P 500 by a whopping 211%, all thanks to design thinking. On the other hand, some companies and professionals are still trying to get the hang of the concept of design thinking and how to apply it to their business problems. In this article, we will talk about how design thinking helps professionals to excel in their initiatives. Let’s start by understanding the concept.

What is Design Thinking?

Design thinking is a human-centric process where organizations and professionals observe problems from a different perspective by putting themselves in the customers’ shoes. It helps in identifying the problems and questions to solve, and the correct solutions to those problems. It is a process of bringing in innovation through:

– Understanding the specific needs of clients and identifying the burning pain points

– Outlining a problem statement to act upon

– Ideating and prototyping innovative solutions that cater to the problem identified

– Testing the solution for its underlying purpose

– Once tested successfully, applying the solution to solve the identified problem.

Now that we have a basic idea about what design thinking is, let us see how is it helping professionals to excel.

What are some of the design thinking benefits for professionals?

Design thinking can be applied to any industry

Let’s have a look at the companies which extensively use design thinking concepts at the core of their brand initiatives. Airbnb, Toshiba, Apple, IBM, Lego, Accenture, Marriott, Microsoft, Daimler, and many more organizations across industries are using design thinking to solve critical problems from a customer perspective.

Design thinking plays a vital role in the way these companies bring about innovation, make critical decisions, and remain global leaders in their respective industries. Design thinking concepts apply to all departments within organizations across industries, and hence it opens up a plethora of opportunities for professionals to move into design thinking environments.

Reinforcing Innovation

Design thinking helps professionals to come up with new and innovative solutions to the real problems of clients or customers. This helps in creating new opportunities for the company to have a competitive advantage. When a slowdown in innovation leads to a state of stagnation for the company, design thinkers can generate novel solutions to differentiate itself from the competitors and open new doors to propel growth.

Case Study: How can design thinking reinvent a brand – P&G’s ‘Oil of Olay’

P&G struggled with its premium skincare brand in the 1990s which was then considered old-fashioned and irrelevant. They realized that only innovations could help them be a market leader in this segment and they chose to do it the ‘Design Thinking’ way. They had three strategic choices to go ahead:

  1. Launching another new brand
  2. Buying an established skincare leader
  3. Re-invent the Olay brand

User research, the first step of design thinking, helped them to infer some useful insights. The brand was well known in the market and had considerable potential. The existing customers, women over 50 years of age, were price-sensitive and minimally invested in skincare. Most of the competitors were focusing on this segment and opportunity for growth was scarce.

The conclusion: Use Olay’s brand name, and reinvent the brand through innovation.

Solution: Focus on ‘non-customers’ to innovate and reinvent the brand.

P&G focused on the third set of non-customers as defined by ‘Blue-Ocean Strategy’, i.e., the unexplored non-customers who are in markets distant from others. It was observed that women in mid-thirties were using body lotions on their face. They were also using a day cream, night cream, facials and other traditional skincare methods. These are the women who noticed their first set of wrinkles and are vulnerable and anxious as compared to the older segment. They were worried about keeping their skin healthy and youthful. This set of women were more committed and ready to pay a premium price for proper skincare.

Without focusing on ‘wrinkles’ alone, P&G identified other needs of these mid-thirties women as dry skin, age spots, uneven skin tones, and appearance of skin. These were the new value propositions of a new product which was not being catered by any competitor. Hence, “Olay Total Effects” was launched in 1999 as a masstige (between mass and prestige segment) product, a result of true value innovation through design thinking.

 

Strengthening Leadership

Design thinking holds the power to transform failures into essential components of success by making small iterations to the solution. Leaders that pursue the design thinking approach for coming up with solutions to business-critical issues, reduce their chances of failure as the solutions are based on the insights drawn directly from the customer data and inputs.

Example: How Indra Nooyi turned Design Thinking into Strategy

At an interview by Harvard Business Review, Indra Nooyi was asked what problem was Indra Nooyi trying to solve by making PepsiCo more design-driven? She answered, “I visit a market every week to see what we look like on the shelves. The shelves just seem more and more cluttered, so I thought we had to rethink our innovation process and design experiences for our consumers—from conception to what’s on the shelf.”

The example of Pepsi Spire: Pepsi Spire is a touch screen fountain machine which facilitates a fundamentally different interaction with consumers. A gigantic iPad interacts with you as you try to make yourself a drink. When you add flavours, it shows beautiful shots of the flavours being added so that you experience that infusion of flavours and not just get a boring final output. The machine tracks what you buy, and the next time you swipe your card, it reminds you of the combinations you tried last time.

Talking about design failures, she says that PepsiCo follows a test, prove, launch approach in China and Japan markets. If you launch too quickly, you fail, but that’s ok in these smaller markets. In the U.S.A, the company is much cautious and follows many organized processes before launching a prototype.

Mountain Due Kickstart is a design hero for PepsiCo that has generated more than $200 million in just two years.

Encouraging Creativity

Design thinking initiatives require a creative mindset and active brainstorming for coming up with probable solutions to an identified problem statement. Thinking out of the box and tuning your thought process to explore unknown territories will help in coming up with innovative solution alternatives to the problem.

Case Study: GE Healthcare, From terrifying to terrific – making MRIs less scary and more fun for young patients

Kids had a tough time while going through an MRI scan. The anxiety curve for kids and their parents starts with finding out that the kid needs a scan. The anxiety amplifies until the time they reach the hospital, already upset by the time they see the scanner. The dim lights, dull paints, the sound that the machine makes, the fact that the kid is alone in the machine, and the general hospital vibe add to the gloomy and scary experience.

The answer was to provide a welcoming environment so that the kids would feel getting scanned as an adventure and not a trial. The pilot rooms were showcased at the University of Pittsburgh hospital and received an incredible response. There were various themes and adventures including aromatherapy, calming decorations, even disco ball bubbles. In such setups, the commands to get the scan done are a part of the adventure. An example of an adventure series installed was that children have to get into a canoe and hold the boat still so that it doesn’t rock. If the child holds still, the fish will start to jump over them. 

design thinking benefits

Promoting team-work

Design thinking spreads its wings across multiple domains in an organization. A design thinking project needs an array of professionals with varying skill sets to come together and form a team to ensure project success. Such teams propose different perspectives and ideas to finally choose the best way forward after carefully evaluating each idea. This collaborative force is the true essence of design thinking.

Case Study: How we design in the UberEATS team

UberEATS design thinking team sets a classic example of teamwork and team initiatives being at the core of design thinking program. The designers on the team love food culture, logistical challenges, and the other demands of a fast-growing startup. These are the areas where the design thinking team at UberEATS puts in most of their efforts.

The approach that the team takes is to move out of their offices and immerse themselves in the markets where their customers dwell. They move about the cities to understand the food culture there and watch how customers are using their designs.

The products being new and complex, need to be tested and iterated real-time. In this kind of a design environment, speed is crucial to get the required results in the desired time. The teams identify opportunities through their immersion initiatives and improve the design as quickly as possible.

Ultimately, Delivering Business Value 

All functions in a design-led company have a common point of focus and that is the customer. Design thinking involves small cross-functional teams with shared incentives while maintaining constant customer interaction.

Design-led companies also use qualitative and quantitative research for effective product development and understanding customers’ exact requirements, using different techniques such as social media scraping, organizing focus groups, warranty data analysis, and ethnographic research among others. Continuously listening to the client/ customer even long after the initial conceptualization phase and improving customer experiences post-launch helps to improve business value in the longer run. Many other best practices that fall under the umbrella of design thinking are aimed directly at helping the business provide stellar value to the customers and differentiate from the competition.

 

The importance of design thinking is only increasing. It is becoming more and more relevant in a time where customers have achieved global access to products and services and have developed a high benchmark in terms of customer service. The thin line between the physical and digital experiences is fading and this makes it difficult for organizations to stand out from the crowd. Applying design thinking to your business problems will help you rise above the competition. Now is the right time to harness the power of design thinking.

For those interested in Design Thinking, top international business schools are offering courses that aim at equipping future business strategists with the knowledge that help brands prioritise user experience. SGSB (Stanford Graduate School of Business) is among the best to offer courses on Design Thinking. You can even enrol for these courses through Great Learning– India’s premier institute of e-learning. Check out the curriculum here for a better understanding of the course formats.

 

 

 

Top 10 Hot Artificial Intelligence Technologies

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Introduction to Artificial Intelligence

Talking of advancements, from Abacus to Super-Computers, the world has come a long way. The world, say a hundred years ago was highly dependent on manual execution. Simple tasks such as arithmetic operations too were long and tedious. Having realized this difficulty, various technologies capable of executing complex calculations were introduced.

These technologies grew rapidly and soon the world saw it’s potential. Calculations now were quicker and accurate. Such technologies saw a great implementation in various fields including research and development, defence, healthcare, business, etc.

But however efficient these machines were, there was always a lack of “Intelligence”. Computers may be reliable, accurate and a gazillion times faster than a human but they were all but “dumb machines”.

Artificial Intelligence is a concept far superior to any other concept and aims to make machines able to learn and respond on their own.

Though the term Artificial Intelligence has been around for more than 5 decades, it was not until 2 decades before that the world started realizing its huge potential. Artificial Intelligence has a plethora of applications in areas such as Natural Language Processing, Simulations, Robotics and Speech Recognition to name a few.

While the potential of Artificial Intelligence and its applications has been realized, but due to the complexities involved, the advancements in this field, as of now, is only restricted to the development of Weak Artificial Intelligence Systems also known as Narrow Artificial Intelligence Systems.

There has been a steady development in the field of Artificial Intelligence and the growth is exponential. Today, Artificial Intelligence is everywhere. From Google to Facebook and Shopping to Learning, Artificial Intelligence is at the forefront.

There are many technologies in existence today that have a direct or indirect application of Artificial Intelligence. Let’s have a look at some of these latest Artificial Intelligence technologies to understand better:

Natural Language Generation

Popularly known as “Language Production” among Psycholinguists, Natural Language Generation is a procedure that aims to transform any structured data into a natural language. In layman terms, natural language generation can be thought of as a process that converts thoughts to words.

For example, when a child looks at a butterfly flying in a garden, he may think of it in various ways. Those thoughts may be called ideas. But when the child describes his thought process in his natural language (mother tongue), this process may be termed as Natural Language Generation.

Natural Language Understanding

Natural Language Understanding is the opposite of Natural Language Generation. This procedure is more inclined towards the interpretation of Natural Language.

In the example above, if the child is told about the butterfly rather than shown, he may interpret the data given to him in a variety of ways. Based on that interpretation, the boy will make a picture of a butterfly flying in a garden. If the interpretation was correct, then one may infer that the procedure (Natural Language Understanding) was successful.

Speech Recognition

As the name suggests, Speech Recognition is a technology that uses Artificial Intelligence to convert human speech into a computer-accessible format. The process is very helpful and acts as a bridge in human-computer interaction.

Using Speech Recognition technology, the computer can understand human speech in several natural languages. This further enables the computer to have a faster and smoother interaction with humans.

For example, let’s say that the child in the first example was asked, “How are you?” during a normal human to human interaction. When the child listens to the human speech sample, he processes the sample according to the data (knowledge) already present in his brain.

The child draws necessary inferences and finally comes up with an idea about what the sample is about. This way, the child can understand the meaning of the speech sample and respond accordingly.

Machine Learning

Machine Learning is yet another useful technology in the Artificial Intelligence domain. This technology is focussed on training a machine (computer) to learn and think on its own. Machine Learning typically uses many complex algorithms for training the machine.

During the process, the machine is given a set of categorized or uncategorized training data pertaining to a specific or a general domain. The machine then analyses the data, draws inferences and stores them for future use.

When the machine encounters any other sample data of the domain it has already learned, it uses the stored inferences to draw necessary conclusions and give an appropriate response.

For example, let’s say that the child in the first example was shown a collection of toys. The child interacts (using his senses like touch, see, etc.) with the training data (toys) and learns about the toys’ properties. These properties can be anything from size, colour, shape, etc. of the toys.

Based on his observations the child stores the inferences and uses them to distinguish between any other toys that he may have any future encounters with. Thus, it can be concluded that the child has learned.

Virtual Agents

Virtual Agents are a manifestation of a technology which aims to create an effective but digital impersonation of humans. Quite popular in the customer care domain, Virtual Agents use the combination of Artificial Intelligence programming, Machine Learning, Natural Language Processing, etc. to understand the customer and his grievances.

A clear understanding by the Virtual Agents is subject to the complexity and technologies used in the creation of the agent. These systems are nowadays highly used through a variety of applications such as chatbots, affiliate systems, etc. These systems are capable of interacting with humans in a humane way.

In the above-mentioned examples, if the child is considered a Virtual Agent and is made to interact with unknown participants, the child will use a combination of his already learned knowledge, language processing and other necessary “tools” to understand the participant.

Once the interaction is complete, the child will derive inferences based on the interaction and be able to address the queries posed by the participant effectively.

Expert Systems

In the context of Artificial Intelligence, Expert Systems are computer systems that utilize a pre-stored knowledge base and mimic the decision-making ability of humans. These complex systems utilize reasoning ability and the predefined ‘if-then’ rules.

Contrary to conventional procedural code based machines, Expert Systems are highly efficient in solving complex problems. Extending the above examples a bit further, the child, based on his pre-existing knowledge base and inference deriving capability is capable of analyzing problems and suggest methods to solve them.

Decision Management

Modern Decision Management Systems highly rely on Artificial Intelligence abilities in interpreting and converting data into predictive models. These models, in the long run, help an organization to take necessary and effective decisions.

These systems are widely used in a vast number of enterprise-level applications. Such applications provide automated decision-making capabilities to any person or organization using it.

If the child in the above example is considered as a Decision Management System, based on the knowledge set and reasoning abilities, he shall be able to manage his decisions effectively. If the child is given access to a certain behavioural data of say 10 people, then the child will be able to make near-accurate predictions. Such predictions will govern the decisions the child will make to address the problem at hand.

Deep Learning

Deep Learning is a special subset of Machine Learning based on Artificial Neural Networks. During the process, learning is carried out at different levels where each level is capable of transforming the input data set into composite and abstract representations.

The term “deep” in this context refers to the number of levels of data transformation carried out by the computer system. The technology finds its applications in a variety of domains such as Computer Vision, News Aggregation (sentiment-based), development of efficient chatbots, automated translations, rich customer experience, etc.

For the sake of a simpler example, if the child in the above examples carries out learning restricted to only a single level, then the output (response) may not be specific to the problem but general. Learning at a deeper level helps the child in understanding the problem better. Hence it can be inferred that deeper the learning is, more accurate is the response.

Robotic Process Automation

Artificial Intelligence is also heavily used at industrial levels to automate various processes. While manual robotics is capable of completing the job, it lacks the necessary automation required to complete the task without human intervention.

Such automated systems help in larger domains where it is not feasible to employ humans. If the child, in the above examples, is considered a Robot without intelligence, he shall be dependent on others to carry out his chores.

While he may still be able to complete his work, he would not be able to do it all by himself. Intelligence enables him to work independently without having to rely on any external interventions.

Text Analytics

Text Analytics can be defined as an analysis of text structure. Artificially Intelligent Systems use text analytics to interpret and learn the structure, meaning, and intentions of text they may come across.

Such systems find their applications in security and fraud detection systems. An Artificial Intelligence enabled system can distinguish between any two types of text samples without any human intervention. This independence makes such a system effective, efficient and faster than its human counterparts.

The child’s intelligence, in the above examples, will also be able to make him capable of distinguishing between the handwritings written by his family members.

To summarize, Artificial Intelligence finds a variety of applications in various fields. In all the examples mentioned above, the child was able to tackle all the problems independently because he was intelligent and was not dependent on external instructions but relied on his own inferences.

Artificial Intelligence Technologies

Conclusion

Being highly advanced and capable of solving very complex problems, Artificial Intelligence is the key to the future. Various industries and organizations today, are making extensive use of Artificial Intelligence to fulfil the requirements that were once considered very difficult to meet.

Modern research has suggested growth in Artificial Intelligence domain at the rate of 36.6 % and shall be worth $190.60 billion by the year 2025.

While all the artificial intelligence technologies are expecting a massive growth, Deep Learning is expected to grow the highest in terms of the Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR).

In terms of market share, Artificial Intelligence based software has been forecasted to hold the largest market share. While in terms of geographical area, Asia Pacific is the top contender in terms of the highest Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) and North America is to hold the largest market share.

In a span of just around two decades, Artificial Intelligence has made an exemplary mark on today’s Information Technology industry. It has further provided an impressive set of tools and applications having a wider range in various domains.

Artificial Intelligence has changed the understanding of the world regarding the power of reasoning and methods of problem-solving. Additionally, it has also enlightened us about the complexity of human intelligence.

While some people may perceive Artificial Intelligence as a threat to human existence, responsible and limited use will help humans and technology to co-exist together. Such a co-existence, together, will help in reshaping the very reality we live in and change the face of this world entirely.

For those who are interested in pursuing a career in Artificial Intelligence, check out Great Learning’s PG program in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.

Your essential weekly guide to Artificial Intelligence – October 2019 Part I

Reading Time: 2 minutes

In this week’s Artificial Intelligence digest, we have included some of the latest developments in the field of Artificial Intelligence. These developments suggest a bright future for AI applications across industries and the increasing scope of these technologies in creating more jobs globally in the coming years. 

Unveiling Three Ways Artificial Intelligence is Disrupting the Media and Entertainment Sector

Media and entertainment companies face several challenges that can be attributed to factors such as live streaming of content, unpredictable traffic, personalization and publishing permission-based content. Companies in the media and entertainment sector are investing a significant portion of their budget to improve bandwidth for streaming content seamlessly.

Alibaba Unveils Chip Developed for Artificial Intelligence

The Chinese e-commerce group unveiled the Hanguang 800 on Wednesday, which is designed to carry out the type of calculations used by AI applications much faster than conventional chips.

Software Robots Are Guiding us Into Intelligent Automation, With Less Stress

The big-bang AI and machine learning projects may be stuck in pilots and proofs of concepts, but a less glamorous form of intelligent automation may be percolating its way through processes and channels across enterprises — software bots associated with robotic process automation (RPA). These bots usually take on single-purpose tasks, such as pulling data for a purchase order or delivering an email confirming with a transaction. A majority of enterprises surveyed by Deloitte last year, 53 per cent, report they have put RPA in place, with 72 per cent expecting to do so within the next two years.

Artificial Intelligence Has Become a Tool For Classifying And Ranking People

AI’s ability to classify and rank people, to separate them according to whether they’re “good” or “bad” in relation to certain purposes. At the moment, Western civilization hasn’t reached the point where AI-based systems are used en masse to categorize us according to whether we’re likely to be “good” employees, “good” customers, “good” dates and “good” citizens. Nonetheless, all available indicators suggest that we’re moving in this direction.

Meanwhile, if you are interested to know more about the field of artificial intelligence, we have created a complete tutorial for you to know all about the different concepts and subjects under AI, along with its applications and career scope across industries. You can read the full article here: Artificial Intelligence Tutorial: Everything you Need to Know

 

If you found these articles to be interesting then head over to our Artificial Intelligence blog to get more updates.

Types of Cyber-attacks and Why Cybersecurity is Important

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Not so long ago, cyber-attacks were solely the problem of techies. However, things have changed, and no one can afford to ignore the importance of cybersecurity. Gadgets, phones, and anything that can be connected to a computer or the internet are susceptible to cyber-attacks from criminals. The possibility of data breaches, losing confidential information, and tarnishing the image of a business is heightened with these attacks. Therefore, it is crucial that you know the types of cyber threats and how to buff up your cybersecurity to prevent them.

Types of Cyber-attacks

A cyber-attack is an intentional activity that exploits computers, networks, and enterprises that rely heavily on technology. Malicious codes are used by cybercriminals to alter the data, logic, or code on the computer. The common types of cyber-attacks are:

cybersecurity attacks

  1. Phishing Attacks

Phishing is the technique used to steal a user’s data from the internet or computer-connected device. Login credentials, credit card numbers, and passwords are usually what such hackers obtain from their victims.

Such criminals use disguise, pretending to be someone their victims can trust, and then trick them into opening a message, email, or link. Usually, the victim’s system freezes shortly after clicking the link or message, and their sensitive information becomes accessible to the hacker.

For example, you probably receive spam in your email every day. It is very likely that a few of them would have links to buy a product, or read an article. Such spams can be a window for hackers to steal funds, make unauthorized purchases, or take over your entire computer.

Phishing is one security breach that can have disastrous, and long-lasting effects on a victim. There are several types of phishing attacks which include:

– Whale Phishing: Here, high-profiled employees like CEOs are targeted and tricked into making transfers to the attacker.

– Spear Attack: This is an email targeted threat to an individual or organization.

– Pharming: Pharming is a fraudulent act that directs users to a fake page that looks like the original, to steal from them. For example, an attacker can create a web page that looks exactly like that of the victim’s bank to trick them into entering their pin.

  1. Man-in-the-middle attack

The man-in-the-middle attack is a security breach where cybercriminals place themselves between the communication system of a client and the server. For example, you are on a call with your boss, and he has just given you some sensitive information over the phone. In man-in-the-middle attacks, a criminal will be listening to that conversation and obtain the information you spoke about.

Man-in-the-middle is by far the sneakiest attack by criminals. Vulnerable WiFi connections and communication lines are the easiest means to carry out this security breach. The three common types of man-in-the-middle attack are:

– Session Hijacking: In this cyber-attack, the hacker takes control of the session between the network server and the victim. For instance, the hacker can replace the user’s connection, or even create a fake server that the victim will be tricked into connecting to.

– IP spoofing: This security breach provides access to the hacker by tricking the user into communicating with a known entity. For instance, a packet of internet addresses, including that of a trusted site like google, can be sent to the victim.

– Replay: In this Man-in-the-middle threat, the hacker saves old messages and then uses it later to impersonate the user. For example, if a hacker gets hold of your Instagram page, he or she can use it to impersonate you.

  1. SQL Injection Treat

SQL is an acronym for Structured Query Language, and an SQL attack is one of the oldest cybersecurity breaches. In SQL, queries are made. Therefore, in the SQL injection threat, a malicious query is sent to the device (a computer, phone, etc.) or a server. Sensitive information is then forced to be exposed by the server.

For instance, a cybercriminal can create a query that disrupts and gets into the database of your webpage through SQL injection. All the data, like your customers’ details, amount paid, and other confidential information, can then be released by the query.

The daunting part of this cyber-attack is that the attacker can not only get hold of sensitive information but also alter or wipe them completely.

  1. Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) Attack

This cyber-attack overwhelms a network, system, or computer with unwanted traffic. The system or server is bombarded with high-volume traffic that its bandwidth and resources cannot handle. Hence, they will not be able to respond to requests. For example, a gardening website that notices a sky-rocketed number of visits of unknown users in a day may be under a DDoS attack.

Distributed Denial of Service attacks does not usually result in identity theft or loss of vital information. However, it will cost a lot of money to get the server running again.

  1. Drive-by Attack

Drive-by attacks are security threats that download unwanted materials from a website. It is one of the most common ways of spreading malware as all the hacker has to do is to plant code on the page. You have probably seen a few pop-ups that do not relate in any way to what you are searching on the internet. Such pop-ups are drive-by attacks.

Unlike other cyber-attacks, a drive-by download does not need you to do anything to enable the attack on your computing device. The best way to protect yourself from such threats is to update your internet browsers frequently. Also, do not leave too many apps and programs on your devices open.

  1. Cross-Site Scripting (XSS)

Cross-site scripting is a cyber-attack where an attacker sends malicious code to a reputable website. It is an attack that is permitted only when a website allows code to be attached to its own. The two scripts are then bundled together and sent to the victim. As soon as the script is executed, a cookie is sent to the attacker. With this type of cyber-attack, hackers can collect sensitive data and monitor the activities of the victim.

For example, if you see a funny-looking code on your government’s page, then an attacker is probably trying to get access to your device through Cross-Site Scripting.

  1. Password Attack

As its name implies, password attack is an attempt to steal passwords from a user. Since passwords are the most common authentication means, attackers are always on the lookout for ways to use this cyber-attack. Two common techniques they use to get a user’s password are;

– Brute-force guessing: This entails using different random words, hoping that one of them would be the correct password. If the hacker knows his or her victim, they can apply logic while guessing and try the person’s title, name, job, or hobbies as the password.

– Dictionary Attack: In this case, the hacker uses some of the common passwords to gain access to the user’s device. For instance, 1234 or ‘abcde’ are passwords that a lot of people use on their devices. These two are at the top of the list of common ones an attacker will try out.

To protect yourself from either of these two types of password attacks, implement a lockout policy to your cybersecurity.

  1. Ransomware Attack

One cyber threat with scary consequences is the ransomware attack. In this type of security breach, the malware prevents users from accessing the data they stored on a server or database. The hacker then sends out a threat demanding a ransom unless the data will be exposed or deleted.

  1. Eavesdropping Attack

Eavesdropping attack is also known as snooping, network security threat, or sniffing. It is very similar to the man-in-the-middle attack, but here a secured connection between the user and a server is not allowed. Data and information are stolen after they have been sent, so they do not get across to the server.

Unsecured and weak network transmissions allow this security breach to thrive. Any device within the network is susceptible to an eavesdropping attack from hackers.

  1. AI-Powered attacks

Artificial intelligence (AI) has been making ground-breaking success in recent years. Almost every gadget has some application of AI in it, which heightens the scare of an AI-powered cyber-attack. Such security threats will have the most devastating effects as autonomous cars, drones, and computer systems can be hacked by artificial intelligence. As they are made but not controlled by humans, AI can also be used to shut down power supplies, national security systems, and hospitals.

Conclusion

Listed above are some of the cyber-attacks that you can face as a business owner or user of technological devices. The data, accounts, passwords, and sensitive information that can be lost deleted, or made public by cyber-attacks is alarming. Tech companies are also not exempted from the scare. Facebook had a security breach where $439 million to recover from a cyber breach, and Equifax spent an estimated $439 million to recover from a cyber breach.

Cyber threats are attacks that you should stand up to and protect yourself and the company from the harm that comes with it.

Thank you Great Learning for helping me in my career transition – Yogesh Soni, Analyst at Ugam

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There are many reasons to choose Great Learning’s PG program in Data Science and Engineering against the many options available in the market. Here’s why Yogesh Soni chose Great Learning. Read more to know what he has to say.  

Why Choose Data Science?

Question: How many machine learning specialists does it take to change a light bulb?

Answer: Just one, but they require a million light bulbs to train properly.

Why did you choose the data science program from Great Learning?

I was actually looking at many other courses. But I chose Great Learning because of the exhaustive curriculum as it covered all the topics in analytics. Exposure to the application of Analytics in different fields which is what I really liked. The program structure was the perfect balance of learning the basics along with the hands-on application of tools and techniques.

What did you like most about the program?

The following are the two things I liked most about the program –

1) Classroom sessions and excellent faculty.

2) Kaggle competitions made the program more interesting by involving more dimensions to the learning.

What is your advice to aspirants looking for a transition?

Understanding the basic concepts of Analytics is really important. Developing the ability to think about how analytics can change the current boring job and start practising with small graphs in MS Excel would also help your career. Focus on case studies and knowledge of domains is necessary too (industries like healthcare, finance, retail etc.). Apart from the class training, self-learning will help you more as self-help is the best help. Solve more competitions over kaggle and join as many free webinars as possible on the hot topic of “Data Science”.

Thank you Great Learning for helping me in my career transition from a non-analytics to a proper analytics field. Kudos to the effort both by the students and the faculty and the immense support from the program office. A big thank you again!

Upskill with Great Learning’s PG Program in Data Science and Engineering and unlock your dream career.

The placement team was an important part of the program – Diptanil Bhowmik, Consultant Analyst at Fractal Analytics

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Given the present job market scenario, it becomes difficult for freshers to get a job even if they know what they want to pursue as a career. In such a situation it is important to figure out the right path to land your dream job and get the relevant skills required for the job. Upskilling with Great Learning was the path that Diptanil Bhowmik chose and was successful in achieving a job as consultant analyst at Fractal Analytics. Read more to know what he has to say about the Data Science program he pursued.

What did you like the most about Great Learning?

To start with, Great Learning has been a great experience due to the faculty appointed for the program. They are highly skilled and have a great depth of knowledge on the topics being taught. Secondly, the management was quite considerate.

The initial classes were easy but as the major topics came in, it needed an extra effort and the whole management was very helpful with extra classes and other guidance as required. 

The best part of the program is the capstone project that I have worked on. I got an IPL dataset to work on which was both interesting and challenging. Through this project, I got to learn how data science works.

The placement team was an important part of the program as many top-notch companies were brought in and a placement boot camp was set-up for each company.

I got an offer from Fractal Analytics as a consultant analyst which gave a great career boost to me being a fresher. The company is great to work for. 

How was your experience of the interview process at Fractal?

Fractal had one of the most rigorous placement processes. It started with an aptitude test which required us to answer 70 questions in 75 minutes. A safe score would be around 40-45.

After that, there was an SQL+Python test in Hacker Rank which was quite challenging.

I got called for the personal interview round after clearing the previous rounds. From this point, every round was an elimination round which consisted of a Technical round which was a resume drilling round, followed by a business problem round that involved case studies and guesstimate questions, and lastly an HR round.

How did GL help you with the interview process?

GL helped with all these rounds. Different companies have different requirements and GL made sure to prepare us for each interview process separately. 

The experience with GL had been excellent and I would recommend people for taking up the DSE course because of the quality of content they have and the depth they teach with. They also provide tasty food for lunch if you are a foodie.

Upskill with Great Learning’s PG Program in Data Science and Engineering and unlock your dream career.

The placement team helped us to stay motivated throughout the process – Aashish Anil Mishra, Consultant at Fractal Analytics

Reading Time: 3 minutes

We see many professionals getting disheartened by multiple rejections during the process of job search. But the few who do not get demotivated and look out for feedback and ways to improve themselves to finally crack their dream jobs, are the ones worth sharing their experience with others. Read how Aashish Anil Mishra learnt from his feedback, upskilled, and cracked a job with Fractal Analytics.  

When did you decide to upskill?

Right after completing my post-graduation as an MBA, I started looking for a job. I got interviewed for a few roles and also got selected in some of them. But I did not find job roles matching my career preferences.

Soon, I got a call for an Analyst role from Ugam. This was the role which I would have preferred, but I could not get through the interview process. I started applying for similar open positions with other analytics companies via different mediums but did not get an interview call. I then received a mail stating that the positions are filled by the candidates with comparatively better skills and experience.

So, I got to know that I need to develop my skill set with the most common requirement of the analytics market. 

Why did you choose Great Learning?

It occurred to me that I had to learn the tools which I had never heard about earlier. I started exploring the internet and went through the online courses from a few platforms like Udemy and Analytics Vidhya but was not fully convinced with the format.

I needed a classroom training program, which would help me in developing skills and career transition. I searched for options and found PGP-DSE offered by Great Learning as the best one based on reviews and career transition ratio. After completing the pre-joining requisites, i.e., the online exam and interview, I enrolled in PGP-DSE Jan’19 batch at Bangalore.

What was the role of gurus and teams in making sure you have a great experience?

Initially, I found it difficult because I had very less prior exposure to programming. But as the sessions progressed, it became easier because of classroom training, rigorous practice, take-home lab exercises, and support from the colleagues. As the batch progressed, new tools were introduced by the faculty in a manner which helped even first-timers

The gurus arranged for the different sessions to enable domain expertise, so it was quite easy to get the silliest of the doubts cleared. The structure of the program was super which helped in properly learning the things. Periodic exams helped to stay in touch with the topics already covered. There were teaching assistants who were there to help any time, which was the best part as doubt clearing process did not take time.

The program support team, the soft skill development team, and the placement team were all helpful throughout the program. Bootcamp arranged before the placements helped in many ways as it covered everything in a short period, which was kind of a revision.

How did the placement team help with scoring a job?

We were all ready for the placements [the purpose for which almost everyone joined the program]. Many companies started conducting drives, some got through the process and some had to wait for other interviews. The placement team helped us to stay motivated throughout the process. I got an opportunity to attend an interview in 3 companies before getting placed in Fractal Analytics as a Consultant.

Overall the journey was good and I would like to thank Great Learning for developing the right set of skills and helping me in the career transition. Also, I would like to thank the program support team who were always there to take up the queries and help in the best possible way for the same. I would also like to mention that you get connected to the huge alumni network of Great Learning which will be a great help in future too.

Upskill with Great Learning’s PG Program in Data Science and Engineering and unlock your dream career.

Weekly guide to Artificial Intelligence – September Part IV

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In this week’s Artificial Intelligence digest, we have included two use-cases of Artificial Intelligence technologies in retail and traffic management. These applications are followed by news pieces scrutinizing the social impact of Artificial Intelligence. Also, a blog which focuses on the relationship between Artificial and Human Intelligence.

The Amazing Ways Retail Giant Zalando Is Using Artificial Intelligence

One of the ways Zalando uses technology to improve the user experience is through its Algorithmic Fashion Companion (AFC), a digital outfit recommendation tool that can generate outfit recommendations in real-time. The algorithm’s recommendations are based on products that the customer has put in their “wish list,” expressed interest in or purchased before. It’s not only a good user experience for the customer but drives business as well. Zalando reports that outfit recommendations drive 40 per cent larger basket sizes

Artificial intelligence-assisted traffic signals soon

All 387 traffic signals in Bengaluru will soon use artificial intelligence and regulate traffic more efficiently, according to Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic) B R Ravikanthe Gowda.  Under the new system, cameras study the traffic density and decide on how much time to allow vehicles to clear a signal.

Artificial Intelligence Has A Gender Bias Problem – Just Ask Siri

In South Africa, Samsung now offers Bixby in various voices depending on which language you choose. For American English, there’s Julia, Stephanie, Lisa and John. The voices of Julia, Lisa and Stephanie are coquettish and eager. John is clever and straightforward. It is being increasingly acknowledged that AI systems are often biased, particularly along the lines of race and gender.

How AI Can Promote Social Good

Artificial intelligence has the potential to improve billions of people’s lives – but only if it creates and delivers value directly to those most in need. By harnessing these technologies for social good, today’s new breed of entrepreneurs can bring about lasting, transformational change. The ISeeChange platform, for example, combines natural language processing with user-generated data and sensor networks to give cities critical data to improve their climate resilience, infrastructure design, and even public safety. 

Artificial Intelligence and The Human Mind: When will they meet?

Human Intelligence is a quality of the mind that enables one to use knowledge — acquired from existence, abstract concepts, several cognitive processes, and more, to manipulate one’s environment. A machine that can, in some way ‘mimic’ this quality can make our lives much more simpler and efficient. This is where artificial intelligence comes into the picture. What is yet to see is how these two can come together to solve some of the biggest problems. 

If you found these articles to be interesting then head over to our Artificial Intelligence blog to get more updates.

If you are looking for ways to further dive into Artificial Intelligence, you can take a look at our PG Program in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.

Happy Reading!