Don’t be afraid of taking chances!

Before I joined IBM, I was working in a different field (DevOps, System Administration, Server Administration) which suited my passions well. But once I joined IBM, I was first asked to take up a project completely different from what I have done so far, a very intimidating situation. But, through the guidance and motivation from those around me I followed my heart and took a chance to explore a new domain in a new sector of industry I didn’t know so well.


But first, a little about myself. My name is Bhavna and I started my career as an Assistant System Engineer from Tata Consultancy Services in India. At the start of my journey in IT, I had a lot many opportunities to learn and explore things that I was completely unaware of. Thanks to my capability of learning things quickly, I was promoted to System Engineer where I was given a chance to work for two major clients. While I was excelling in my career, I still had a dream to pursue a Master’s degree. I seized the chance to move to Halifax, Canada to attend Dalhousie University for a Masters’ in Internetworking and after graduation I got my first job in Canada at IBM in Software Development.


But, like I said, the first project I was given to work on at IBM was completely different from what I had done before, but it did introduce me to the ocean sector, a booming industry in Atlantic Canada. 

It was this sector that showed me the opportunities within AI, Machine Learning, Data Models etc., and once I heard about DeepSense from my colleague, I knew I was just given a great chance to learn. DeepSense, a project that unites the next generation of AI and machine learning experts with companies that want to harness the potential of data and lead the smarter ocean economy. By leveraging technology and research, companies can more easily use data to make decisions, optimize operations, and create new products, processes or services.


DeepSense provided a great platform for me to learn, grow and enhance my skills.  The first task I was involved with was the Data Readiness summer internships.  These internships were created to help companies prepare for future AI and machine learning projects by ways of preparing their data. I spent four months providing leadership and guidance to the cohort of students, guiding them and ensuring their projects were being completed efficiently.  I engaged with them through weekly meetings and setting up info sessions for professional development.  Together we both grew and learned about the ocean sector, and I gained confidence in my managing skills. 


I also presented a few Discovery Sessions at DeepSense.  These webinars are meant to be a way to help students and companies learn more about AI and machine learning, work being done at other companies and useful skills.  My presentations ranged from GitHub to Scrum and Agile and allowed me to practise my communication skills.  And finally, I acted as a direct line for DeepSense to IBM, and even got my IBM colleagues to participate in Discovery Sessions and the mentorship program.  While I didn’t work directly on computer science projects that sought to help companies through AI and machine learning, by taking a chance to work in a completely new field did pay off as I become more familiar with the data required and the various challenges associated with scoping new projects.


Overall, I am happy I took a chance to do a project completely different from what I had done before and my time of DeepSense was full of learning opportunities that will help shape my career going forward. I would like to thank Nadira Banu & Jordan Bradfield (IBM) for suggesting this project to me and Rick Power (IBM) for guiding me through this whole process from the start to the finish.  Last but not least, a big thank you to Jennifer LaPlante (DeepSense) for letting me learn what my own strengths and weaknesses are and let me work on them and for giving me opportunities through which I could learn and enhance my skills. I would thank all of them for continued motivation and guidance which made my work for DeepSense successful.


I want to leave you with this quote:  “Forget about the fast lane. If you really want to fly, harness your power to your passion. Honor your calling. Everybody has one. Trust your heart, and success will come to you -Oprah Winfrey”. I trusted the process, took a chance and followed my heart.  This whole experience will play a major role in my upcoming projects and help shape my career.  So remember, trust your heart and take a chance.




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