Sanyam Bhutani

Machine Learning Engineer and AI Content Creator at H2O.AI

A Self Driving New Year #1

My 2018 Path to Learning.

You can find me on Twitter @bhutanisanyam1, connect with me on Linkedin here
Part 2 of the Series is Live
Carla: Udacity’s SDC.

My Journey into the World of Deep Learning (pre-2018)

It’s two days late to wish everyone a new year, but better late then never. Happy New Year World.

I’ve taken the resolution this year, to blog regularly of my findings and learnings. This is a blogpost of Why I chose to take up the Self Driving Car Nanodegree.

First off: Here’s a little background how I got to where I am today:

I had always been a tech nerd since school. I had written my First Hello world in my 4th Grade (on BASIC), I got hooked then and there.

Fast forward to 2015, I had joined a reputed University in India to pursue my Childhood dream-‘To become a Coder’, by Pursuing a CS degree.

Ofcourse, I had no idea about the field and no clue as to what I wanted to do for a living, but I was certain about my Love for Programming- I had learnt about Data Structure basics, Linux and C at High School.

In college-I took up a lot of MOOCs to get a taste of the field, explored a lot-took part in My College’s technical clubs, events: Worked on an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle, worked at a Robotics Team at IIT-Chennai Research Park, worked at various Internships and Projects at IIT-Roorkee, IIT-Madras, ONGC.

By 2017, I was firm about my interest in pursuing Deep Learning, Computer Vision. In all honesty, I was always fascinated by the word ‘Artificial Intelligence’ but wasn’t sure if I should take it up as an undergrad, because the General opinion requires me to be a Masters student or a Math Genie. (Not my opionion)

I had already worked on a few Data Science Projects at an Internship at ONGC, and I was working on another one at IIT-Roorkee during Summer, 2017.

So I finally took the courage and signed up for Udacity’s Deep learning Nanodegree, and voila! I fell in love. 6 Months later, I’ve graduated from the Nanodegree with a lot of new experiences and few ‘Toy Projects’ (Apart from the ones in the course).

I was lucky enough to get into the Fast AI International Fellowship as well: which was a rollercoaster ride to say the least! (An extremely detailed post on this soon)

And work on a few Toy CV Projects.

My 2018 Learning Path: Self Driving Cars

I’m really, really Thankful to Andrew Trask (I don’t think an introduction is needed-but Andrew is PhD student at Oxford University, funded by the Oxford-DeepMind Graduate Scholarship, where he researches Deep Learning approaches with special emphasis on human language and is currently the lead contributer to OpenMined), Aakash Nain for guiding me (Checkout his review of the SDCND: Aakash’s blog) TL;DR: I made my decision to go with my gut, as Andrew had suggested:

I’ve decided to finally start my Self Driven journey to SDCs (The best New Year Resolution in my Life, I hope): something that has always fascinated me whether in real life, or as a Sci-fi movie when I was a kid (Oh what wouldn’t we give to feel like we’re Tony Starks with J.A.R.V.I.S driving our Orange Audis!) Hence, I’ve signed up for the Udacity Self Driving Car Nanodegree Programme on the 1st of January, 2018.

My Goal right now is: I hope to learn and apply my knowledge of Deep learning and Computer Vision to this field, while exploring the Depths of Deep learning and gain knowledge of Autonomous Vehicles. Ofcourse, I’d love to be a SDC Engineer, but that’s not the immediate goal, first is enjoying the field.

Unlike David Venturi, I do not want to drop out and create my own Degree- I would like to ‘take my chances’ in completing my Undergrad studies and then pursue a Masters degree in this field, meet amazing enthusiasts and gain more knowledge, while working on Side Projects to fill the Gaps that I might feel that the curriculum might have. (Lack of Practical aspects, that is-again, this is a Personal Opinion) I’m certainly not the risk it all person.

I will (and I certainly hope that I stick to this plan-another Resolution), regularly share Lessons learnt via Blog posts during 2018: my Experiences from the Nanodegree and from my garage projects as well.

At the same time, I really hope to do a little Deep Learning and (If I dare say) Kaggling on the side + review my learnings from the DLND, FastAI and Most importantly, contributing to communties-OpenMined, Nurture AI.

Happy New Year Everyone! I’d love to hear about your New Year Resolutions as well!

And Stay Tuned for more! I will keep sharing blogs as a part of this series as an accountability of my Learning Path and the experiences.I hope everyone can learn from my experinces and my mistakes as well in that way.

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You can find me on Twitter @bhutanisanyam1, connect with me on Linkedin here

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