A Quest for Answers: How This Data Student’s Inquisitive Mindset Landed Her a Job at a Major Pharmaceutical Company

If you ask recent bootcamp graduate Meghana Raje what she’ll be doing in her new role as an innovator for one of America’s largest pharmaceutical companies, she’ll tell you honestly: she doesn’t know.

“These are baby steps,” Meghana said. “I don’t know exactly what my role is going to be.”

Ask if she finds that daunting, and Meghana will admit that she does—a bit. But the unknown has never stopped her before.

“It’s a process,” she explained. “Of trying to find what is needed, what I have—and then trying to fill that gap in.”

Meghana’s eagerness to dive into new opportunities and make new discoveries is what landed her this new position in the first place. It started with an inquisitive mindset and an eagerness to find answers, whatever it takes.

Fearlessly moving forward

After studying commerce and business administration in college, Meghana ended up with a career in pharmaceuticals. She tested new computer modules, implemented and supported new applications, and developed reports and documentation.

After nearly ten years in the pharma industry, Meghana ended up at working as a business systems administrator for one of America’s largest pharmaceutical companies in a contract position. She handled the IT side of things: designing and validating reports, resolving system issues, and helping to implement new software.

Meghana loved the daily challenge her work provided, and she placed a high premium on contributing to the company’s success. But at the same time, she felt there was more to discover—and she was eager to start exploring.

“I always had this feeling that data can be handled in a more advanced, better way,” she said.

This inquisitiveness led her to start searching for data classes. After looking around on Google, she stumbled upon the Data Science Bootcamp at Rutgers. It looked promising, but she was skeptical whether a six-month, part-time course could adequately prepare her for a career in data science. Would it be enough time?

Following her gut, Meghana took the leap. That fearlessness and quest for answers led her down a path that would change her life.

Making new discoveries

As soon as she dove in, Meghana knew she’d made the right choice. While balancing the demands of the bootcamp with her full-time job wasn’t easy, the extra effort was worth it. When asked what she liked best about the bootcamp, her reply was “everything.” But she especially loved the range of topics and new technologies.

One of Meghana’s bootcamp projects involved analyzing how weather changes closer to the equator. She collected data from over 500 cities using Python library—analyzing temperatures, humidity, cloudiness, and wind speed. As a result, Meghana and was able to chart how these factors changed at different latitudes. But more than just figuring out key weather trends, Meghana learned how to apply her new knowledge in the moment.

“It’s really taught me to be on my toes,” she said. “There’s nothing that you keep to be done later: you do it now, you understand it now, you apply it now.”

For another project, Meghana analyzed data via D3 (a JavaScript library for visualizing data with HTML, SVG, and CSS) and created a dashboard, using Plotly Javascript, to build interactive charts. She also developed a machine learning model (with supervised technique) to predict cloth size fit based on things like height, brand, and fabric type.

Nearing the end of the bootcamp, Meghana’s contract role was close to expiring and she was given the opportunity to apply for a full-time role. When considering her new credentials, they even invited her to become a candidate for the data team.

Meghana’s new skills and grit has set her apart, and she snagged the prestigious full-time job for a huge career leap.

Anticipating the future

Meghana’s new role is a perfect fit given her appreciation for innovation. Not only hired for full-time senior position, Meghana was picked to join a special team dedicated to finding creative ways to leverage data to power new initiatives.

While Meghana isn’t sure what lies ahead, she knows she’ll be prepared. The bootcamp has prepared her for the dynamic and ever-changing technology landscape.

“I have the tools,” she said. “So now I have to see what extra effort I’ll need to put in, and make myself apply my toolset to what their need is.”

As Meghana sees it, the challenge will be applying what she’s learned on a small scale to something on a much larger scale—with real world consequences. It’s a challenge she can’t wait to tackle head-on.

How will she know if she’s succeeded? “If I can make a good difference, if I can give something significant in my own capacity, I think I’ll be happy with that,” she said.

In the meantime, she’s ready to ask questions and push the boundaries of what’s possible. After all, traversing the unknown in search of new discoveries is what Meghana Raje does best.

The opinions expressed by Meghana Raje in this post are her own and do not necessarily reflect those of her employer, Pfizer.

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