Alumni Success Story: Vazgen Tadevosyan (MEIESM ‘19) Found His Career Inspiration at AUA
After discovering his passion in his academic journey at AUA, Vazgen Tadevosyan has successfully moved on in his path to career success as a data science specialist.
What influenced your initial choice of profession? How did you come to choose the American University of Armenia (AUA)? Tell us a little bit about your time at AUA.
Mathematics and its applications were the cornerstone of my educational and career choices and had a great impact on my personal and professional development. I obtained my bachelor’s degree from the Armenian State University of Economics (ASUE), which later proved to be a wrong decision as I could not envision myself in the field of economics. After graduating, I took the risk of changing my profession and applied for admission to the Industrial Engineering and Systems Management (IESM) Program at the American University of Armenia (AUA), which turned out to be the perfect place to start my new career path.
In the beginning, it was extremely challenging as I did not have sufficient background in engineering or mathematics. Luckily, AUA provides an excellent environment for students, filled with resources such as the AGBU Papazian Library, the Student Center, and many others. I spent many days studying in the library, from morning to night, understanding the effort and rigorous work it would take to achieve my goal of learning and applying new skills. During my studies, I discovered my passion for data science. I also improved my communication, time management, and other essential skills, as well as learned programming and acquired advanced math skills that are crucial in the field.
Simultaneously, I was offered a teaching associate position for the Programming for Data Science and Data Scraping courses. I believe that the time spent working as a TA proved to be an essential experience useful for future success. Working with new students and witnessing their successes showed me how much one can contribute to the development of one’s community through education. This instilled in me the idea of becoming an instructor in the future.
As an AUA alumnus, how would you evaluate AUA’s contribution to your current achievements? What about the IESM Program’s impact?
Three years ago, I could hardly imagine that the education provided at AUA would have had such a positive impact on my career and life, in general. The educational system was vastly different compared to other universities in Armenia. The IESM Program prepared students to accomplish tasks adhering to strict deadlines and to work with others on group projects. This gave us all the necessary practical skills in our professional careers.
Furthermore, thanks to the recommendation letters from AUA lecturers, I successfully completed an internship at the United Nations in Armenia. I took part in a team charged with developing “Travelinsights,” an artificial intelligence tool which scrapes online reviews about Armenia from sites such as TripAdvisor and performs sentiment analysis. It was an honor to use my skills for the benefit and development of the tourism industry in our country. All of this would have not been possible without the essential skills and knowledge that I acquired in the IESM Program.
What role did AUA play in molding your later choice of profession?
While working on various projects during my studies, I became obsessed with data science and machine learning. I realized that data science is the perfect field for me. It gives me the opportunity to express my creativity while simultaneously working on solutions to real-life problems. I enrolled in the Data Mining and Design and Analysis of Experiments courses by Professor Habet Madoyan, who inspired me to study even harder. These courses were vital in reassuring me that data science was the field in which I wanted to dive deeper. The lectures on numerical methods were decisive for my initial interest in machine learning. I became especially fascinated with ML when I was introduced to linear regressions in one of the lectures. From that point on, I was excited to build a solid statistical and mathematical background before going further into the world of artificial intelligence.
Tell us a little about your current status: what do you do?
After graduation, I had managed to get enough experience and skills to receive an offer for a machine learning engineer position at SoftConstruct Company, one of the biggest IT companies in Armenia. There, I worked on the design and development of a virtual agent that helped enhance the experience of navigating the website for users by applying natural language processing tools and techniques. Currently, I work on a user behavior analysis project, where we aim to identify similar users based on their actions on our websites. This will help us to build better recommendation systems for filtering information.
In general, how would you define success in a career?
I can state that if one wants to succeed, they can set goals and accomplish them by putting in hard work. Through determination and strict discipline, one can achieve anything they set their mind to regardless of their previous background. Every big challenge and every goal can be divided into smaller tasks, and an action plan can be devised to work toward the accomplishment of those goals. Doing things in this fashion will only maximize the cumulative reward attained at the end.