Passionate dedication to the pursuit of short-term goals in order to achieve bigger ones.
This one sentence perfectly sums up Maral Chahverdian’s (MS CIS ‘19) career journey, who is currently a mid-level data scientist at the Yerevan-based SmartClick AI.
Currently, Chahverdian is consistently making advances in her career, but not everything has been so smooth earlier. Repatriating to Armenia from Iran in 2011, she started her adventurous quest for a dream career in the sphere of financial management.
“As interesting and promising as the years of working and studying in accounting and financial management were, I lacked the feeling of being in constant growth. There was not enough challenge for me in the field, so my mind would not stop wondering if there was anything different, to which I would prefer devoting my expertise and full potential,” confesses Chahverdian.
The aspiration to find an answer to this question led her to the American University of Armenia (AUA) to pursue her dream profession in a perfect environment that supports success and growth. Chahverdian chooses her words with careful consideration when describing her years at AUA: “AUA was a full package. The decision to change my field of expertise was not an easy one and experiencing moments of despair and self-doubt was inevitable. I was one of the few female students in my cohort. Moreover, I didn’t have background knowledge in coding, which made the first semester of my studies extremely challenging for me and filled the minds of those surrounding me with doubts and curiosity to see if I was ever going to make it.”
Chahverdian acknowledges the crucial role that AUA professors have played in her life, supporting her whenever she needed and imparting their knowledge and skills, which were soon going to open the door to a whole new world of data science. She says with a big smile on her face:
“AUA connects. It connected me with like-minded people, it connected me with Armenia, with my future employer. Although I am only a recent graduate, I already miss the feeling of lightness I get when at AUA. It puts me on ease to create the product I want in a much more effortless way.”
She also notes that AUA has prepared her to take firm steps in the competitive job market. She now realizes how AUA’s project-based learning methodology is closely related to real-life scenarios, and she greatly values that experience.
Chahverdian is currently enjoying career-pathing in the industry that gives her the satisfaction of creating impactful products, as well as the feeling of completeness that can be achieved by overcoming challenges that demand exercising one’s full potential.
“There is always something new to explore in this sphere. Unlike economics or coding, it requires creativity and analytical thinking among many other skills. I like to compare successful data scientists to Sherlock Holmes,” she says. “What differentiates a great data scientist from an average one, is the ability to notice details and find ways of seeing things from perspectives no one else managed to see before.”
While Chahverdian admits that hard-work is critical in achieving dreams and finding the right career path, she realizes that it is also the opportunities and the generosity of her alma mater and its benefactors that empower female students like her to succeed in their chosen fields.