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Behind the Data: Meet Apurva

Greetings Age community! This is Apurva, and I am an Applied Data Scientist at World’s Edge Studios.

Q: What does a Data Scientist do?

A data scientist’s job is to make sense of data with the help of skills like statistics and machine learning. While ethically operating on data (like any other scientist), we design experiments to explore the unknown, test hypotheses, and visualize observations. However, at World’s Edge, the responsibilities go way beyond: ranging from protecting Town Centers to creating Wonders!

Q: How does data science create a better game for players?

At our studio, everyone is an Age gamer! We passionately clock hours of campaign and multiplayer games to advise the game’s creators, producers, and studio leaders on events during a game that are worthy of telemetry. This data garrison is then cleansed and interpreted to enhance Age of Empires’ gameplay, remove game-tactic biases, keep it competitive, and measure the effectiveness of features that are rolled out.

Q: What’s your career path been so far? How did you end up in games?

I graduated in engineering from Birla Institute of Technology in India, and then worked on driving intelligence from data for businesses in the field of retail, Consumer Packed Goods, and logistics. Before joining Microsoft, I obtained my masters from Syracuse University, NY in Information Management and Data Science. Some of the game titles for which I’ve crunched data before Age include Crackdown 3 and State of Decay 2. Coming to gaming: that was purely on the guidance of my current manager, who made it possible to tie my love for games and data together…all while getting paid for it, too!

Q: What have been some of your favorite games?

Arcade Racing! I love the free races you earn after wins, and love frustrated friends moving to other stations. Road Rash was another popular one as a kid. As my love for data started growing during my university years, my hands-on gaming time took a hit, but I continued playing Forza and watching RTS streams with my brother, an avid gamer.

Q: Could you share a favorite memory playing Age of Empires?

When my multi-Wonder strategy helped my team win against my manager! (Shhh…we were playing 7v1 with him! Ya: he is that good, dang it!) I also get elated every time when Indian civilization units utter anything in my native tongue, like “Samajh gaya” or “Lakkad hara.”

Q: What’s your favorite part of your job?

I must keep playing games to get better at understanding data and doing my job! Isn’t it amazing?! Also, I get goosebumps whenever I get the opportunity to play a game build before the rest of the world!

Q: Any advice for someone looking to have a career in data science?

Build a rock-solid knowledge in datamining technologies, followed by the basics of machine learning modelling. However, what has helped me most is looking at any new technology product and then pondering for hours on how data can answer questions about it.

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