From Maps to Matrices: Kundan’s Dual Passion

Meet Kundan Agarkar, a very passionate and articulate Senior Data Engineer in the Data and AI team at Ascendion. His roots lie in the town of Latur in Maharashtra. He finished his schooling and his diploma in mechanical engineering from Latur, but then moved to Kolhapur to complete his degree in mechanical engineering.

Interesting thing about him is he simply loves geopolitics as much as he loves data. Relationships of other countries with India or how global warming, rising oil prices affect every single person in the world always fascinates him. How even a single visit from a dignitary from one country to another can trigger a series of events that may not be very evident at the surface intrigues him immensely. Most of his information comes from YouTube channels like World Affairs or Chanakya Forum hosted by Gaurav Arya. He also loves old Hindi songs and finds himself humming them quite often.


The turning point of my career

I found my true passion in geopolitics, but practicality led me to pursue engineering for a stable career. Upon completing my mechanical engineering degree, I started interviewing with companies during our on-campus recruitments. To my surprise, I landed a job as a database developer with one of them. I was a little hesitant to get into data, but then I was excited too. Working on cloud platforms has always been a unique and captivating thought for me. I learnt all the basics as a database developer and went through various courses on SQL and Microsoft databases online. This period marked a significant turning point in my life.

My main work was to work with huge data and provide relevant analysis for our clients using various tools. For example, I was working on managing the backend logistics section of a client application. Their raw data was divided into regions that indicated the kind of product they imported or exported. Our task was to provide analysis on the encrypted data which were created on the basis of various fields of interest or requirement. It became an integral part of my daily routine, shaping my expertise in data management.

It was during this phase that I encountered PySpark, a framework that made my job 100 times faster to handle and process huge data (330-400 tables) from Hive or SQL and providing a wide range of options to filter out relevant data. PySpark's compatibility with four major programming languages - Python, Java, Scala, and Ruby, impressed me with its versatility and accessibility for a wide range of use cases.

Blog Inner - Mid - Kundan


The Road to Ascendion

When I first heard about Ascendion, I did not know much about the company, so I googled it. It promised me a future in data and AI. Since I love data, the choice in my head was already made. But what really convinced me was when I met my manager, and I realized there is so much I could learn from just being around him. I loved his attitude and approach not just towards work, but life too. So I joined Ascendion as a senior data engineer.

Data Migration
At Ascendion, my first project was with a Healthcare major where I was working on a data migration project. The client had huge amount of data on-premise and they wanted to migrate to Google Cloud. Instead of writing a code to migrate the data from on-prem to GCP, we used Inforworks, a platform independent tool which works across hybrid, multi-cloud, data lake and data warehouse environments.

a. InfoWorks Replicator (IWR) to ensure data migration at scale without risk of data loss or business disruption.
b. InfoWorks core ingestor (IWX) to create a data pipeline and load the data into BigQuery.

These tools together ensure that the data is migrated completely and is compatible with GCP tools and services. My role is to execute this process while maintaining data integrity, data quality, data assurance and data governance and complete the tactical data migration phase.

Code Migration
After completing the data migration, my next task involved the migration of the associated code. Given that the data was relocated from an on-premises environment, several scripts including HQL, SQL, Python, Shell and R were originally developed to execute specific operations on this data. It was imperative to rewrite these scripts to ensure their compatibility with the GCP (Google Cloud Platform) environment, guaranteeing flawless execution and accurate performance of all required actions.


Advantage Ascendion

Ascendion offers several advantages, one of them being the flexibility of working from home. Beyond that, our vision is to excel in every endeavor we undertake, whether it’s in the realm of data, AI, or even generative AI. The mentorship, knowledge sharing, self-assessment, feedback mechanisms, team collaboration, and the open exchange of ideas we experience here play a crucial role in addressing real-world challenges.

Today, I possess in-depth knowledge of Google Cloud Platform (GCP), enabling us to provide a range of services to our clients, approximately 8 to 10 different services. Ascendion has given me the freedom to explore, learn, and tackle new challenges, constantly updating my skills with emerging technologies such as Azure Cloud and AI/ML. We are at a pivotal moment where Data AI and Gen AI are poised to make a significant impact, and I am thrilled to be part of this forward-thinking and opportunity-driven vision.


If you love cloud you have to be at Ascendion

A data and AI engineer is like a system, you can become obsolete if you don’t keep upgrading yourself. And Ascendion helps you to do just that. Once you hit the start button at Ascendion you just don’t stop till you have reached your end goal. Even big multinational companies shy away when they get to know that Ascendion is their competition. So, if you want to stay with it and in it, when it comes to data and AI, then Ascendion is the place to be.

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