By: Matthew King
In their first day of the skill development component, students in the Waterloo Experience Accelerate Microsoft Azure Artificial Intelligence stream saw a real-world application of the skills they are about to learn.
Dr. Helia Mohammadi, the National Chief Data Scientist and Healthcare Industry Lead for Microsoft Canada, joined students to discuss her career path and the future of work in artificial intelligence (AI).
“With Azure Fundamentals, you will learn a fantastic skillset as more and more organizations are moving to the cloud. You’ll acquire the skillset to get your hands dirty and that is the first step to leveraging cloud," says Dr. Mohammadi.
The Waterloo Experience (WE) Accelerate stream includes students from multiple faculties. In the talk, Dr. Mohammadi outlined Microsoft’s growth mindset philosophy and that we need to be “learn-it-alls”, embracing that we will always need to keep learning.
Students got a glimpse of the impact AI is making in the workplace as Dr. Mohammadi discussed her current project: spearheading Canadian Healthcare’s digital transformation, AI adoption strategy and supporting health care workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. “I wake up inspired and excited to be helping Canadian health care organizations,” said Dr. Mohammadi.
She emphasized that students should also focus on developing their transferrable skills. “You need to improve your skillsets to communicate with your teammates.” She went on to say, “by acquiring more and more skills you’re able to communicate much more easily.”
Although her career journey included many challenges, Dr. Mohammadi emphasized that sharing those challenges and working to overcome them helped pave the way for where she is today.
“If you want to be in the applied AI field, you don’t have to have a strong computer science background.”
“If something is exciting, if something is new and challenging, and it’s an opportunity - I would say explore. In this field you must really have an open mind, you don’t want to limit yourself in any way.”
When asked about career paths using AI, Dr. Mohammadi told students, “Don’t limit the opportunities available to you out there by limiting the skillsets that you have.”