UAE: 11-year-old student is one of youngest junior data scientists in the country

Veer Shandilya is also among youngest to complete an AI Internship at Oxford


Nandini Sircar

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Published: Fri 17 Jun 2022, 8:02 PM

A 11-year-old Dubai student has become one of the youngest junior data scientists in the UAE, and probably worldwide.

Veer Shandilya who has also completed an artificial intelligence (AI) internship at Oxford University, said he wanted to become a data scientist ever since he read about it in the newspapers. “I live in the UAE, and they talk a lot about AI in these times. So, I’ve been reading about it in the newspapers. It’s all very interesting. Then I started finding out more about data scientist and started working on it. My dad knows a lot about technology.

The Dubai English Speaking College (DESC) student who began coding when he was just eight, says his mother has takes him to various international educational forums to induct him more into the world of AI and machine learning since he has a knack for it. “So, both my parents have been an inspiration in my life,” said the boy-genius.

Shandilya started coding at age eight with Scratch (Block Coding), before picking up other coding programming languages at Turtle Academy. He then began pursuing advanced Python language programming at the age of 10. That year he also completed his basic AI from an US-based institute.

Shandilya said his structured journey began with an India based Online Platform/Institute called that teaches kids how to code.

“After I finished Advanced Internship in AI from the University of Oxford, I enrolled for the most intense program in Artificial Intelligence from, called ‘Junior Data Scientist’ Program. The duration of the programme was eight to 10 months. But I finished it under six months clearing all my modules and making the project submission.”

The Grade 7 student says coding laid the foundation for him becoming a data scientist. “I became a data scientist because I love coding. I’m really interested in Math, and I think I am good at it. So, it really helps. When I was in Year 3, around seven or eight years old, I got this award for cracking times tables that were really complicated for my age. Therefore, I am quite passionate about Math, as also all things related to machine-learning and AI,” he said.

Shandiliya does not believe in limiting his horizon. He is now focusing on embedded technologies and programming languages like Linux C, C++. If that’s not enough, he also aspires to learn Blockchain.

He has also made some chatbots to boot. “I made a chatbot, where if you say… open Youtube, it will be searching YouTube, and then actually open it,” he explained.

The Dubai-based boy says AI holds great potential for the future generation and foresees himself fitting in one of those roles, “I want to get into a profession which involves coding. One of my dad’s friends is also a techie and AI person…the kind of things that I like. He’s leading this project to make flying cars, and I’m really inspired by that. So, I want to do something related to building machines, maybe flying vehicles, for example. Anything and everything involving machines because it’s also extremely exciting.”

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