#18: Shubham’s side hustles propelled his career in AI
Learn how Shubham went from blogging to becoming a published author
Our this week's hustler's story is an inspiration for not only generating extra income via side hustle but also harnessing the power of side hustle to act as a catalyst for your career.
📚Published two books on AI & Neural search
🤩Built an audience of 10K+ followers on Twitter
😍Achieved the position of head of the department with three years of work experience
From following his curiosity to becoming a thought leader: Shubham's story
Shubham Saboo's hustling began with a Bachelor of Engineering in Information Technology from Rajiv Gandhi Prodyogiki Vishwavidyalaya in 2019. However, his path to becoming a Data Scientist and now Head of Developer Relations at Tenstorrent Inc was far from conventional. He got immersed in AI and ML while still in college in 2016. Since then, he has dedicated his energy to exploring data science and machine learning. He developed side projects, participated in hackathons in college, started blogging after college, published two books, and built his brand to get unheard opportunities early in his career.
Learning in Public led to becoming an author with a world-renowned publisher
Shubham's intense interest in AI and ML, combined with his skill and side projects developed during college, enabled him to become a part of Plaksha University's Tech Leaders Program in Artificial Intelligence. This one-year post-graduate fellowship enhanced and strengthened his technical abilities while also helping him develop new skills such as writing and selling. In 2020, after completing the program, Shubham started a blog to share the knowledge he had gained and his experiments with technology.
After completing the fellowship, he joined Arcesium, a fintech company, as a founding Data Scientist. He was tasked with creating and building a machine learning and data science practice from scratch. This role enabled him to develop a range of skills and experience a startup-like environment within a larger corporate setting, which made him learn quickly, be creative, think outside the box and work hard.
Shubham continued to write and share snippets of the knowledge on machine learning as he was learning on his job. In mid-2020, when the GPT-3 model was released, he gained early access to it. He started experimenting with it, building prototypes and web applications and writing blog posts.
His work caught the attention of a senior acquisition editor at O'Reilly (a legacy publisher of technical books), who saw potential in his writing. She offered Shubham the possibility of writing a book on GPT-3. This presented a massive opportunity to share his knowledge on a large scale. It was very overwhelming for Shubham as he had no professional writing experience. It took him one and a half months to come up with the proposal, and he felt lonely. He then started looking for someone to help him in the process.
In his search, he found Sandra Kublik (Developer Relations, Cohere AI). She was creating videos about GPT-3 and its applications at the time. Taking a chance, he reached out to her, and it didn't take long for Sandra to get convinced to join him. Together, they crafted a synopsis and proposal. The publisher accepted their proposal, and the duo began the daunting task of writing a book. It was an arduous process that spanned the better part of a year. With the help of the legacy publisher, they went through many iterations of edits, proofreading, and conversations revolving around marketing. Finally, in July 2022, the book, "GPT-3: Building innovative NLP Products using Large Language Models" was released and was a success. (The book is currently being updated and not available for sale.)
Curiosity leading the way to new opportunities
Writing a book while having a demanding full-time job can look daunting to many. But for Shubham, that was not the case. His enthusiasm for the field pushed him to create Kairos Data Labs, a consultancy that enabled people and businesses to take advantage of the power of AI. He also consulted an exclusive venture capital network to leverage AI in their processes. It enabled him to gain invaluable knowledge on venture capital and startups and build a strong professional network.
At Arcesium, he observed a problem in finding essential internal documents. No readily-available software seemed capable of meeting the strict requirements of their sensitive data, so he decided to take it upon himself to create a search solution as a side project. This was when he encountered Jina AI, a revolutionary new startup that promised to revolutionise the neural search space. Impressed by their ambition and enthusiasm, Shubham threw himself into the Jina AI community, becoming an active member and contributing ideas to the team. His work was noticed and appreciated, and soon he received an offer to join the team as a Developer Relations specialist.
It was a tempting offer and one that aligned perfectly with his ambitions. After much reflection, Shubham chose to make the career switch and join Jina AI, drawn by the promise of using his technical skills to help other developers and, of course, the zeal to share his knowledge with a larger community.
Building thought leadership and nurturing the community
Shubham's writing and blogging experience became invaluable in the new role helping him get a promotion at Jina AI within a year. At Jina, he also got an opportunity to co-author his second book, "Neural Search - From Prototype to Production with Jina". Shubham also garnered a following of over 10,000 people on Twitter. On top of this, Shubham has also managed to make a substantial portion of his full-time salary from his book & consulting.
The success of his books, a good Twitter following and thought leadership in AI made way to his role as the Head of Developer Relations at Tenstorrent (Scalable and Efficient Hardware for Deep Learning). He plans to keep sharing and creating more content to make information about AI more accessible. He has also started a newsletter to help the community be up to date with the latest developments in AI.
Consistency is key; you may not see the results initially, but eventually, you'll hit a threshold and reap the rewards. Doing multiple things in parallel can be burdensome, but if you are passionate about it, you can make it work. It also ensures you never get bored and can switch if something becomes mundane.
Hustlers Insights of the Week
Shubham's story is a great example of how strong curiosity and learning in public can lead the way to your side hustles and, eventually, career successes.
Dive deep into your interests: Going deep into your area of interest can help you find ways to make things that make a difference. Shubham dived deep into his interest in AI, which opened his way to writing, wanting to share knowledge and eventually build a career.
Build thought leadership: Build thought leadership by sharing your knowledge with the world and relevant communities. Shubham built thought leadership in AI by sharing his knowledge and learnings via his blog, books and Twitter. His thought leadership in the space made way for his current role as Head of Developer Relations at Tenstorrent.
Jump right in: When you are given opportunities, evaluate them, and if they align with your goals, dive into them. You may not always meet the required criteria, but if you have the zeal, you can learn on the go. Shubham had no experience authoring a book. But he learnt on the go, found a collaborator and made it a success.
Resources of the week
We are introducing a new section where we will recommend a newsletter or resource you should check out to start your side hustle journey.Startups.fyi
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Side Project Playbook
After enabling hundreds of builders, we are open-sourcing the playbook for FREE. When applied diligently, the playbook will ensure you can build & launch your side project. It is not theoretical but put together in a way for the content to aid the building process.
The best part? People can join the community if they want to get feedback, find collaborators, find a tribe, and hang out with the best of the builders.
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