Clarkie of the Week – Vijay Yadav


Matt Rushford, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Vijay Yadav is a graduate student studying data science. He is also a photographer and videographer and creates content on YouTube under the name VJSNAPP. He’s made a variety of content, particularly vlogs, including a series he’s made going over his experiences as a Clark student. Prior to coming to Clark, Vijay worked for six years in data science, both in India and Indonesia. 

Matt: Hi Vijay, thank you for taking the time today to speak with me. Who are you? How would others describe you?

Vijay: Briefly, I was raised in Mumbai in India. I have been traveling for the last 4 years through work in Jakarta in data science as well as doing photography and videography. And that is actually where I developed my passion to tell stories; part of why I began producing YouTube content. After 4 years in Indonesia, I have begun pursuing the masters in data science at Worcester. Since being here, I have continued to build my skills in photo and video as well. 

How so? 

Through Clark entrepreneurship, I have begun to build myself and my business up. I plan to grow VJSNAPP as a brand. As of right now I am on Instagram and YouTube. I have to pitch my brand for funding, and I’ve been able to capture students’ experiences through my videos.

The origin of the name VJSNAPP is pretty simple. VJ clearly comes from my name, Vijay, and the snap comes from cameras. VJSNAPP is only one thing I am growing; I plan to expand this through data science. I am planning on creating a second account dedicated to data science. I am starting a club on campus about data science as well; that is still in incubation, but I am in the process of planning that out with my people here. 

What led you into data science? For those looking to enter data science, what do you recommend?

I started 6 years ago in Mumbai at a company called STCS working as a system engineer, which is a starting position. I was a fast learner, I got a knack of how to process data over time. It is a lot like an onion, comprehending the layers more so with experience. 

And then I was in Jakarta for the next three years. It was huge as it gave me professional experience working with companies, such as Allianz in Germany. The companies I worked with there gave me a lot of good cases, which introduced me to a lot of professionals. Developing  new solutions with the people around me is always interesting. That is what data science means to me.

What led you to choosing Clark after your experience in Indonesia?

So the main goal was to be in the U.S. market for my master’s degree, and I researched a few universities. Clark stuck out to me, though, because I actually already had a few friends I knew who are here, and that helped me transition when I got here accommodation-wise. Then I compared other aspects, such as tuition fees, affordability, the program I was going to be doing here, and I realized Clark is far more affordable compared to other cities I was looking at. 

So for students from outside of the United States looking to move to Worcester, what skills would you have had to build in your time here?

They have to have a full-fledged plan to start. Financially as well as ideologically; like what exactly are you gonna do here? Because it’s not a “try” thing. You have to be special. Okay, what are you gonna do? How much money do you need to get this thing done? And then what exactly happens once you graduate? Because it depends on your degree as well.

My degree is a STEM degree, so I have three years ahead of me, so I can plan a lot of things. Because if you don’t plan in this way, uh, once you graduate, you may have to go back after one year or two years.  And as many undergraduates know, it is difficult to work off-campus. So you have to be very ready with the financial stuff because it will be expensive. That’s what I would suggest. Always be confident. Work on campus, do your job here as a student, and it gets easier. 

What job do you do on-campus?

I was lucky enough to get the research assistant job as I reached here. As I said before, I had like six years of experience working as a data scientist already. So when I came to the U.S. I already had the experience ready for getting a job on campus. When I joined Handshake, I saw there was one position empty that was open for applications. So I applied, I got interviewed and I already had some projects to show them. We had a good discussion and I was given the research assistant job. For new students looking to get into data science, I recommend showing off a project to show you can work on the stuff they need you for. After a couple of months I got a teaching assistant job as well. So currently I’m both an RA and TA. 

Can you describe what first inspired you to become a photographer? What was your first camera?

When I was in India, I did not have access to a cell phone until I was in my teens. Clicking pictures was not something I was into. But I had a few friends that were photographers, and I got really into the work they were doing. I purchased my first camera, a Canon, with my own salary. That Canon is where I first got hooked. Once I moved to Jakarta, I was able to become more financially independent, which meant I could finally invest in myself. I was able to purchase my first professional set-up. Now I have everything I need; a Sony camera with a good lens, a drone, and everything to improve production quality.

Going back to 2019 when you first made your VJSNAPP account, what did you envision it to turn out to be? Did you set any goals for yourself?

I started in Jakarta. My initial pursuit was cinematic travel videos. I was doing it for the Ministry of Tourism. I was able to do sponsored trips to ten to fifteen islands while I was with them. After a while I started to build my own channel. When I came to the US, I began to expand to make more informational videos that are for international students. Once I started doing that, I began to get a lot of messages through Instagram and LinkedIn about specific info about the master’s program and a lot of gray areas. At this point I have made 20 to 25 videos. The cool thing about my videos, I’ve been able to meet a lot of the people who interacted online with me on campus, so it is very cool that I can see my impact in person.

Have there been any videos that have been particularly meaningful to you?

Every video I plan to make on Clark has been important to me because they all have a lot of information. One in particular that I think is pretty important is in the Clark vlog series. I interviewed Tara Mason, an academic advisor, and I was able to ask her a lot of questions about the School of Professional Studies. I had been receiving a lot of questions about the program, and it became very clear that this was a video I needed to make. My audience was already aware of the program, and the video was well received. 

What is one piece of advice you would give people who are moving to Worcester who have never been before?

Based on the experience I have had in Worcester for the past 8 months, it is very quiet compared to where I’ve been so far. But for people’s safety, try not to go outside at night alone. I In the daytime, I’ve taken advantage of the things we have here. There’s Coe’s Reservoir not too far from here, there’s Elm Park and University Park as well. I love the museums as well– Worcester Art Museum, the American Antiquarian Society. Not to mention the food, which a lot of it is both very walkable. Explore Worcester in the time you are here.

At this point I would like to open the floor to you; is there anything that you would like to bring up that we have not touched on already?

So I try to make informational videos, right? I would like to reach out more to undergraduate students. Clearly the experiences between undergrads and grads are different. Undergraduates live in the dorms, we live off campus. There are so many activities which undergraduates have access to that we cannot participate in. So there is a big disconnect in what we do. 

Sadly, in my experience it’s been pretty difficult to connect with undergraduates. Even for me, I am a little bit of an extrovert, I am definitely an outgoing person. I am pretty welcoming, I assume positive intent in exchanges. Once we’ve worked together, I assume that we know each other. But a few times here, I’ve met somebody and assumed we are acquaintances, and I’ll wave or try to say hello, and they won’t respond.

But at the end of the day, we are all Clark students. Sharing experience is the best way to get to know each other. We do not have an understanding of our respective lives. We can learn a lot from each other if we have that understanding. That’s about it.