-By Rose Gregorio
Abdullah Khamis has had quite an impressive career so far. After graduating with a Ph.D. degree in Computer Science from KAUST under the supervision of Professor Vladimir Bajic and Associate Professor Xin Gao, he now works as the Director of Data Science in the Center for Strategic Studies (CSS) of the Royal Court of Saudi Arabia. He leads the Data Science team in developing several machine learning based predictive models such as sentiment analysis and prediction.
Students often find themselves at a crossroads after graduation, having to make the decision between industry and academia. Abdullah had always been interested in working in an environment that mixes the two. Working at CSS has allowed him to do research, publish papers, as well as find industry applications for his work.
Abdullah says that his experience at KAUST was integral in his current success. "I gained hands-on experience, developed my critical thinking skills and expanded my knowledge in my field of study. I learned from the projects I worked on during my Ph.D. program. Each one was unique in terms of knowledge, experience and challenges," he shares.
He believes that the Ph.D. period is an important time in one's academic life. Besides gaining the appropriate skills and knowledge, he emphasizes the importance of networking. "It is a time to strengthen your collaboration and connections," he says.