And with all that semi-sentimental stuff out of the way, I can get into the actual experience of working as an intern at Panintelligence.
And thus, picture two screens and a person slouching in front of them. Mind you, the multiple screens are an absolute must otherwise ‘you’re not working in tech’.
Now, not unsurprisingly, that person with terrible posture is me, and the only step remaining is just multiplying that image over 10 weeks.
I’ll admit that image reflects how it felt to me; learning was a slow process and along each step of the way you question what you’re doing, and who in their right mind hired you.
It wasn’t until I left and attended a machine learning workshop that I realised that I’ve actually learned a lot and could easily follow along.
However, my background is in mathematics; I completed my degree in Maths from the University of Leeds with First Class Honours earlier this year.
it includes some coding, but it was never with machine learning in mind. That being said, I suppose hindsight always is 20/20.
The first big thing that struck me was the culture. I cannot stress the importance of it in the workplace. Whatever issue I had, there was always someone to help.
So, naturally, I’ve been bugging the entire Development team since day one!
Everyone is supportive of one another and all communication channels are booming with advice and, occasionally, good memes.
My personal struggle was that I didn’t really fit in into one team. I could code for sure (OK, still questionable), but I didn’t have a development background like many people on my side of the office.
So, the entire time I had to face the looming fear of uselessness, despite being repeatedly told that I was employed precisely for my different background.
Nevertheless, I was able to work on our pi Analytics engine and managed to make a presentation on how it works.
Long story short, it uses a machine learning algorithm to understand your data.
I spent so much time on it that I would say it was the highlight of my internship. And if you look below, there may even be a semi-unflattering picture of me presenting it at our lunch-and-learn...
Developing meant working with so many new mediums. Learning the architecture and the tools to get everything going has really opened my eyes and probably used up a lot of the time of everyone around (thanks Tiago!).
In the end, it was all for the benefit of the product. As previously told, the developers and I looked at the issues from a different perspective and together we were able to make something that we can be very proud of. We just need to the finishing touches.
There was some drama along the way, though, as there always is in any software journey!
It began we me being tasked with developing the model power, which is essentially a number that tells the user how accurate the model really is.
To anyone who has ever dealt with a data set, this may seem trivial. At the time, I thought so too.
The trouble came up when we had to make sure it worked for every data set. And after weeks of trouble shooting and drowning in bugs, on one sunny Friday afternoon, we just threw our hands up and said “fine, we’re changing the language!”.
And so, we did. All the code was ditched as we changed from one language to another. And I’ll admit, as abrupt as it was, it was the best decision to make during this process.
In the end I’m still struggling with the ‘not exactly a dev but not exactly a data analyst’ hurdle but if Panintelligence chose to keep me around, I guess I must be of some use!
Chapter 2 of my Panintelligence journey means working part-time while completing my Master’s degree.
But I’m more than glad to still be around such amazing people and I’m really looking forward to future projects at the company.