This summer, I decided to take the chance of interning in a start-up. I strongly believe that this was one of the best decisions I have taken. Since my area of interest is Machine Learning, I looked for companies specializing in it and finally applied and got an internship offer.
Even before I joined, I was excited to work there after the interviews taken by Navneet and Vivek Gandhi. The day I joined, I got to take a peep under the hood of a startup that wasn’t simply tech-enabled but in fact tech-driven. Everyone was very welcoming and would constantly ask me if I was having fun. I was assigned to the Research team and it was full of youthful energy. My project was interesting and it took a few hours for me to come to terms with it. How was one to predict Fashion Trends?
It turned out that this project had a lot to teach me. Now Fashion was not really my forte (Far from it!) and I started off without any bias. This is something a lot of Data Scientists fail to understand and they look only for the ‘usual’ signals which eventually lead to similar results as the ones before them.
There was a lot to learn. This was something I was reminded constantly. Before I started the internship, I had no idea how much more there was to learn and even now, I have only seen the tip of the iceberg. This field is growing rapidly and if you don’t stay up to date, you will be lost in the crowd.
The environment at the workplace promoted bonding and colleagues soon became friends. I personally believe that this is very important and lots of large companies struggle to make this happen. When you can sit and brainstorm with your CEO and mentor and you see your ideas come to life the next day, you realize that you are at the right place.
Navneet wasn’t like any other CEO, he took a personal interest in his team and for that I respect him greatly. On a random walk, he told me ‘The worst advice you can give to young people is to follow their dreams’. It soon became clear how true this was. Unless one explores and goes out of his comfort zone, one can never know where his passion truly lies. In some ways, the exploration-exploitation trade-off applies very well to the dilemma we face while picking a field of interest.
If you ever get the chance to meet Vivek, you will be shocked by how humble he is. He is so experienced in deep learning that we used to joke about how he was running CNNs in his head when he was ‘deep’ in thought. Despite being busy with his own work, he took out time to brainstorm with me and teach me some neat tricks. The regular ‘Maza aa raha hai?’ was very encouraging and reminded me how important it was to enjoy what I was doing. I could not have asked for a better mentor.
I was lucky to work with such amazing people. Each of them had something new to teach me. All in all, the decision to intern at Snapshopr (Artificia) was one that will continue to impact my life in ways I am still not sure.