During my 2021 summer holidays, I undertook a 6-week internship at Twipe. In my internship, I was part of the JAMES team, responsible for personalising the news reading experience using machine learning. From the moment I started, everyone at the office was extremely friendly and welcoming. The whole team made me feel right at home and this feeling didn’t change over my six weeks at Twipe. Everyone I met was very approachable and this made for a very relaxed but productive work environment, where asking questions and providing feedback is preferred and not frowned upon.
In the first few weeks I took part in many training sessions. In these sessions, I learnt what each team in the company worked on, what their missions were together with their goals and approach to bringing an old and established industry into the modern times. This information helped me a lot in understanding why certain decisions were made and why some projects were given priority over others. To me, having a clear view of the overall company mission when working on my projects gave my work a greater sense of purpose.
I worked closely with the JAMES team on many different endeavours during my time at Twipe, and I really felt part of the team. This was mostly because I was given tasks pertaining directly to current projects and requests made by customers. These jobs ranged from creating data transformers and analysing data, to implementing mass email news article recommendations using AWS. In my final week, I was also given creative freedom in recommending new ML algorithms and improvements to the existing JAMES algorithms.
An important part of an internship, in my eyes, is gaining experience on how it feels to work in a company and more importantly, the aspects which are often not touched upon in classes at university. The core aspects of these are joining meetings, collaborating closely with full-time employees, working with requirements and constraints set by clients and being able to provide my own input when making decisions in projects.
I was allowed to join client meetings where I learnt a lot regarding the more heuristic aspects of what it takes to work in a company. This was complemented by the insights I gained regarding the business focus of the projects I worked on and what non-technical aspects are essential in digital news. I joined design sessions where I worked with other engineers on designing pieces of software which gave me interesting insights in how business requirements often impact these decisions. All these experiences have proven a valuable addition to my very theoretical engineering knowledge and abstract view of company life.
Next to all these productive and informative experiences, I also fervently enjoyed the more laid back moments like coffee breaks with Twipees and the “pizza & kicker night” where together with the other interns, I had the opportunity to get to know the rest of my colleagues in a more nonchalant setting.
Overall, I gained a lot of technical experience in cloud computing and machine learning which was complemented by a rich participation in and exposure to the business aspects of Twipe. My welcoming coworkers and the social work environment only made these past six weeks fly by even faster. Finally, I would like to express my gratitude to everyone working at Twipe for making my time here a pleasure and unforgettably educative.
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