March 6, 2023

Thomas Mertens – Data & AI Intern

What attracted you to apply for an Internship at Twipe?

Last semester, I did an exchange programme in Singapore. The academic year at my exchange university ended 2 months before the academic year at KU Leuven. This meant that I had plenty of time for a new adventure during my winter break, so I decided to apply for an internship at Twipe, and what a great decision it was.

I got to know Twipe last year from multiple different sources in a short period of time: I met the team at the VTK internship fair, I have a friend who is very involved with Twipe and I learned about their presence repeatedly on LinkedIn. At the time, I wanted to explore my capabilities in data topics and expand my knowledge about Artificial Intelligence. Twipe instantly popped up as a perfect fit and their great work around data science in the media industry made me apply.

Which projects did you work on?

At the start of my internship, I received a very interesting project for the EngageReaders product. My team asked me to create a validation system for user events. These events are generated by the readers. All their clicks, zooms and reading time are tracked with events which are then sent to the Twipe system. Then, they are processed to learn more about the value of articles. It was my job to ensure that these events were valid so that the system continued to function properly. This project gave me the opportunity to explore multiple ways to explore the validation of events. First, I worked with JSON Schema, a declarative language that allows you to validate JSON documents. After monitoring the delay caused by this validation system, we decided to take a different approach and validate with python rules in the source code.

After this project, the team immediately had a new challenge waiting for me. I was asked to develop an Email Tracking system. When the reading behaviour of customers is tracked, a summary is sent to the client. It was my job to implement a system that retrieves all the available data from the emails sent and summarises this for in-house purposes.

What is your standout moment from your internship?

My standout moment was undoubtedly the office atmosphere. Everyone is very open and kind, so I had a lot of fun during the lunch breaks. At Twipe we have the tradition to play Kicker at noon. The Kicker culture is no joke: every game must be registered, and based on the results an in-house developed Kicker bot will compute the stats of all colleagues. The rule is that you should crawl underneath the table when you lose a game with a score of 10-0. In one of my first games, I played against 2 of Twipe’s very best players. I was losing 9-0 and didn’t want to crawl on my first couple of days. So, with sweaty palms and shaking hands, I fought back. In the end, my teammate and I were able to score one goal. It was a moment of relief and celebration! I will never forget this. It is a work environment to be proud of.

What is the key thing learnt from your internship?

My key learning at Twipe was about developing software in a team. Twipe use Agile Development, more specifically the Scrum framework. In class, I learned multiple times about the meaning of Agile Development and its use. Having made a couple of attempts during university projects, I was never fully convinced about the importance of this philosophy, but after my internship my opinion of Agile Development had flipped. I can’t be more satisfied with the use of Agile Development.

Every 2 weeks make up a sprint. In this sprint, teams set their goals for the upcoming 2 weeks. Different goals can have different priorities. These sprints are executed iteratively, so every 2 weeks Twipees reflect on their progress. When doing this, estimating the duration of a job is important. This helps to ensure that teams are conscious of the work they deliver and how much workload they can handle.

A more technical thing that I learned was how to use cloud services and develop the infrastructure for big projects. I had never worked on projects of this scale before but it was extremely rewarding.

Would you recommend Twipe to future interns?  

Absolutely. At Twipe I learned all kinds of things on a social, technical and professional level. I am very grateful for the opportunity that I received. To anyone who is in doubt – Don’t hesitate to apply!

Interested to join? Together we can shape the future of news and revolutionise the way people consume content. Join Twipe today and be part of the journey towards making a lasting impact on the news media landscape!

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