Each day, everyone at Springworks comes into work with a true passion for building products and tools for the HR ecosystem. We are artists, innovators, achievers, and dreamers, with a one-track mind to fine-tune the products that we build. Through this series of posts, we showcase our team members, their roles, and what a typical day looks like for them. You can check all the posts here.
Have you ever wondered how a Machine Learning Engineer spends an entire day?
That’s what I’m going to show you today – a day in the life of an ML engineer!
Kritika joined the Springworks team as a Machine Learning intern in January 2019. Kritika’s skill set includes – Machine Learning, Deep Learning, Python, Data Structures and Algorithms. She has just over a year of professional experience.
Let’s talk to Krtika about her experience as an ML engineer and her time at Springworks.
What does an ML engineer do, and how different are you from a software development engineer?
A software developer finds easy ways to solve problems. They are given a problem statement, and they try to find a solution in the simplest way to solve it. They deal with how correct the program is for the use case.
An ML engineer too solves problems, but with an eye on the uncertainty and variability for the use case. The programs built by an ML engineer are based on machine learning and works to solve problems that are too complicated to be figured out by humans. Developing ML applications are more iterative and explorative in nature.
How did you start your career as an ML engineer?
Becoming an ML engineer is very tough. You need to have in-depth knowledge of the subject, your domain, and a lot of projects which give you practice in understanding issues and debugging problems.
When I first understood the concept of AI and ML in my teens, I was very interested in the concept of it. I read up on it as much as I could in my college days.
College gave me a base to understand ML as I took it as an elective. I built on top of that platform by doing projects and studying after college hours. After joining Springworks, I had the opportunity to take my time and dive deeper into the subject.
Being an ML engineer must pose a unique set of challenges, especially with the limited experience that you have. How do you overcome that?
There is no doubt that ML will completely change the face of various industries. I always look forward to solving new challenges and try to learn something new every day. Sometimes my work teaches me something new, other times, what I learn is applied to work to find solutions faster or more efficiently.
Of course, my team at Springworks is really helpful and I get to learn a lot while working on real-world projects with them.
How many people do you directly work with and what do you like the most about working with them?
I work in a team of four people – two interns, one manager, and I. I love the camaraderie in the team and the feeling of working on every project as one unit. Everyone is very helpful and we have each other’s backs.
The best part is that we finish our work on time no matter what.
My team is the biggest reason I learn something new every day. I love having the freedom to work remotely and being accountable for my own work, and there is no “micro-manager” in the team.
How do you think the transition from student life to professional life has been since it’s just been a year that you’ve been working at Springworks?
It has been challenging – from attending four hours of classes to moving to a 9-hour workday hasn’t exactly been seamless, but I have gotten used to it and actually quite enjoy it now.
Having regular standups with the team, getting challenged by a new problem statement every day is a lot of fun. As a student, you don’t optimize your time to get the best results. But here, I feel I am actively realizing my potential and becoming better every day while also adding value to the company and stakeholders.
Please walk us through a day in the life of Kritika!
Wake up to hot breakfast and hot news!
Check Slack to see if there are any important messages I need to respond to.
Lay out the daily tasks and see if I have any work apart from my to-do list.
Reach office by 11:30 AM or 12 noon.
Figure out what work needs to be done on a priority basis for the day.
Have lunch and play some foosball.
Leave for home by 8 PM.
Catch up with friends and family.
Go for a walk for around an hour.
Listen to songs or meditate for a while before sleeping.
What keeps you at Springworks?
I love the flexibility I have to balance my work life and home life. The company cares about employees and helps us to grow, strive to learn new skill sets, and appreciate us.
Our CEO, Kartik, encourages us to grow and welcomes our feedback and ideas. I am treated as an important member of the team.
What advice do you have for students interested in a career as an ML engineer?
The most important advice I have got and that I give is to read.
Read as much as you can about new things and try them out for real.
That is the only key to understanding what you read about and reading would also expose you to new ideas and different methods of approaching the same thing.
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