My internship Education

Steep learning curve

I had always been fascinated by computers and knew what exactly I wanted to pursue. I joined VIT University and spent the first year mostly doing the generic stuff that a typical fresher would. I managed to maintain a respectable CGPA with last-minute cramming. The one good thing I did was to be a part of a couple of technical chapters, where I got to meet people interested in technology and coding, and where I became aware of competitive coding, machine learning, progressive web apps and other such terms.

Somehow, the concept of machine learning fascinated me. I spent most of my free time reading blogs and opting for courses on related subjects and trying stuff on play datasets.

Reaching out

As a part of the course, all students are required to do a two-month internship in the industry or academia. The issue was getting an internship. Cold-emailing helped. I Googled machine learning startups in Bengaluru, because I believe startups is where one learns the most.

You may not get a reply for around 90% of the emails you send, but the ones you get a reply from can be life changing. CloudSEK was one of them. It worked in the intersection of machine learning and cyber security, both of which fascinated me. Soon, I had a successful screening call with the founder, Rahul Sasi, and received a confirmation to intern with them during the summer.

Before joining, I had regular interaction with the machine learning team lead by Bofin Babu. This gave me an idea about the work and the problems being tackled by the team. I met with the rest of the team and was surprised to find how young the entire team was. It was truly a team of misfits. The product architect did not even have a computer science background, but is the most knowledgeable person I have met. A senior team member, who used to teach civil engineering, constantly blew me away with his in-depth knowledge of Ruby, a programming language.

What I loved most was the freedom to work on any problem or research I found interesting. My team lead constantly encouraged me to try out unconventional approaches, and read the latest research papers to try and solve problems.

One week before my internship was about to end, Rahul offered me an opportunity to continue my work remotely from college. While other students were busy with academics or organising college events, I had a real job, writing code, and was able to see the product developing. I spent most nights working for CloudSEK.

Mayank Satnalika is 2019 B.Tech graduate from VIT University, Vellore.

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Printable version | May 8, 2021 12:03:45 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/education/steep-learning-curve/article29475507.ece

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