Matt Neill is working within the AI team and is now on Week 10 of his internship. He has been actively using his Data Science education background to put his stamp on the AI team.
We thought we would grab him for a chat to unpack what he has been working on; how he got involved with the company; what he has enjoyed, how he has balanced working from home, why he decided to undertake a placement and to uncover what his plans are for the future.
Hi Matt, it’s nice to finally chat with you! We are excited to hear all about what you’ve been up to in the AI Team. Could you fill us in, what brought you to Datactics?
I have just finished my second year of Data Science at the University of Nottingham. I decided that I would take the initiative and reach out to Datactics and ask if they had any opportunities going. They returned the email and said that they had. I met up with Stuart Harvey, CEO, before Christmas, then met with Dr. Browne, Head of AI, after Christmas to find out what I would be doing.
You are in the AI team, is that what you want to get into? Can you give us an insight into how you landed in that particular team?
I didn’t do any computer science at school, I started coding a couple of years ago when I started University. The computer science part of my course is more focused on AI, so I have had a few years of experience doing that. It felt natural to go into the AI team as I had a particular interest in this field.
Since joining the team, what have you been working on?
Since joining the team, we have been collaborating on the new ML augmented data quality project focus on the current state-of-the-art in the area. The first two to three weeks were spent researching the area and understanding current and new techniques. Then we have recently been trying to implement the research we conducted and focusing our approach on ensuring data quality within datasets using different techniques. My day to day role would revolve around mostly coding to implement. The research set the scene and it’s now great to be practically contributing to putting things in place.
Why did you choose to study Data Science at University?
I began researching into the course (MORSE) Mathematics, Operational Research, Statistics, and Economics at Warwick University. I then became more interested in computer science which then led to Data Science (Mathematics and Computer Science). Beforehand I had never studied Computer Science at school, I studied languages and mathematics at A-Level! I was always interested in Computer Science though, even from GCSE Level. Having Mathematics in my educational background was a good building block as this underpins computer science.
If you had to pick an ideal role for yourself, what would it be?
What I am doing now. I enjoy having a mix of coding and research in a role. I also enjoy working on AI because there is a lot of advancements to be made, it’s not quite terminator level yet! Working with Dr. Browne has been brilliant, when I started, she walked through the different programs which was useful. If I am ever needing to ask a question, I can reach Dr. Browne without hesitation.
What would your tips be for individuals looking for internships?
Start early! Approach people for opportunities in plenty of time. I would also recommend building up a knowledge of what you’re getting into. AI is much more modern and is often specific to the company. I would recommend researching the companies you are applying to – being a data scientist in one company would be very different from being a data scientist in another.
We’ve all had to adjust to working from home. Do you have any tips for working from home?
The most important thing for me is having a good work environment. I like to have a clear workspace: a reasonable space and two monitors! I am working in my bedroom (some people say they don’t like working and sleeping in the same place), but I don’t mind. I think discipline is important in terms of sticking to working hours. I even put my phone behind me during the working day to avoid distractions. I then try to turn off my laptop after 5:30 PM and relax.
What was your motivation for wanting an internship?
I didn’t need to have a placement but from a CV perspective, I felt it would look good to have some sort of experience. Before Datactics, I had no experience in the workplace. It was also good to understand that I do enjoy this sort of work and when I am looking for a job come graduation, I would be looking for a role such as this!