My name is Arthur Soenarto, and I am a Software Engineer Intern at Zero One Group. Having watched a lot of software engineering videos on Youtube, I wanted to experience it for myself and I wanted to know what it’s like to work in a tech company, and so applied for the open position. The internship taught me many things such as writing professional-level code, data analysis, and using version control within a team setting. Moreover, I contributed to our Bloomberg Philanthropies project! I have enjoyed my internship thoroughly and would like to share my experience to fellow students interested in working with ZOG or tech companies in general.
I was assigned to the data analysis team for my project, Bloomberg Global Coal Countdown, which made me quite nervous since it was a project for Bloomberg, a well-renowned company. We were in charge of delivering the data components for the project’s website, which meant a great deal of responsibility.
I was tasked to gather news feed data regarding the global coal industry, which was to be used to create informative visualisations. To collect the data, I developed a scraper using web scraping libraries, Selenium and Beautiful Soup. The raw data was then cleaned and organised using Python data science libraries, namely pandas and numpy. We also used data version control (dvc.org) throughout the process to ensure that frontend developers were able to access the data in a convenient manner. DVC is also used to ensure that we track and have access to all of the changes in the data, so that we have the ability to roll back to any point in the history effortlessly.
All my nerves were gone by the end of the project, and I was very satisfied with the outcome. The project made me more proficient in my data analysis and version control skills, and more importantly, made me more comfortable with working in a professional team environment. You can see the results of our work in the following link: http://bloombergcoalcountdown.com
Lessons from the Missing Semester Course
Throughout the internship, I was recommended to complete the MIT Missing Semester course. This helped me to build up practical computer science (CS) skills that were not necessarily taught as part of my formal education. Of the many important CS skills covered, I found that mastering the command-line, using powerful text editors, and accessing fancy features of version control systems to be the most useful. The course even covers some areas of data science. I highly recommend this course to anyone wanting to improve their programming skills.
I had 10 teammates but interacted most with three people: Anthony, Alex, and Swedian.
Anthony is the company’s Co-Founder, and data lead. We usually interact during weekly syncs to discuss progress, personal well being, and any CS/software engineering topics. As a mentor/supervisor, Tony reviews my work through code review sessions. He would give me tips on writing professional code while demonstrating his workflow using tmate. I have learned a lot from him and am inspired by his ability to write code with ease.
Alex is a Software Engineer whom I work closely with in the data team. We have weekly syncs to discuss projects, and just like with Anthony, anything in general. Syncs take different forms which help to both receive feedback, and to get to know colleagues. As he was a recent graduate and not my direct supervisor, my conversations with him felt more easy.
Finally, Swedian acts as Project Manager (PM) for our Bloomberg Philanthropies project. As a PM, Swedian would lead weekly sprint planning sessions, standups, and product demos. Our conversations would generally revolve around assigned tasks and progress.
If I were to repeat my internship, I would have definitely tried to spend more time with my colleagues, apart from our work-based interactions. I highly recommend all interns to make an effort in getting to know colleagues and build lasting friendships.
It was really cool to experience working at a tech start-up and it definitely lived up to my expectations. Moreover, this internship showed me how tech companies operate. I got to learn through weekly sprint planning sessions, demos, syncs, and code reviews, I learned a lot and most certainly felt like one of those software engineers you see on YouTube videos.
Follow Zero One Group at Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Visit our website at www.zero-one-group.com