This year techspert.io launched an annual internship programme to encourage young people to pursue a career in STEM. In this blog post, Marcos Tapia – a second-year engineering student at the University of Cambridge – gives some insight on his time at the tech company.
Hi, I’m Marcos!
Born and bred in Madrid, I moved to Cambridge to pursue my engineering degree. I’m about to enter my second year and decided to apply for this internship to bolster my coding skills. Although my degree has done a great job of teaching me theory, there was a gap in my practical skills, and understanding first-hand how software development is used by businesses. What better way to improve on these skills and develop real-world experience than by interning at a growing tech start-up?
Here you go, a picture of me.
Joining the techspert.io tribe
As my first internship experience, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I wasn’t familiar with the expert network industry, and I had no experience with machine learning or AI technology which are all crucial to techspert.io’s business. But I came in with an open mind and had one mission – to learn as much as possible. I heard about the internship through my friend, Rory, who’s also part of the programme so I knew there would be at least one friendly face in the office. However, from day one I discovered that finding a friendly face wouldn’t be an issue here as the office is full of them.
When the interns first joined, the company arranged welcome drinks for us and we frequently do social activities together which I thoroughly enjoy. The balance of work and play makes techspert.io a great environment to be in. The company is split into three teams, Operations, Business Development and Tech. I’m a member of the tech team and we’re responsible for ensuring the AI technology we use to match customers with experts works effectively and efficiently.
Enjoying lunch with some of my colleagues on the office balcony.
Three, two, one, code!
Besides programming in Python, everything else I’ve done during my time here has been a new experience. My top three highlights have been:
1. Web scraping
This is the process of extracting data from websites and forms the basis of techspert.io’s AI technology which trawls the internet to find the world’s leading experts. During the process of learning how to web scrape, I’ve learnt the fundamentals of HTML (the language used to write websites), and how to create code to efficiently find relevant data on the internet.
2. Using Amazon Web Services (AWS)
I found using AWS daunting at first because this was my first time running code on an EC2 instance, also known as a remote server, and I was unfamiliar with the architecture. However, the more I used it the more my confidence grew. By using AWS I’ve learnt new programming skills and feel more comfortable running code remotely.
3. Natural language processing (NLP)
NLP has been a great introduction to the field of machine learning. I’ve learnt how to perform semantic analysis on words which, explained simply, is the process of finding common themes in a text. Using NLP, techspert.io’s technology can pick up the commonality between concepts. For instance, 'radiology' and 'medical imaging' or 'MRI'. This comes in handy especially when we’re matching clients with experts.
A helping hand
As a start-up, everyone is encouraged to be ambitious, to try new things, and to push the boundaries. Working in this kind of environment is great for keeping the creativity flowing. There’s no hand-holding or spoon-feeding which makes this internship great for people like me who thrive on researching solutions to challenges and finding ways to solve problems. With that said, we’re not just left in the dark to figure things out ourselves. We receive a great deal of support from everyone on the team and if someone doesn’t have an answer to your question, they’ll point you towards the person who does. On top of this, the tech team meets weekly so we can catch up with each other, and the interns also have a weekly one-on-one meeting with Ayaka, one of our data scientists, to discuss how things are going and find solutions to any challenges we might be facing.
Doing some brainstorming with Rory, a fellow intern.
A journey of discovery
One of my favourite things about this internship is the freedom I’ve been given to learn and to try new things. If you’re a self-starter who’s eager to learn and contribute, then you should apply.
Are you a self-starter who's eager to learn and contribute? Get in touch, we’d love to hear from you.