“I must be on my toes at all times to sustain here”
Bachelor's in Industrial Engineering, Final year, College of Engineering Guindy
GITAA (an IIT-M incubated start-up)
Interviewer: Jagatheeswari. M (GT)
GT: How did you get an internship at IITM Research Park?
Neelesh: Since the internship selection did not happen in my department, I had to reach out to various companies. I applied to over 15 companies, of which some replied. Since the lockdown was enforced right before summer, many companies rejected the offer. But GITAA accepted it and were kind enough to offer me work from home.
GT: Please do share some key elements that your juniors must know while applying for an internship.
Neelesh: The easiest way to get a summer internship is by seizing the offer given on-campus or getting referred by an employee in the organization where you wish to work. For a summer internship, start applying as early as possible, preferably in January. If you want to intern in a specific domain, you must convince the company by sharing your interests.
GT: Walk us through your routine and tell us about the projects you have been working on.
Neelesh: My project rests on the Proof of Concept (POC). My task was to read all the research papers and implement theoretical ideas into a working model. I worked on various domains such as Time series forecasting, Gesture recognition, Convolution, Neural networks, Recommender systems, etc. My areas of interest are Machine Learning (ML), a glorified form of statistics, and programming. One of my projects dealt with the ML algorithms in a smartwatch to understand hand gestures, which could potentially be used to operate other devices in an IoT environment.
GT: As you have worked at a start-up, please share your experiences with practical benefits and difficulties.
Neelesh: One significant advantage of interning at a start-up is that you get more responsibilities and opportunities than other corporate companies. I had the chance to interact with every employee in the organization, ranging from freshers to the CEO. Also, there are no stringent rules on the duration of internships. You can even work for more than six months based on your interest. A few liabilities do exist. Interns at a start-up will not be looked up much when compared to those working in a tech giant like Google or Amazon. The recruiters will be more interested in such profiles as getting into such companies itself is a considerable achievement. Also, every start-up is different. Some go on to become highly successful while some are shut down. There is always a risk of working at a start-up.
GT: What do you think about the standard of our curriculum from a workspace point of view?
Neelesh: Are our syllabi up-to-date with the tools that are being used in different workplaces? Maybe not. But if we are strong with our basics, we can grasp intricate concepts quickly. My curriculum had subjects like Probability and Statistics, Multivariate and Statistical analysis, and a few other subjects, which made me feel confident with my basics. Tasks like emailing your stakeholders, presenting your project to the client, what to say, and what not to say in a team meeting can be learned if you work at a start-up.
GT: Tell us about the impact of your internship.
Neelesh: It was a phenomenal experience for me. I understood Data science, its intents, and purposes. The key takeaway was that learning never stops. Technology is evolving rapidly; ergo, I need to be on my toes every time to sustain here. Since I worked for five months, it might give me an edge while drafting my SOP or applying for a job.
GT: Please share one tip that you would like to pass on to your juniors.
Neelesh: My advice would be to do an internship in the field which you have a soft spot for and start applying early. Suppose you want to do an internship in Data science. In that case, you require to have a few machine learning projects, as knowledge gained from these projects are much higher than what online courses offer. Start a project and apply, and you are good to go!
GT: What is your view on the Intern Diaries series?
Neelesh: I got to know about a variety of internships that people do in our college. I was able to seek inspiration from last year's intern diaries series. It is an astounding initiative by the Guindy times to provide such valuable content to its followers and hope they continue this.
The Guindy Times thanks Neelesh for spending his valuable time and wishes him all the best for his future endeavours.